The Child-free A-Z

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I’m staring down the barrel of 30, I’ve been married to man for a few years, naturally people are asking. I get why people have kids, I do. And I admire anyone who makes it through 18-plus years of child-rearing, but frankly I just don’t think I’m up to the challenge (and honestly, I don’t really want to be.) So here it is, 26 reasons why reproduction isn’t for me.

A-Antibiotic resistance. Let’s face it, as a species, we are quite royally fucked. Pandas apparently had the same realisation and decided to lay off the breeding. I think they’ve got the right idea.

B-Baby food. Is there anything more disgusting? I mean, really?

C- Crying. I cannot stand the sound of a child crying as it is. The thought of a child crying and it being my problem is frankly unbearable.

D-Donald Tump. Alright, hopefully he won’t be around forever (unless he does a Robert Mugabe and just refuses. to. leave-quite likely), but bringing anyone into a world where he’s in power seems irrational and I’m pretty sure my child-bearing years will be a distant memory before we’ve got rid of him.

E-Epidural. I’m not great with needles. I’m also not great with pain. It doesn’t scream birthing material, does it?

F-Feeding. If you breast feed, you’re judged. If you bottle them, you’re judged. You can’t win.

G-Germs. I am a germaphobe, and I mean literally. Therefore having a child is pretty much my worst nightmare.

H-Handbags. I like spending my money on handbags. Nappy bags would not fit that bill.

I-Iphones. You couldn’t refuse them one, but they’re also a minefield for child safety. See letter X.

J-Juvenile delinquents. What if my child turned into one? Or dated one? Or got shot by one? See letter W.

K-Kid’s menus. I just find them off-putting.

L-Life. Honestly, I find it hard enough as it is!

M-Morbid thoughts. I am not exaggerating when I say that I live in constant fear of losing those around me. If i had a child, I know for sure that fear with crush me.

N-Nipples. I like mine un-chafed.

O-Other people’s opinions. On the name, on what I feed them, on my parenting style. I just don’t want to have to fight my corner all the time.

P-Planes. I want to see the world. I do not see how that would be possible with a little person.

Q-The Queen. She’s already 90. And looks who’s coming next. See letter D.

R-Rights. It seems like we have fewer and fewer of them. I just don’t think it’s fair to bring someone into this world right now.

S-Sex. No explanation needed.

T-Tears. Both pronunciations of the word.

U-Uterus. I had a coil in there once. It hurt. A lot. And it was a hell of a lot smaller and lighter than a 10-lb baby.

V-Vagina. No explanation needed.

W-Worrying. I do a lot of it. Being responsible for a tiny human would not relieve that.

X-X-rated text messages. They might send them, they might receive them. It’s a never-ending source of crippling anxiety.

Y-Yakking. I’ve spent some time with babies. They puked. A lot.

Z-Zoos. Children like visiting zoos. I do not like zoos.

Signs in Japan

I’ve always loved signs, especially foreign ones. Street signs, road signs, hotel lift signs, I’ve always found them a source of great entertainment, cultural insight and, occasionally, useful information.

Our recent trip to Japan didn’t disappoint on the sign front. Japan seemed to have a disproportionate amount of signs of varying types, from the highly amusing, to the mildly disconcerting, to the plain, old, baffling. Some of my personal favourites included:

  1. The seemingly sensible:FullSizeRender 2

Nobody wants to be hit by an ash cloud to rival Iceland’s when they’re strolling down the street, it’s true, but it’s difficult to see the point of such a rule in a country where most pubs, coffee shops and restaurants allow smoking indoors. That said, I did enjoy the illustration.

2. The parable:

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Ah, the age-old adage, an irritatingly smug tortoise with a satchel and tie glides serenely through the electronic gate while a stressed out bunny in a suit (and a woman’s handbag?) bashes into it without swiping properly and generally causes chaos.

There are several problems with this message. The tortoise is looking magnificently self-satisfied, but apparently hasn’t managed to put on any trousers. The bunny, however, is in all likelihood a master off time-efficiency, as he appears to be wearing a slip-on suit!

The biggest issue I have with this whole directive though, is that, as unflappably sedate as tortoises may be, they’re not that good at getting things done. Say what you like about rabbits, they know how to finish a job.

3.  The unduly descriptive:

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Anyone else feel that ‘Caution, deer may be dangerous.’ would have done?

4. The spoil-sport:

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Not only is the rule jarringly unfair, there is also a serious issue with the relative size of the rabbit to the child on the sign.

5.  The double take:

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At first glance, an apparently innocuous convenience store but look closely at the sign and is that a..!

All in all, I very much enjoyed the signs in Japan, but I’m not sure I gained a lot of useful info from them. Admittedly, the ability to read Japanese might’ve helped, but then again do I really want to be taking advice from a walking, smoking cigarette?

 

A Post Office What, Now?

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At the Post Office today, I was sending my parcel when I noticed something strange on the counter. Post Office gift cards. Post. Office. gift. cards. And it’s not some Nectar-ish type scheme whereby the Post Office is arbitrarily linked to a vaguely interesting shop, these cards are just. for. the. Post. Office.

This got me thinking, and here is my philosophical question: On what planet would anyone want a Post Office gift card? I don’t know about you, but aside from a pile of anthrax or a nest of live beetles, a Post Office gift card is probably the last thing I would want falling out of my card on Christmas morning.

Considering this on my way home, the only thing I could come up with was this: The Office Secret Santa. You know, that irritating extra expense we have to put up with every year, at a time in the year when you least want an irritating extra expense. The time when you have to spend a tenner (and it is always a tenner) on someone you barely know and probably don’t like. Ten pounds is a really irritating amount as well, because it’s enough to be annoying, but not enough for you to say, ‘Actually guys, that’s a bit steep, why don’t we make it a little less?’ without sounding like the original Ebenezer.

Anyway, If I received a Post Office gift card in the Office Secret Santa I wouldn’t actually mind, because it’s at least slightly less useless than some of the other things I’ve got over the years. (Having said that, I think it would take me about another three years to get round to spending a tenner in the Post Office, but that’s another story). If however, I received one from anyone else, i.e. someone I actually know/like, I’d be at best confused and at worst mildly insulted. Gift cards can be a decent gift if, and here’s the key point, they’re for a shop you’d actually want to go in, but one from the Post Office is effectively the same as giving someone a book of stamps, a roll of parcel tape or a 10 pack of Bic biros as a present which, while arguably useful, are not exactly gift materials.

Husband was less baffled by this anomaly. “Yeah.” He said, when I told him what I’d seen. “For your 80-year-old Grandma. Old people constantly go to the Post.” When I asked him what ‘old people’ would need to send, he answered “I don’t know, letters, Christmas cards! Young people spend money on the Internet, old people spend money on the Post.”

I remain unconvinced. Admittedly the demographic in the Post Office is usually 50 years older than the general population, but I still find it hard to believe that a Grandma (even an 80-year-old one) would be impressed with one of their gift cards.

So my question remains: if anyone out there can think of a plausible reason why anyone would want a Post Office gift card in a situation other than the dreaded Secret Santa, I want to hear it.