Room 101.

In the same way that cars run on petrol and my computer runs on mains electricity, I sometimes think social media is fuelled almost entirely by moral indignation.

I’ve come to realise after a decade of working in this industry that I’m fairly laid-back in Internet terms.

For example, I don’t much care that one piffling government-sponsored review suggested that MAYBE we might THINK about having a policy that requires all children to eat school meals.

I can’t bring myself to expend any energy worrying that Sam Brick and Katie Hopkins have made a career out of saying stupid things in a stupid newspaper.

I have absolutely no strong feelings either way on Bounty, except to say the chocolate/coconut ratio seems entirely the wrong way round to me.

Schools start enforcing the rules on term-time holidays? Whatever. It’s not as though they’re coming round in enforcement gangs with rifles to march you off the plane and to the school gates, are they?

Life’s too short to waste my time and energy on irritations that (in my experience) don’t really matter.

Or at least, that’s how I feel most of the time.

When Becky asked me to tell you what I would put into Room 101, never to be seen or heard from again, I discovered latent, hidden depths of irritation and fury. Oh yes, friends. Here are the things I would like to cast into a fiery pit in Room 101, never to be seen again:

1. Slow Drivers 

Yesterday, I drove  to my parents’ house. It’s about 14 miles, mostly on roads with a 60mph speed limit. Usually it takes around 25 minutes. Except yesterday it took 45 minutes because I was stuck behind someone who did a steady 30mph the ENTIRE way. For fecks’ sake, does your car even HAVE a fourth gear? (To my eternal shame, “It’s called fourth gear!” was one of Flea’s first full sentences). I’m not saying you have to drive at 60 the entire way. But hogging the road and slowing to 20mph whenever you go through a 30mph zone makes me want to do very, very bad things to you.

2. Litter Gits  

I live in a ridiculously respectable town. And yet, I find myself in the grip of a crime wave. Wheelie bin theft. Oh yes. Every other Wednesday we are supposed to wheel our rubbish bins to the end of the street for collection before 8am. And every single time – WITHOUT FAIL – if I don’t collect my bin in the afternoon, it’s gone by the time I get there. I can peer out of my window and see which of my neighbours have two or even three wheelie bins. They must KNOW they’re stealing someone else’s bin. But they can’t seem to help themselves.

Once I even saw one of my neighbours – a proper pillar of the community – climbing over my garden wall to steal my bin. I left him to it. Frankly, if the dude needs a bin THAT badly, I’m not going to get in his way. But the result is that my rubbish then piles in my back garden for two weeks – being over-run with flies and attacked by cats – and then OF COURSE the bin men won’t take it because they only collect rubbish that’s inside a bin, so I end up loading up the car yet again with stinking refuse, and driving it to the tip myself. Ugh.

3. People who have fights on social media 

Imagine finding your child on the Internet calling a school friend names, and ganging up with their friends against someone else. You’d unplug their computer and confiscate their phone. Frankly, when I see people snarking on Twitter, gossiping on Facebook, and writing stupid blog posts about how they oh-so-cleverly called someone a tw@t because they’re  standing up for what’s RIGHT, I want nothing more than to go round to their house, unplug their computer and ask if they’ve got any homework to be getting on with.

What drives you nuts?

I’m tagging the following three bloggers in case they fancy sharing a bit of pointless rage with the Internet:

Kate from the Five Fs 

Ruth from Geek Mummy

Katie from Mummy Daddy Me 





Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 22nd July 2013 / 6:25 pm

    Ha ha, I am with you on all those, but would have to add cyclists who refuse to use a cycle path to my list. Every week without fail I end up stuck behind a bike for the entire journey through our estate, a road with so many traffic islands and roundabouts you can’t over take anything, and a road which has a rather lovely cycle path.
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    • Sally
      22nd July 2013 / 9:07 pm

      We get bikes and tractors round where we live and – ARGH – so infuriating on the school run.

      • 22nd July 2013 / 10:30 pm

        It’s a funny old world isn’t it? What gets me mad is that I don’t have a lovely cycle path to get my kids to school safely, and so we have to ride on the road. I know this gets other parents mad, which makes it awkward at the school gate.
        Guess the up side is that it gives both of us stuff to blog and tweet about!!!! ; )

        Thankfully my bins are safe – we now have so many of them for recycling, rubbish, food etc we’re over run with the damm things. Must be SO annoying for you – you’re lucky you have a rubbish dump nearby. Could you get Flea to decorate yours in a style only you would appreciate?

        • Sally
          23rd July 2013 / 7:19 pm

          We will definitely be painting it – when we get one.

  2. 22nd July 2013 / 7:53 pm

    I frankly think yo0u do a rather good Katie Hopkins, but in a passive aggressive manner!

    • Sally
      22nd July 2013 / 9:08 pm

      I don’t think I’m especially passive aggressive actually, but if I was, I think it’s hard to be deliberately provocative while appearing not to be provocative. Those are ninja skills I can only dream of.

  3. 22nd July 2013 / 10:44 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly on all your rage inducing behaviours. I can’t stand slow drivers, but also fast ones too. The ones that drive really fast down a residential road where there could be children playing, and rev their engines as if we are all thinking ‘wow how amazing are you.’ When actually I’m thinking ‘wow how much of a (insert expletive) are you?’ Grrr. And don’t get me started on people parking in parent and child spaces with out a child. I know just cause you have a child doesn’t mean you deserve special treatment but they are there for a reason. Right best write mine before I do the whole thing in this comment. 😉
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    • Sally
      23rd July 2013 / 7:20 pm

      I hate people who speed in residential areas. So obnoxious.

  4. 23rd July 2013 / 8:45 am

    Amen to those! I found myself a victim of number 3 about 6 months ago, having done absolutely nothing to warrant it. A repeat performance recently too, are they what we call trolls? I think it aggravates them more that I don’t fight back, simply leave the conversation.

    I really think you should have busted your neighbour half way over your fence, just so that you could hear his reasoning for needing your bin so bad! We have recycling bin thefts here!

    I agree with Katie… Both fast and slow drivers get my goat. In fact I’ll just say “other drivers” irritate me. I get quite bad road rage and have been known to use the finger!
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    • Sally
      23rd July 2013 / 7:20 pm

      I’ve longed believed when it comes to rows on the Internet, it’s more important to be happy than to be right.

  5. Jo
    23rd July 2013 / 10:15 am

    I too am not too bothered about minor irritations, but these two things set my blood simmering.

    I would have to add to your litter gits section ‘litterers’. People who drive round the countryside just throwing their rubbish out of car windows. What’s wrong with taking it home? It’s not going to morph into some sort of monster in the car and drive you off the road.

    Also people who snap their fingers to get your attention. It’s rude, what’s wrong with excuse me?

    • Sally
      23rd July 2013 / 7:20 pm

      Yes – litterers were on my list but then it reminded me of the bin stealers!

  6. Slummy single mummy
    23rd July 2013 / 12:25 pm

    Yes to all of those!! Well, apart from the slow drivers, I’m not that fussed about them. Grown-ups arguing like children though DOES MY HEAD IN. Seriously. We are adults now. Why do these people feel the need to get sucked in to petty squabbles?

    I also dislike people saying the letter H as though it is spelt ‘haitch’. Especially teachers.

    And I like all my books to be lined up on my bookcases flush with the edge of the shelf. That’s pretty normal though I’m sure…

    • Sally
      23rd July 2013 / 7:21 pm

      The book thing? TOTALLY normal. They really also ought to be alphabetised but perhaps that’s just me.

      • Slummy single mummy
        25th July 2013 / 6:03 pm

        I once did all of mine in colour order. It was a magnificent literary rainbow.

  7. 29th July 2013 / 6:49 am

    Quite with you on those- can number 1 include people who do the same with supermarket trollies- I get total trolley rage when people are slow in front of me, or block ailses with their trolley while they chat to their neighbours about knee ops.
    Littering is plain laziness, and as for public spats-I am an enormous fan of not airing your dirty linen in public. I cannot help watching it though….
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    • Sally
      7th August 2013 / 10:36 am

      Trolleys? Ha! I don’t do enough shopping to make it annoying, but I’ll consider it next time I’m at the supermarket.

  8. 29th July 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I’m totally with you on slow drivers!!! I have serious road rage and don’t understand people who don’t indicate or give way or say thank you when you give them way either.

    People who litter and then complain that London is a dirty city?!

    I lived in HK for 5.5 years and everyone would try and get on the train before you could get off. Also hardly any one ever got up to offer me their seat when I was pregnant.

    Lastly, I can’t stand when people (who claim to be writers) write your instead of you’re.

    • Sally
      7th August 2013 / 10:36 am

      Reminds me of HAVE and OF. Not the same word, no matter what some people might think.

  9. 13th August 2013 / 1:04 pm

    I can do indignation with the best of them if it’s against a company or government Thing I Think Is Wrong (although, yes, like you, I tend to wait until it’s actually a Thing That is Likely To Happen, not a Thing That Will Probably Never Happen That Is Being Written About Only Because It’s a Slow News Day).

    But I do boggle at the way things turn into factions. I believe in anger achieving things, but I don’t think my having a snit at a fellow blogger who happens to disagree is going to achieve much, is it? And I do not have the energy to write blog posts about blog posts about blog posts, though if I’m honest I might read them. A bit like I read terrible newspapers in order to get righteously angry and then, erm, put them down again and get on with things.

    I might be doing the Internet wrong, but my biggest pet hate right now is white writing on a black background, because it gives me a really sick headache…
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