I’ve coined a new phrase, or perhaps identified a character trait, or at least christened a well -known characteristic. I call it the the OI factor. Reader, you will know someone with the OI factor. In fact you may, like me know several persons with this unfortunate and debilitating feature of their personality.

OI stands for opinionated ignorance. Myself, I know a number of people with this affliction. One is a near neighbour. I am safe to mention it since the person is unlikely to read this blog, but were he to dip into ‘Anecdotage’ and read this post he would not recognise himself. He indulges almost daily in a selfless mission to help all of us, his neighbours, with advice on how to improve our gardens, enhance our houses and live our lives. He is a deep well of ignorance about what we should drink and which supermarket we patronise. Apparently we don’t have enough pictures on our walls. He has even been known to provide me with top tips regarding doing our laundry. [I should wash everything on a thirty five minute cycle and must not ever iron items.]

Another of the afflicted can be found at the local pub. Rather than holding forth on a broad range of advice subjects, however he tends towards labouring his point whilst increasing the volume of his voice; many of his views [in an uncanny similarity to Neighbour] concern the upgrading of our home.

There are also members of our family who have the OI factor. On the increasingly rare occasions when we meet, one of my own siblings [again there is no danger of his reading this] likes to pass his opinion on the subject of camper vans, a topic which regular visitors to Anecdotage will know is not only dear to Husband and my hearts but is one that, after six or seven years we may know a little about ourselves. But Brother considers himself to be an expert, despite having never in his entire [seventy year] life experiencing a single journey in a camper or a motorhome. He is a devotee of cruising, the mechanics of which I confess to knowing nothing at all about apart from having watched the antics of a ‘tender’ coming and going in a fjord to take the passengers into a gift shop and return to the eyesore that was their ship, and having undertaken a few lengthy ferry crossings [and very tedious they were, too].

Here in the UK we are experiencing an explosion of OI factor all over the media as the dastardly election approaches. There is a veritable glut of OIks blabbing about how we should all live our lives and pretending to know how other’s lives are lived. It all reminds me of Margaret Thatcher earnestly telling a reporter she knew how the other half lived because she ‘didn’t even have living-in help any more’…

I’m ready for a quiet, soothing blanket of self-deprecation; a refreshing confession of ignorance, some heart-warming humility but feel this is unlikely to occur any time soon.





There are members of my family [distant geographically].

It’s not You-it’s Me…honest!

                Here’s a thing. I’ve noticed as I’ve got older that I’ve a tendency to realise and acknowledge negative traits I have picked up. Is this a common phenomenon, I wonder?

                There is one habit I have that I’ve been loath to confess-even to myself. But during a stroll with my [mental health nursing student/+psychology degree] daughter I ‘fessed up to one of my unappealing characteristics and it is this: On occasions, whilst out and about, I may see someone I know and go to certain lengths to avoid them.

                There is no excuse for this behaviour, nor, I must admit any special reason. It is not necessarily associated with dislike, or embarrassment or the fact that I am in a hurry-a condition that is rare these days. It is not isolated to any particular person, although immediate family do not generally come in for this treatment, and certainly if they did they would be more than ready to let me know.

                I am willing to wager that there are times when the subject of my evasion has not only clocked me but has also caught on to the fact that I have actioned a deliberate path of avoidance, a notion that is both uncomfortable and shaming to me! Nevertheless it is a behaviour I continue to pursue for no purpose that I can identify.

                Once I’d mentioned this to my offspring she was quick to reassure me that she, too, was inclined to behave this way, which led me to wonder. Is this a family attribute?

                Curious to pursue the inquiry I questioned Google and was rewarded with a plethora of websites on the subject. http://www.wikihow.com/Ignore-Someone provides a variety of methods for shunning people and http://www.succeedsocially.com/runintoacquaintance explains how to steer yourself out of conversing. Although both of these sites is a mine of advice on how to deal with the situation, neither of them makes clear the reasons why you should want to ignore someone you know. Succeedsocially does point out that it might be someone you do not have a lot to say to, but even this does not fully enlighten me.

                Then I came across http://awkwardlist.com/2012/02/13/106-bumping-into-someone-you-have-as-a-friend-on-facebook-but-dont-talk-to-in-real-life/ which provided a great deal of entertaining anecdotes and potential social difficulties. I was much reassured. The whole meet-greet-small talk situation is fraught with complexity.

                And I really am not like this all the time-just occasionally, when not feeling especially sociable.

                So to anyone who knows me and has noticed me scuttling round the end of an aisle in the supermarket, pretending an uncharacteristic interest in plumbing parts in the window of the heating engineer’s or burrowing deeper into the pages of a newspaper in the library I can only apologise and say it isn’t you…it’s me…