Some days the sun comes bouncing up as if upon a spring, you leap out of bed, sing loudly in the shower, your orange juice makes every wall glow warmly, you dress while dancing, pick a bright shirt and choose a smile to match and then the first person whom you meet complains about the birds, the dogs, the rubbish, the traffic or the weather, or whatever and then the second person whom you meet complains about the world, the young, the old, the weather or whatever and then the third, the fourth, the fifth… and every meeting is a mallet blow which drives your mood down further into the ground, until you turn round and you yourself complain about the bells, the clocks, your socks, the motorcycles and the weather or whatever.
I don’t want to complain about people complaining, we all do it, it comes naturally and what are friends for if not to listen to each other’s woes ? (Although I think that beginning any interaction with a complaint is a bit like ringing someone’s doorbell and tipping a pile of rubbish there when they open the door). But complaining is contagious, it spreads and spreads and spreads and I am not sure that is the best of situations. So I am going to suggest a remedy and like my anti-aging pi extract this will make us all a lot of money.
I think there is something missing from our cityscapes. I like the squares and the fountains, I like the cafés and their chairs and tables set out on the pavements. I like the kiosks with their newspapers and I like the various temples and their sounds. But I visualise one more thing. The way I see it, it would be a cheerful yellow and green striped awning and underneath a simple table with two chairs and written on it in toothpaste script (at night it would light up) you would read “COMPLAINERY”.
So whenever anybody felt like complaining they could step inside, sit down and for a dollar or a euro spend one minute complaining to someone who will listen to you with attention without interrupting to talk about their own reason for complaint. Is one minute not enough ? Pay another dollar and a euro and have another go.
I know a couple of places where people are always complaining – perhaps it is because of the bad feng shui in the buildings – but I am sure there would be a roaring trade for any complainery set up in their vicinity.
And think, instead of having an argument with someone, you could say, “Hold on, just five minutes, I’m popping down to the complainery.”
But who is going to staff our complaineries ? This isn’t therapy or counselling. There is going to be no advice or talk from the other side. Just active listening and perhaps a few well-placed gestures here and there.
I’ve thought about who the most suitable people to hire would be . The best thing would be to have people who have a basic understanding of the local language but not a complete grip on it, because otherwise they would be quickly worn out listening to the details of all this talk. They should just know enough to be able to make the right face whenever one is needed. Of course, we can’t pay them much. If possible we won’t pay them at all. The solution I have found is: language students on an au pair basis. We can offer them intensive language training (8 hours a day) for free ! And it will also be a wonderful opportunity for them. Repetitive enough to make sure those sentence structures get hammered home but also varied enough in terms of accent and idiom and every now and then something completely new which will really test their ability to understand.
I’m thinking that we could round up our profit by selling articles such as punch-balls or little sound-insulating booths which people could assemble at home. Once the booths are assembled, people can use them to have a nice shout or scream every now and then. (Very useful when trying to assemble those furniture kits some other people sell).
And when we expand to Spanish-speaking countries we can call them QUEJERIAS (from quejar – to complain) and we can also sell things resembling quesadillas (which Wikipedia translates as little cheesy things). The ones we sell will be slightly different, we’ll call them QUEJADILLAS and by analogy we will translate them as “little complainy things“. Because of this they should be a bit sour, but also a bit sweet and the best filling I can think of is the bitter strawberry tree honey they make in Sardinia. Apparently they have similar honey – Miel de madroño – in Spain too, but I have never tasted it, and I am not sure if it is quite the same. So for the time being I am importing it from Sardinia.
The only question is: will we be able to cope with the demand ?
(In the photo: there is already a queue outside the new Quejería in Cholula (Puebla, Mexico) )