I’m losing patience with the endless stream of pandemic positivity

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The pandemic has given new meaning to the term “veiled comment”: the only advantage of social distancing has been mandatory mask wearing.

Why? Because it allows you to mask your contempt. A female can now nod at a supercilious mansplainer while enjoying a secret smirk. Staff can lip-curl at condescending comments from a conceited boss. A cavernous yawn at a rello’s longwinded anecdote also now goes blissfully undetected. Thanks to masks, bullies, braggarts, numbskulls and name-droppers now have no idea that they’re annoying the tooth enamel off us.

Knowing the constructive ways in which the pandemic has made people re-evaluate their priorities is not on my agenda.Credit:iStock

Humans have a bad habit of being annoyed by other people’s bad habits. But it’s been especially bad during this last 18 months. I honestly thought the pandemic would bring out my more compassionate, tolerant side, but no.

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to conceal my disdain for all those self-satisfied people who are being positive about lockdown and constantly Instagramming pictures of homemade bread or their artfully arranged, Marie Kondoed closets.

Even more annoying are the patronising types who drone on about the constructive ways in which the pandemic has made them re-evaluate their priorities.

“With so much more time on our hands, we’ve taken to smoking our own trout – so much more nutritious and delicious.”

“Half a stone has just fallen off me; I think it’s giving up alcohol and only drinking water thrice-filtered through a Nordic glacier.”

“Unable to travel internationally, we’ve been using the time to rekindle our passion for the Kama Sutra.”

Those who aren’t going around the world in 80 lays are mastering Sanskrit or re-reading Proust – “but this time, in French”. Nauseating.

But it’s even worse when they enthusiastically attempt to recruit you. I do not want to run a marathon. I only intend to run that fast if I’m in the path of a steaming lava flow. Nor do I want to do a yoni egg workshop on a yoga deck – not without a monocle for my third eye.

All this endless accomplishment makes me want to tell people that I’m spending my spare time suckling demons at the bidding of the Dark Lord. Achievers who exceed the Recommended Daily Allowance of Smug really should be strung up by the nipples till, oh, about the start of the next millennium.

“It’s even worse when they enthusiastically attempt to recruit you. I do not want to run a marathon. I only intend to run that fast if I’m in the path of a steaming lava flow.”

Even more infuriating are the furloughed friends you know get up at the crack of noon, but then spend all afternoon FaceTiming you about how busy they are. Zoom meetings have also become a very ripe area of annoyance, mostly due to curated backdrops of Booker Prize novels, ethically sourced ethnic rugs or casually draped toy boys.

Equally annoying is the meaningless waffle. “Thinking outside the box”, “touching base”, “it’s on my radar” and similar clichés make other Zoom attendees cringe. Using a phrase like “it’s a no-brainer” proves you don’t have one, and describing something as a “win-win situation” automatically means you lose-lose.

I would also like to point out that “at the end of the day” is only one thing – night. “Giving 110 per cent” is also mathematically impossible and will get you sacked from your accountancy firm, forthwith.

As we humans spend more of our lives with workmates than loved ones, it’s important that when we head back into the office full-time, we should try not to irk each other so much.

That said, there’s no forgiving the nose picker who then shakes your hand. The inappropriate dresser who flashes side boob or bum cleavage by the photocopier, leaving even my shock-proof watch embarrassed.

And let me just say to the office “clown” who is never funny: “Knock knock … I’m sorry, buddy, but you seem to be in the wrong joke.”

Nor can we exonerate the dieters who only drink one mocha vegan pea-milk crappuccino a week, yet keep going on about how “fat” they are. Then there are the fact-regurgitators, the money borrowers, the gropers who corner you in the lift with the words “I’m single and ready to mingle”. Oh, and that new guy in human resources who is really bloody annoying but we’re not quite sure why … You’re all on probation.

But then again, is there anything more annoying than someone who points out all the annoying habits of other people, without noticing any of her own? Please put on your mask before replying.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale August 8. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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