There are two books that I wished existed in real life.
The first is, The Big Book of What People Say and What People Mean.
I get quite confused by the things people say when they actually mean something different. Why do people do this? Do they do it just to challenge me? What I mean by this is that I need a book which lists those coded messages that the Japanese are so good at and the English are just as good at, along with their actual meanings. My favourite Japanese phrase that belongs in this book is Tabun chotto muri da to omoimasu which means ‘I think that might be a little bit impossible’. Actual meaning = no. Often I wish people would just say what they mean and not say it in code. I think that many other people automatically ‘get’ the code but I don’t. I’m always telling my husband off for speaking to me in this ‘code’ that I don’t get.
The second is, The Big Book of What We Should Never Do. This relates to the weird thought I had the other night as I went to bed before nightfall. It was only 10pm but it was still light. So I said to my husband ‘I’m sure it says in The Big Book of What We Should Never Do that we should never go to bed before nightfall, at least not after the age of 10 years’. He laughed at me and informed me that such a book doesn’t exist.
Other entries in this invaluable reference work would be:
- Get up before 7am on a Sunday No Matter What.
- Say no thanks to More Wine when offered.
- Drink wine out of a mug, that is never, ever acceptable.
- Wear yellow. I don’t care if you think it suits you, it doesn’t.
- Anger a cat.
- Go clothes shopping after a lunchtime tipple (never, ever do this).
- Gatecrash a funeral (although a wedding reception is perfectly acceptable, I’ve only done this once).
- Say ‘that’s ok, I can make you cheese on toast instead’ to your child who won’t eat vegetables.
- Go to the toilet before leaving the house in a hurry on a day when you are wearing a skirt or dress (yep, done this a few times).
As, sadly, such books do not yet exist, perhaps I should write to my good friends at Oxford University Press and suggest they commission these titles. I, for one, would definitely purchase.