I had a look at my columns so far this year and I realised that I’ve yet to have a good rant. Having a rant is like a spring cleaning. Open the windows and clear all that leftover winter angst with a big, loud yell. A really good rant isn’t about anything really important like the environment or human rights. A proper rant isn’t going to change the world. It’s about letting off steam, and nothing gets a good head of steam going than a tiny, little niggle that you know shouldn’t matter, but which bugs the beejasus out of you.
I found myself having a lovely little rant in the pub yesterday. The return of the fine weather has made me very frustrated. I’m not a big ice cream eater, but I believe that one can’t properly celebrate the summer without an ice-lolly. This is not a planned pleasure. In fact, part of the joy is the spontaneity of stopping for petrol on a hot, sunny day and treating yourself to a cold, orange ice-lolly. My favorite used to be ‘Sparkles’, a skinny orange lolly that cost 10cents. There were also ‘Robin Hoods’, ‘Flintstones’, along with other now forgotten brands in various fruit flavours of dubious origin. ‘Fat Frogs’ may be a cocktail these days, but it started out as an ice-lolly. A fat frog was of such dubious fruit origin that it became a distinct flavour. Like all ice-lollies it came wrapped in a wonderfully cold, icicle covered, sticky wax paper that you had to peel off carefully, or your frozen fingers would be glued with little bits of wrapper. Eating an ice-lolly was a simple pleasure, but one which I cherished from the frozen fingers to the sticky chin. They were also incredibly cheap. A car load of children could all be treated to an ice-lolly without going without dinner that night.
Yet in service stations up and down the breath of this Fair Island there is not an ice-lolly to be found anymore. This trend started a few years ago as the cheaper ice-lolly slowly disappeared from the ice cream freezer. All that was left were the overpriced ice-lollies made with real orange juice (making it one of your five-a-day!). Now they too are gone. I buy the occasional ice-cream sandwich, but it’s not the same. What happened? When did the ice lolly market collapse? Why is everything in the ice cream freezer over-priced chocolate covered, gooey confections? I mourn the simplicity of a straightforward ice-lolly. My friends pointed out that ice-lollies are still available in supermarkets, but they are missing the point. I don’t want a box of them. I only want the one, and I don’t want to eat it at home. I want to eat it as I drive down a country road with sunroof open and the radio blaring classic golden oldies. Is that too much to ask?
Another pet peeve is the Yellow Box. It should be pretty obvious: “You must not enter the yellow box junction unless you can clear it without stopping”. Yet every time I approach one, my anxiety levels sky rocket. Will I have time to clear the yellow box? Should I stop before the box? If I chose the former and get stuck, I’ll look like an eejit and block the cross traffic. But if I choose the former, some eejit will beep his horn, or over take me. There is a new yellow box just after the Wilton roundabout on the road into the city centre. If you stop before the yellow box some eejit will invariably come speeding down the bus lane and beep for you to move alone. Make up your minds people!
Finally, I understand that politicians feel the need for election posters. Frankly, I’m not sure that they sway voting one little bit. They might be more effective if they were designed with the motorist in mind. After all, most posters are put up along roads. Yet I found many posters difficult to decipher when zipping by at 80km/hr. I kept trying to figure out if the grinning face was going for European or local elections. Can we have some sort of standard, please? Or scrap them all together, and use a 21rst century technology for engaging with the electorate that doesn’t result in a mountain of paper? On that note I would like to point out to the candidate, who will not be named, but who nailed his election poster to a tree on my property that his effort will not end up on the scrap heap. Election posters make great target practice for archery.
There. I feel better already.