I was listening to the marvellous Jo Malone, the celebrated perfumer, on Radio 4 on Saturday morning, and the conversation turned to smells that other people found objectionable. A listener suggested that the smell of washed clothes that had taken too long to dry was a smell that she found deeply repulsive, whilst her husband claimed not to be able to smell the aroma at all. I have to say that that particular smell always reminds me of baby sick, although I’m not sure why, and it’s besides the point really.
In response to the listener’s comment Jo Malone spoke forth, saying “I can’t stand that smell either, that’s laziness; that’s the smell of laziness.” Which seemed a little harsh frankly.
As someone who has been known to occasionally forget that the washing machine I had set to run before I left the house in the morning is sitting there in the evening with a full load of damp clothes festering away, I would contest Jo’s assertion. I would suggest that it’s a forgetfulness rather than laziness. After all I end up washing the clothes again on the rare occasion that it happens, thus creating more work.
But we all have our funny little ways of judging the actions, or the in-action, of others and we make rules up about what it means to us. I’m not a big fan of people being late for meetings, especially group meetings where everyone else is kept waiting, but I know that for some people that it absolutely means a complete lack of respect for someone to be late.
I challenged a young lawyer in a work-shop once who suggested that her boyfriend being late to meet her meant that he didn’t respect her. I queried whether, leaving aside his tardiness, she felt that her boyfriend did actually respect her, and she replied that yes, she thought he did. So I asked her why she had made it a rule in her life that being late meant a lack of respect. It gave her pause to think about her rules and why she’d made them.
What rules do you have that mean more to you than perhaps they should and why have you chosen to have them?