10 Things People Like But I Don’t

In the dark old days when I had a Twitter account, I came across a tweet by Carl Reader when he named ten things other people like, but he didn’t. That got me thinking, eventually.

1. Theatre

I am 6′ 1″, and that means I have long legs. I don’t know who designed theatres, but they must have assumed only small people like to watch plays. From the seat, you can’t see the actors’ features, expressions and all the effort they put into their performance. Then after an hour, you have an interval which means as hundreds of people rush out to buy drinks during the 15-minute break, I end up joining a 30-minute queue.

However, I appreciate the workout from standing up and down to allow other customers to their seats.

2. Poetry

The longest night of my life was when I went to a Patrick Kavanagh appreciation evening. I didn’t know what to expect, other than the usual theatre ordeal above. But no, we had two drunk characters on stage having an alcoholic discussion in old Ireland. If I wanted to see a few drunks chatting, I could find any number of bars in my home town for free.

After the play, another actor came on stage and read poems for what seemed like an eternity.

Poetry is a dialect I can’t understand. Here’s an example:

O crispy gold of autumn fall, run circles in the breeze
Children play among your glory, crisp underfoot
The cold and rain will soon reclaim all your flavour
The seasons show no mercy, but also give you colour.

A Marsden 2020 (made up in 60 seconds)

3. Mushrooms

NSFW and I should have explained my dislike for mushrooms in a poem.

I accept today, and in the past, people have cooked mushrooms in hundreds of different ways. However, coming from a poor background, all my parents were capable of was frying the bloody things in the pan.

Now, I heard this once on TV, so I know I’m not the only one who thinks that mushrooms being fried smell like male seed. I didn’t like the scent during bouts of excessive teenage masturbation, and I hated it when Mum fried mushrooms. Enough said.

4. Noisy bars

Being an introvert, I make extra effort to be sociable. Before COVID came along, I said yes to any invites to visit the trendy bars in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. But when I’m in a noisy bar, I can’t hear a bloody thing people say.

The night out amounts to having a few pints, trips to the loo, standing in a circle of friends and nodding in agreement to everything that’s said while hoping I’m not agreeing to something immoral or racist.

Such evenings last long in the memory, thanks to the aggravated tinnitus that rings in my head afterwards.

5. Local Sport

Lewis Hamilton is world-class and the best Formula One champion ever. I have always seen international sport as a kind of champions versus champions scenario. By comparison, local sport in my own little country seems abysmal and puny.

Local sports personalities appear on the news, but I’ve never heard of them and will never hear of them again. It’s all down to size. England has 60 million people to choose from, in Northern Ireland, it’s 1.8 million, most of whom are children or elderly. We don’t have a Manchester United, we have a Glentoran or Lisburn Distillery. We don’t have a Mo Farah, we have Terry Eakin – heard of him… didn’t think so.

6. Spicy Food

This one really shouldn’t be on the list. I do like spicy food, it doesn’t like me. When I was overweight, spicy food triggered an urgent need for a toilet. Thanks to a fasting diet that isn’t a problem anymore.

Never one to take significant risks, I still avoid curry and spicy Asian food when out dining. Better safe than sorry.

7. Daniel Craig’s 007

I don’t believe there’s a best James Bond. Sean was the first, George was a fab second who should have done more, Roger saved the franchise in the 1970s with panache, Timothy brought a new edge, Pierce brought all of the above, and Daniel brought…

Now let me think.

Sweat? Head smashing on toilets?

Not one gadget. No franchise symbols and no humour. Not one bloody joke.

I have watched the classics over and over. I remember watching Octopussy at home and could tell everyone what the next actor was going to say. I’m sure it was annoying.

I will watch No Time To Die, at home, but only after some spicy food.

8. Flavoured coffee

Taste buds are strange. I love chocolate and nuts, but put them together, and yuck.

In fact, any dessert is ruined by a sprinkle of nuts. Similarly, I’m addicted to coffee and adore lashings of maple syrup on french toast or ice-cream. But maple syrup in coffee – yuck.

During the fall of 2008, I was on holiday in New England. In a small town, in the heart of the maple syrup region, if there’s such a place, I thought I’d try some local syrup in my coffee. It nearly turned me diabetic on the spot and brought me out in hives. I had to avoid sugar for the remainder of the holiday.

9. Buying new shoes

They say opposites attract, and nothing could be a better example than my wife and me. Rita loves trying on new clothes, browsing the rails, and checking out the latest trends.

I’d rather spend two hours reading poetry.

I loath trying on clothes so much it’s why I still wear clothes that are ten years old. Besides, it’s better for the environment.

New shoes are the worst. Taking your own shoes off in the shop, clean socks on a dirty floor, waiting for the assistant to bring the other shoe to try on and then having to walk up and down the shop to see how the new pair feel. Then, of course, there’s the agony of breaking them in only to discover you made a purchase error.

10. Mingling at parties

Because I don’t like theatre, poetry, mushrooms, noisy bars, sport, spicy food, Daniel Craig, flavoured coffee and new shoes; you’ll not be surprised I find it difficult to chat about things at social gatherings.

You will always find me in the kitchen at parties because it’s close to the food, and if your busy eating, you’ll not have to worry about thinking of something to say.