I just sent my friend an email: I LIKE EVERYTHING. It was a response to a question about whether I wanted to go to a new show at the Hayward, on Russian political art, and I was feeling particularly expansive. But now, it’s been 3 minutes, she hasn’t replied and I’m becoming increasingly alarmed. I don’t like everything. I barely even like some of the things. I would say, if I had to put a number on it, that I like approximately 43 things. (One of which, it being sunny, which I am currently experiencing, has been entirely undercut by the fact that I can no longer see my screen properly. Which is something I hate. So, actually, it’s more like 42 things). And I would say, if asked to put a number on the things that I hate, that I would be entirely unable to, because they are unquantifiable.
Here are the things I am nervous my friend will now ask me to do, now that I’ve insisted that I like everything:
- Go shopping with her for jeans. Jeans shopping is hateful and sadistic and unpleasant, and like all things of that nature, ought to be done privately or online.
- Stack the dishwasher. I used to believe (wrongly) that anyone could load a dishwasher. I have fond memories of putting my plate into the dishwasher as a child, even. (For more of these sorts of halcyon recollections, may I direct you to my upcoming autobiography “Mundane things I did as a child”) In recent years, however, it has been pointed out to me that there is a hierarchy of loading, and whatever I was doing was at the bottom. I persisted, however, because well, anti-establishment, until this Summer, when I stood by and watched someone entirely unpack and re-load a fully loaded dishwasher. (I can speak to its fullness, because I was the one who initially stacked it). Realising, in a painful moment of clarity, what people mean when they talk about ‘choosing one’s battles’ (which previously I had believed was the domain of civil war re-enactment societies, and was slightly baffled why young parents were so involved with it all), I simply resolved to stop loading the dishwasher. Which, speaking personally, has been simply marvelous.
- Replace her kitchen towel. This is an activity that is fraught with anxiety for me, mostly because a lifetime spent watching kitchen towel adverts has led me to believe that she will ask me to justify my brand choice by pouring liquid onto her kitchen counter, and challenging me to mop it up.
- Play conkers with her. This is a longstanding dislike (naturally, there is an entire chapter devoted to it in “Mundane things I did as a child”), but like all well-borne grudges, is reinvigorated yearly.
- Get up early.