My brother places great faith in what he calls “conventional wisdom”. I sometimes think that this is because he knows I lack any very clear idea of what it might be. Regularly, when people are complaining on the radio, I just don’t get it. In the case of a media attack, I see everything from the point of view of the person who is attacked and though I want to work myself up to righteous indignation, I just can’t.
On the other side, I have a slightly puritanical streak (my mother’s side, I think) which makes me probably over-punctilious about a lot of things others are more relaxed about. When I was in college, we were talking in one class about the concept of “scope of employment”. If something is “within the scope” of an employee’s work, then the employer is liable. So, said the lecturer, if Mr. X is a lorry driver and leaves his lorry dangerously parked while going into a bar for drinks and causes an accident, is that within the scope of his employment? “No,” we chorused obediently. “How about, if he parks his lorry and hops out to make a quick call to his wife [yes, I went to college when there were no mobile phones, what of it?] and while he is out, his lorry slips and causes an accident, is that within the scope of his employment?” “No,” I said immediately. But I was the only one and I still remember how odd that felt. It turns out that making the odd phone call is actually within the scope of your employment.
I feel I am always out of step with the public mood, surprised both by what irritates and, more particularly, by what doesn’t. Does everyone feel this way or is it just me?