Lets get this straight. I am NOT an interfering busybody - leastways I can keep my trap firmly shut on any conundrum I don't know about. Chuck it into my sphere of awareness, however, with a question such as "What do you think I should do about...." and I am off like a shot.
I am now aware of this worrying tendency to 'instruct' people and this has crystallised because of blogging.
People waffle, ramble and throw rhetorical questions into the ether in their blogs, or even just imply that they might wish for a better way round a certain situation. At that point I have to fight myself because the desire to put 200 - 300 words into their comments and illuminate them is very very strong.
For example in a very funny blog I read recently a poor little boy's balloon model fishing rod lost a few bits and to an adult eye looked remarkably like a penis. OK a very diseased penis, given the colours, but still.
How did I comment? 'Nice blog - haha'? No, I gave her the lowdown (which she probably doesnt want) on how to surreptitiously put a very slow leak into party balloons so that they only last three or four days at home before apparently dying of old age. Kids cry when balloons burst, but somehow if they shrivel up, it is accepted as the normal order of things.
Anyway, at the end of my first marriage (and lets label that as educational and move on) I decided on my goal in life. I had no idea then that it was a life path, it was just a joke to get over the shocked and sympathetic stares that started heading my way when the truth about #1 came out, but it fitted and made too much sense. To that end, I am still growing up, which pleases me.
Life goal: I aim to be one of those grannies who can knit and watch the boxing on telly and cook the dinner all at the same time, who you could tell absolutely anything to, no matter how mortifying or seemingly hopeless, without her so much as raising an eyebrow. Granny discrete-and-indispensible-answer-to-everything, thats who I want to be.
Heck, beats granny 'tell-strangers-her-life-story-on-a-bus-stop', which is the viable alternative. I pray to be the sought and not the seeker.
Prudie is my favourite agony aunt at the moment. I dont read Slate at all, but have Dear Prudence delivered direct to my inbox. I love that her advice is primarily etiquette based - practical help out of practical situations, no hearts and flowers (well quite a lot of heart, but still no flowers!). This is not a column that inspires people to write in bewailing the loss of a fingernail and her slightly sarcastic twist on things is adorable, empowering even.
So heres the deal - If I surf into your blog and start telling you how to rearrange the furniture - forgive me! Its a quirk thats digging its claws into my psyche more and more as I get older. If all else fails, you could be very lovely and reciprocate by setting me a conundrum, real or imaginary, so I could fill my own blog with an answer.
Can't say it'll be the answer you want because I'm only practising - but anybody out there want to set the ball rolling, please?