Moaning. Along with talking about the weather, is moaning not one of our national pastimes? It is a multi-faceted discipline and comes in many shapes and sizes, from straightforward complaining, through sullen grumbling, to nails-down-a-blackboard whining, and we just love it. We could have put one more gold medal in our Olympics treasure chest if moaning had been on the sporting agenda last month. I’ve been in training all my life for it.
There is nothing like a good moan to lift the spirits, and quite frankly, there is an endless supply of topics on which we can lament forth: how late the post arrives (which, incidentally, could be so simply solved by giving posties a ride-on lawn mower, a large rucksack and a modified cross bow), how miserable the woman in the shop down the road is, the price of petrol. Moan, moan, moan. Having a bad day? Get home, kick your shoes off, and when a concerned party casually enquires: “So, how was your day?” you can pour forth with gusto.
Bu choose your moan length wisely. A Sprint Moan can be perfect for a burst of vitriol, allowing you to get straight to the point of your chagrin with little hanging around, and will often contain a high proportion of expletives to really give it propulsion. The Sprint Moan is high octane stuff, but allow the listener to stand well back, as there is often some collateral damage in the form of flecks of spit flying from your mouth. And then there’s the Marathon Moan. Here, you must really pace yourself, as this one goes on for hours. You start gently, for fear of running out of puff too soon, and must maintain a steady pace of moaning. It is likely there will be need to take on high energy drinks and snacks to sustain you through the long moan ahead.
There is a little-known method for measuring moans, called the Bleater Scale. Think Richter Scale, but for whinging. You can score low on the Bleater Scale for some gentle complaining about the number of potholes on the local roads, but the moment you drive over one and get a puncture, the moaning escalates to almost epic proportions, culminating in a stiffly worded letter to the council and a photo in the paper of you pointing forlornly into the yawning abyss where tarmac once was. This scores a perfect ten on the Bleater Scale and you may wish to consider retirement from bleating at this point for fear of never reaching these giddy heights again.
There is a type of moaning that is considered by moaning experts to be the perfect storm of grumbling: Weather Whinging. It is a culmination of two of our most cherished hobbies – all things meteorological… and moaning. It has to be the most versatile of pastimes, as quite frankly, there is no type of weather that cannot be moaned about. “It’s too flipping hot,” we moan as the sun makes a belated entrance into our summer. “Bloody rain,” we grumble as we step in another puddle in our inappropriate and definitely not waterproof shoes. “This snow is ridiculous,” we gripe as we slide down the pavement to the tube. And when you are practised at the entry level Weather Whinging, you can attempt the more nuanced moaning: “Those cumulonimbus are really spoiling our day on the beach.”
Old fashioned moaning has a certain nostalgic glow to it what with all that leaning on the garden fence. And there is something to be said for face-to-face moaning. But there is no doubt that technology has advanced our moaning. No longer is it reserved for long-suffering spouses or mates down the pub. Oh no. Now you can moan online, twenty-four seven. You can tweet a moan, facebook a moan, blog a moan or simply moan in a review of a product that you bought online that promised to make you look ten years younger but turns out to give your wrinkles wrinkles. There is no end to the moaning you can do online. And in the unlikely event that you do exhaust your moan list, what the hell, you can then read what other people are moaning about. Call it the internet? More like a festival of moaning. MoanFest, if you will. A virtual crowd of grumblers, gripers and grousers standing in a virtual field, wearing their virtual wellies, moaning about the virtual weather and virtually everything else..
So perhaps just one piece of moan-related advice. Always be the moaner, never the moanee. And no matter how tempting, never ask ‘how was your day, dear?’. You might find yourself an unwilling spectator in a Moan Marathon.
This article first appeared in the fabulous Magascene (www.magascene.net)