Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

I rarely lose my temper but when my pal, who has two disabled kids, found all the blue badge spaces taken by 4x4 drivers even I exploded

By Kerry McLean

Now, be honest with me. What kind of temper do you have? Are you as cool as a cucumber no matter the circumstances? Or can you do a passable impression of Krakatoa, all red face and smoke billowing out of your ears, if life doesn't quite pan out exactly the way you want?

I've always thought of myself as belonging to the former camp, with an outrage meter which is almost permanently set to low. I'm very lucky to have been born with a hide so thick rhinoceroses are jealous of it and an ability to see the amusing side of almost every aspect of life. Together, those two attributes have held me in good stead, resulting in the daily grind reducing me to giggles rather than lamenting my lot in life.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no angel and like everyone I have buttons that can be pushed, resulting in me throwing out what is known in our house as 'The Look', a common sight when it comes to my personal bugbear - laundry.

I seem to spend half my life bent over, loading and unloading the washing machine, and it drives me bananas that no matter how many times I have patiently (and impatiently) explained the simple rules of laundry etiquette, my two eldest are unable to get their heads around it.

I hate to think how many times I've left a stack of clean, ironed clothes on their beds, only to discover they've filed them away in the dirty wash basket. And where are the clothes in need of a good clean that should be in the basket? Shoved into the back of the wardrobe, of course.

I also feel my eyeballs start to itch when playing our two-year-old daughter's favourite game of hide and seek with the TV remote. So far this week I've found it in her nappy bag, in the cereal box and tucked under our very lazy, pliable dog. We're currently on our third replacement, with previous remotes meeting their end in the toilet, the dishwasher and one which simply vanished into thin air, never to be seen again.

And yes, I'll confess to developing a bit of a twitch when my husband pauses a movie we're in the middle of watching because he 'needs' to see Match of the Day. But these are minor niggles. They elicit 'The Look' combined with an exasperated sigh at best. It's only once in a blue moon that I really, truly lose my temper and, believe me, it's not a pretty sight.

Imagine the Hulk but a good bit shorter and with a lot more unruly hair and you just about have it. The same gnashing of teeth, the same heavy, furrowed brow. Thankfully, I don't go as far as the penchant for ripping clothes. Can you imagine how much money that fella goes through in a year on shirts alone?

Last weekend I felt my blood begin to boil and could almost see a green tinge to my skin as I stood in the supermarket car park. I'd been miffed to discover most of the parent and baby spaces had been taken by large, 4x4 vehicles without so much as child car seat amongst them.

But it was when I met a friend, a mother of two disabled children, who'd been unable to park in a blue badge space, most of them taken by motors that had no right to be there, that my temper rose.

Whether it was to save time walking to the shop door or reduce the chance of their cars getting pranged, their actions had resulted in this lady struggling to get her kids out of the vehicle and complete her weekly shop, and that just wasn't fair.

I helped as best I could but, bar mustering up the strength to move the cars myself, there wasn't a lot I could do.

So, rather than rant and rave, I'm putting my temper to good use and pleading with people to think twice before parking in these spots. Think of those who really need them. Because otherwise I might just get angry and, believe me, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry ...

Belfast Telegraph

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