Party people, recently I’ve realised that the English language – rich and diverse though it is – doesn’t provide certain words that I really need: words that, if they existed, I would use every day.  I’ve discovered that there are very specific circumstances that require a good descriptive term and I’d like your help to come up with them. 

Please, help me – come up with a word for each of these circumstances:

  • the tension you feel when you’re using a public toilet and your cubicle doesn’t have a working lock
  • the unease you experience when you’re going to somebody’s house for dinner for the first time, and they haven’t asked if there’s anything that you can’t eat (and you have a strong aversion to a certain food)
  • the mixed feeling of knowing that your most recent post on Facebook might offend somebody you know, and caring enough to be worried, but not caring enough to delete it or not post it
  • the specific feeling of glee that occurs when you go to a shop and find the exact thing that you had in mind
  • the sinking feeling that strikes when you realise that the thing you’re cooking or baking isn’t going to work out as you’d hoped
  • the mild mixture of guilt and bravado that you feel when you accidentally delete a programme on Tivo/MySky/SkyPlus that a loved one had recorded and hadn’t yet watched
  • the precise sense of doom and mild panic that occurs when you’re on public transport and a ticket collector appears and you realised that you’ve misplaced the ticket you’d bought
  • the frustration you feel when somebody in your company tells an anecdote you already know and gets crucial details wrong
  • the pointless satisfaction you feel when the traffic lights turn green and your humble car accelerates and pulls away more swiftly than the superior car in the lane next to you
  • the despair of getting to the second aisle of the supermarket and realising that your trolley is virtually unsteerable, but not being able to face the prospect of finding another one and transferring everything  you’ve already selected
  • the faint delight of realising that, of everybody at your restaurant table, you’ve ordered the best and most delicious dish
  • the unending fear of accidentally putting diesel into your petrol car
  • the sense of smug delight that strikes when you do something reasonably difficult with great skill, while others are watching (such as parallel parking)
  • the annoyance of ruining a perfectly good bath by putting in too much cold water and then running out of hot water to balance the temperature
  • the mild disappointment that occurs when you accidentally leave your cup of tea too long, making it too cool to enjoy
  • the sadness of realising that you’ve mistakenly eating the last piece of something yummy without fully savouring it
  • the combination of pride and humility that you must display or express when you’ve made something that you know to be really fantastic, and people are praising it, but you don’t want to join in and say “yes, I AM awesome!”

The public transport scenario dates back to my London days; the other scenarios happen to me on a regular basis.  My life is a maelstrom of unexpressed emotions, as you can see.

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One thought on “Expand my vocabulary

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