Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lookin' Out My Back Door



Two heartless traffic wardens prepare ‘Welcome to our town!’ parking tickets for three poor visitors whose only crime was to park on a ridiculous yellow line while visiting their elderly relatives in the nursing home opposite. Meanwhile, another driver is forced into a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre because some idiot with flashing lights has parked on the bend.

Well, that was my immediate reading of the situation as I stepped out onto our balcony earlier this week. Bastards! ... Poor sods! ... Haven’t they got anything better to do? ... And look where they parked their own car, for heaven’s sake! ... Incandescent with rage, I rushed off a couple of photos on my trusty mobile, while simultaneously preparing my indignant letter to the local newspaper. These people needed to be taught a lesson!

Needless to say, that letter never made it to print for various reasons: I still hadn’t made the dinner; I calmed down in the meantime; I could no longer be bothered; I am, despite appearances, a lazy sod; I already have enough enemies in the town hall; and, last but not least, Mother Mary Miguel Ruiz came to me, whispering words of wisdom: “Don’t Make Assumptions” (The Four Agreements, 1997). Personally, I suspect Don Miguel nicked this idea from that classic Guardian  “Points of View” ad:


Oh dear, there I go again making those terrible assumptions! What ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Had it never occurred to me that these noble officers of the law were simply obeying orders from above? Did I seriously think that they got some kind of perverted pleasure from persecuting their fellow citizens? Yes, I did, as a matter of fact, but could I actually prove this? And what about the drivers? Could I state categorically that they were visiting their nearest and dearest, as opposed to having a quick pint down the road?  (The jury is still out on this one.) Besides, why couldn’t they park like everybody else on the estate?



Be that as it may, I’m sticking with my “heartless traffic wardens” theory; not least because that sodding yellow line has resulted in thousands of euros in compulsory donations to our local Policemen’s Ball fund. Bastards. Not that I would ever wish harm on anyone, you understand J.

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‘Excuse me, I’m looking for the men’s.’

‘Well, good luck, mate.’

Another mistake. Never ask a smiling person for directions: they are only there to take the piss.

‘Thank you. Could you tell me where it is, please?’

‘Where what is?’

‘The men’s.’

‘The men’s what?’

‘The men’s toilet, of course.’

‘Oh, why didn’t you say so?’

‘Well, I would have thought it was obvious.’

‘Well, you’d be wrong. Never assume because when you assume, you make—’

‘An “ass” out of “u” and “me”. Yes, I’ve heard it.’

‘Well, actually, clever clogs, I was going to say, “You make an ‘as’ out of ‘sum’ and ‘e’.” ’

‘That doesn’t make sense.’

‘It does to me. Now, where was I?’

‘You were going to tell me where the men’s is.’

‘Ah yes, that’s right. So if somebody asks me where the butcher’s is, I don’t immediately assume that they want the butcher’s toilet, do I? In fact, it’s far more likely that they want the butcher’s shop, isn’t it? Ditto baker’s, greengrocer’s and fishmonger’s. It’s what they call “ellipsis”, I believe.’

dayrealing, chapter 3, “Don’t Stop”

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