Totally Unfazed Bloke Syndrome

Greetings. (And you thought only John Banks used that word casually to say hello to people and other alien beings.) Greetings. My name is Nickie Muir and I'm a hurried woman. Or make that harried woman. Or am I just a harridan? The edges are all so blurred lately. I've joined this seven step programme to wean myself from the addiction of busyness and I pledge to slow down long enough to breathe and remember things like; sitting on the doorstep in the sun, drinking tea and painting toe nails, and other stuff; what my child looks like, for example. Like all illnesses it's such a relief to put a name on it. A friend heard me listing the symptoms and told me I was suffering from 'Hurried Woman Syndrome'. I'm not alone she informed me in all sincerity – 30 million women in the US alone suffer from it. The recent weight gain is definitely a sign she said nodding sagely. I was glad that it was a syndrome and therefore I could abdicate all responsibility for it – for a moment there I thought it was all the magnum ice-creams over summer. What a relief.

Apparently women all over the world are running round like 'electric farts' as the Spanish expression goes. We race children to school and ourselves to work, we stress about family relationships gone bad and friendships left untended, gone to seed like an abandoned garden. My garden itself worries me – if I were my tenant I'd kick myself out. We worry about mortgage rates and university fees when our kids are still in primary school and wake at 3 in the morning to remember that we still haven't signed up for that de-stressing yoga class we promised ourselves about a year ago.

The funny thing is, waking up in the wee hours I've noticed the mad Latin is not stressing at all. He is, in fact, about as stressed as a farm dog on a hot sunny day. Flat out and happy. And so I google 'Hurried Man Syndrome' and get no results. I begin to suspect that there may be some correlation between 'Hurried Woman Syndrome' and 'Totally Unfazed Bloke' syndrome, an as yet under-diagnosed disease that is sending half of our population totally mental in order to compensate for it.

I decide to dive into the dark murky waters of his Latin male psyche to discover the ancient philosophy that allows him to glide through life's rapids in such a way as to make Bob Marley appear uptight. I set him a test: 'What do you think we should do about that speeding ticket?' I ask. 'Let it be buggered!' he says in a show of blas̩ machismo. Right. The manana manana approach. Elevate procrastination to an art form of contrived ignorance of a situation that is bound to only get worse, only to discover that most problems do actually disappear if you simply ignore them. At which point the Latin can say 'I told you so' with impunity. Not speeding tickets though. My harried hurriedness hormones begin to rise. I enquire as to what the correct approach should be Рin his world- to an irritating relative at the next family gathering. 'Tell them to bugger themselves', he says looking as if I've just asked how to use the telephone. Of course. It seems so obvious to me now. I have no idea why I would make life difficult by thinking there might be an emotionally intelligent way of dealing with recalcitrant family members and not have some kind of underground uncivil war on my hands for the duration of festivities. Kindly, he offers to ring them now and tell them they can either 'Behave or Bugger Off!' before we even get there. My hurriedness levels go off the Richter scale. Yup. There's definitely a connection I think, as I reach for another magnum. The ice-cream. Not the gun.

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