A while ago I came across this list of 20 untranslatable words (look up “tartle” and “mamihlapinatapei”). It got me thinking about other circumstances that happen regularly enough in the modern world to deserve a name and definition of their own.
So I’ve started on a list of modern Liff*, which I’ll update, and I’m hoping that other people might want to contribute – words for definitions or just definitions alone.
The feeling of impending doom as you open a yoghurt and realise it’s about to explode on you.
On getting in the bath, settling in the hot water and leaning back before realising with a lurch that your towel is downstairs and the house is freezing.
A creeping, retch-inducing fart on a tightly-packed train that the pretty girl sitting in the priority seat is clearly blaming on you, when in fact she may well be the culprit.
The feeling of intense frustration you get for the person walking very slowly up the escalator in front of you.
That bizarre pantomime of exaggerated innocence you adopt near a shop door, because you’re convinced the Tesco security guard thinks you’re about to shoplift some baby spinach and a packet of spaghetti.
A furtive glance to see if anyone saw what you just did.
Seeing the shape of someone’s ear in the patina of grease on their touch screen phone.
Trying to open a kitchen drawer that is wedged shut thanks to a poorly stashed potato masher or cheese grater.
The sudden realisation that the reason the person you’re talking to is completely off their tits and that’s why they keep telling you about themselves.
A look shared between subordinates, realising that their boss has had a glass too much wine at lunch and is about to mess something up.
Realising that you’ve been singing to yourself and there’s someone walking right behind you.
The gentle slapping noise and associated choking caused by a wet tea bag hitting you on the lip as you finish the last bit of a herbal tea.
On replying instead of forwarding your sarcastic response to an annoying email.
The feeling that you get in that split second in the morning when you see that its going to be sunny today.
Getting to work and realising you’ve left your mobile at home.
The sort of half-run you do for a few paces after tripping up so it looks like you meant to do it.
That thing you do when you nearly walk into someone walking down the street, then dodge left and right in synch until someone get’s annoyed or embarrassed to stop and show you the way past them.
Realising your pin number is not the correct code to turn off the office alarm, and that the police are on their way.
“Typoo” – nonsensical typing mistake possibly related to predictive text and/or fat fingers and touch screens.
”Joggle” – verb
Peculiar style of running employed when trying to move down a busy street at speed whilst dodging people, pets and other unforeseen obstacles.
“Mornesia” – That thing one sometimes does in the morning where cornflakes get put in the fridge, milk in the dishwasher, and the bowl in the bin.
On waking, a satisfying percussive rhythm played with cupped hands on the male belly.
The simple act of repeatedly pushing water forward with one hand, and at the same time, backwards with the other hand creating a mini vortex around your body whilst sitting in a bath, in order to mix freshly added hot or cold water.
*This sort of thing was first done in The Meaning of Liff. If it’s not already a part of your life, then it should be – Douglas Adams and John Lloyd taking odd place names and giving them meanings)