Is this a cappuccino I see before me?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
I have always felt that the traditional definition of the difference between an optimist and a pessimist (one says that a bottle of wine is half full, the other that it's half empty) was too glib by half, and fairly impractical, as very few of us ever have to describe a half-empty bottle. Nor does it take into account the slice of humanity that is neither optimistic nor pessimistic but realistic and willing to bet that whether the bottle is half empty or half full, the wine inside must have gone off by now.

So today I am offering a series of new tests to let yourself find out which of the three categories you fall into. In each test I am putting you into a common situation to which there are three different reactions, one of which you must identify as nearest your own. In each case, option (a) is the optimistic one, (b) is the pessimistic one and (c) is the realist's choice.

OK, let's do the test and tick the option that applies to you, so that you can a) have a bit of fun, b) find out the worst, c) get it over with...!

l. When you try to back your car into a narrow parking space you know in your heart of hearts that you are going to:

a) bounce off the car behind you, which will give you just enough room to park;

b) back into the car behind you, in which the owner is sitting reading a paper;

c) park without hitting any other car, lock your car doors and then, just as you are walking away, realise that you have left the car with two wheels on the pavement.

2. When you go to get your holiday photographs back from Boots you expect them to be:

a) as good as usual;

b) as bad as usual;

c) in the hands of the police.

3. When you pick up a blank video lying innocently near your TV set you expect it to be:

a) that classic film you recorded recently and which you've been looking for all over the place;

b) that classic film you recorded recently and which you've been looking for all over the place but which has now been wiped out by your child recording Top of the Pops over it;

c) the programme that you recorded by mistake on Channel 4 at the very same time as the classic film you wanted to record went out on BBC2.

4. When you order a cappuccino coffee you expect to get:

a) a cappuccino coffee;

b) a lot of froth and chocolate powder hiding a very small cup;

c) some ghastly instant coffee produced by hitting a button on a coffee machine marked (erroneously) "cappuccino".

5. When the phone rings you

a) answer it with pleasure;

b) dread answering it;

c) let someone else answer it.

6. When you buy a lottery or raffle ticket you

a) think that it might really be lucky this time;

b) dread winning it, in case you have to be seen collecting the prize;

c) think of all the other raffle tickets you keep finding in disused coat pockets.

7. When you approach a door you expect it to:

a) open automatically as you reach it;

b) be locked shut;

c) need pushing if you pull it, but need pulling if you push it.

8. When you pick up the menu in a posh restaurant you automatically:

a) look for dishes you have never tried before;

b) look for some dish that even a posh restaurant can't make a mess of;

c) order a drink before looking at the menu.

9. When you have washed your hands in a washroom, and turn round with dripping hands to dry them what you really expect to see is:

a) a serving girl handing you a fresh towel;

b) a roller towel with the end of the towel hanging out;

c) lots of other people with dripping hands looking for some way of drying them.

10. When, while out for a country walk, you spot a sign on the path ahead of you, you just know that it will:

a) tell you something you can do;

b) tell you something you can't do;

c) be comprehensible only to anglers.

11. When I tell you that there will be more of this tomorrow you think:

a) Goody goody!

b) Not for me there won't be, matey;

c) Well, at least there's nothing about Blair or Major in it.