Perhaps surprisingly, I'm not that bad in a crisis. When there's a genuine calamity taking place, I have amazed others (and at times myself) by being reasonably clear-headed and calm.
It's the little things that get to me, you see. The daily frustrations which, particularly when accumulated throughout the course of the day, can tip me over the edge into complete madness.
This past week I seem to have had more than my fair share of modern life's irritations. I've picked out my absolute favourites here. You'll recognise them instantly. Indeed I'm pretty sure that many a blogger has had an online rant about the very same things (and they've probably done so far more eloquently than I will).
That aside, I'm pretty sure I'm due a turn at ranting right about now. Let the meltdown commence....
Yes, that old chestnut. Surely no-one still thinks that they're going to save time by using one of these things? Far better to queue up behind the woman with triplets and a trolley that looks as though she's doing her pre-Christmas shop. If you're still game enough to try it, remember that the following rules of self-service shopping apply:
1. Do not attempt to use your own bag. I don't care if you've lugged it all the way round the shop and want to be environmentally friendly. Your bag straps won't fit on the silly metal hanging handles meant for cheap and nasty supermarket bags and you will hear - not for the last time - that you have placed an 'unexpected item in the bagging area'. And that's before you've even started ringing up your shopping.
2. Do not attempt to buy anything lighter than a slab of butter. This will confuse the machine into announcing yet again that there's an 'unexpected item in the bagging area'. Swiftly followed by 'Please wait. The assistant is coming.'
3. Do not attempt to buy alcohol. Well not if you're in any kind of hurry anyway. Prepare yourself for 'Please wait. The assistant is coming.' You can't even congratulate yourself that they think you're under 25; the machine stops everyone.
4. Do not attempt to purchase anything of a remotely personal nature. Because that will be the next 'unexpected item in the bagging area', which you will be asked to 'please remove'. Who's now hoving into view to inspect your wordly goods? You guessed it. 'The assistant is coming.' And the people in the rapidly growing queue behind you look quite interested too.
5. Do not expect the assistant to engage in any kind of conversation with you. Prepare for her to swish up, flash the magic card round her neck at the machine, look at you dismissively, then leave. She may choose to emit a laboured sigh when she returns to assist for the third time.
On the rare occasion that I have managed to complete a self-service transaction without the aid of the assistant, I have felt sorely tempted to perform a victory dance as I leave the store. Surely this process should be easier?
It was the home insurance renewal last weekend that did it. No less than 1 hour and 20 minutes to make one call to my new provider and another to cancel the renewal with my existing provider.
I know, I know. These companies are very busy dealing with calls from all those poor people whose properties and belongings have been damaged by flooding. But if hearing 'Your call is important to us' four hundred times within forty minutes drove me to despair, what must it have done to someone whose home and lifetime's possessions were ruined?
I rest my case.
Internet Explorer has stopped working
I could really just leave it at that, couldn't I? Five simple words that are guaranteed to ignite a tantrum in the most sanguine of people. It always happens just when you're about to save that important report or place that carefully considered order doesn't it? Every. Single. Time.
I felt an unnatural level of empathy with Sue from Outnumbered the other week when her computer and printer (stationed side by side) were failing to communicate with one another. It was if the director had a window into my home - or indeed my brain (or what little is left of it).
Speaking of which, now's about the time when I need to press 'save' and hope that it works.
Otherwise, I won't be responsible for my actions....