Room 101

Published October 23, 2010 by Claire

“You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.” ~  O’Brien, Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

It’s a common enough question these days; ‘What would you put into Room 101?’. It was even a popular TV programme for a while and in today’s Daily Mail Janet Street-Porter confesses that when asked to appear as a guest, she produced a notebook filled with over 120 things and/or people that she would happily consign to room 101! I don’t know if I can stretch to 120, but I can certainly name my top five:

1) Tardiness. In either myself or other people, unpunctuality drives me to distraction. I operate my life to the clock, and when someone says ‘I’ll be with you in a bit’ I  immediately need to know ‘How long? How big a bit, I mean, ten, twenty minutes? Longer? What TIME???’ If I find myself running late I can immediately feel my blood pressure rising, inevitably ending in my arriving hot and flustered and very apologetic on the doorstep of someone who then says ‘Oh, are you late? I hadn’t noticed – I’m not even ready yet…’

2) Fingerprints. No, not the ‘sticky fingerprints on furniture’ kind, but the actual whorls on my own finger-ends. I know it’s bizarre but I cannot stand getting my hands wet to the point of being able to feel the ridges and whorls of my fingerprints. After a bath or shower I have to sit with my hands splayed until the skins natural oils reassert themselves and my hands go back to ‘normal’. I read a crime novel once in which the suspect used acid to melt off their friction ridges (thanks Wikipedia for telling me the correct term 😉  ) and instead of being horrified by the idea, for a nano-second I found myself thinking ‘Now there’s an idea…’!

3) Celery. There are creatures on this earth who, when attacked, excrete a poisonous and foul tasting substance to protect themselves from the predator. I believe that celery is one of those creatures. I simply cannot imagine why any person with taste buds in their head would consume such a vile foodstuff. And it sneaks up on you! There you are, enjoying a perfectly innocent salad or coleslaw, and suddenly and quite cruelly a piece of celery attacks you. Foul stuff. And, while we’re on the subject of sustenance…

4) Coffee. I tasted coffee for the first time in my life a few weeks ago. Previously whenever I had attempted to try it the smell had reached my nose before the cup reached my lips and my senses had all revolted in unison. This is strange,because I like coffee cake and coffee cream chocolates! Well, whilst on the plane to Spain last month I accidentally picked up my friends cardboard cup instead of my own hot choc, and as they had lids on the smell didn’t alert me. I took a large mouthful of a coffee without sugar and I can now safely tell you that i) I don’t like coffee and ii) the backs of the seats on Easy-Jet planes are quite absorbent.

5) Electricity and Gas cold callers. Why won’t they take no for an answer? They knock on the door and ask me who my supplier is. I tell them, and I immediately add to the end of my sentence ‘And I’m quite happy and don’t want to change thankyou’. ‘Ah, but we want to save you money,’ they say. I explain that every time I have changed suppliers in the past it has been an unmitigated shambles and that I will from this point on stick with my current supplier even to the point where they charge me a thousand pounds every time I switch on a light. ‘But let me just show you…’ ‘NO! You may not show me anything! I do not wish to see! I do not care! I am happy as I am!’ ‘But we could save you £100 a year!’ ‘I will GIVE you £100 to SOD OFF!’

So there we go. On reflection I think I probably could come up with another 115 items. Maybe another day…

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