A friend said once, “Only you could make a simple shopping expedition sound like a tale of derring do and adventure.” It sounds like a compliment but was probably another way of saying I prattle.
In town today, looking at a super-shiny PC laptop in Currys:
Mum: you could get this as a kind of backup.
Me (not sucked in): hmm.
Mum: on the other hand, as it’s a laptop you would probably take it to bed with you. So we better not.
Me: “I wouldn’t! I don’t do that with the Mac.”
It struck me afterwards (it’s always afterwards) that I managed to rattle it off the way I described in Yam Artiklit… “Idoont do that wivver mak!”
Later on we were in Argos. “Look, there’s an iMac in here,” I said, pointing at the catalogue. “Where?” asked Mum, surprised. “There… but it’s just the smallest one. I would need to go at least one step up.”
Mum read out loud: “20 inch screen.”
“Ah,” I said, “but it only has one gigagigagigabyte memory.”
I’m always doing that. Once I begin a word like that, I can never stop, and it’s machine-gun fast.
I… must… slow… down.
I don’t think my best friend at university was much inspiration to change; I remember her as a speed-speaker. I complained to the speech therapist that she had me reading things out slower than most people actually talk, and she said essentially I had to learn to walk before I could run. It makes me think of a funny cartoon strip featured by Thomas… I’m not that good at ‘learning to walk’ if I find it too tedious or am used to doing things a different way…. I’m too set in my usual routine.
But I’m rambling… the real story was our going shopping. (!)
I think I can tell Grandad I’ve discovered where the internet crowd have vanished to… they’re all in Costa, drinking coffee and dangling babies on their knees. I wondered why there seemed to be so many more babies than usual, then noticed a sign next to the loo: ‘baby changing facilities’. I thought that explained it till I realized they were all over the place in town as well… prams, pushchairs, toddlers, some of them running around the library. Is this normal and did I tune them out before? Is there some reason why…? Is there some sort of baby conference going on in the area? Or is it just that town is full of holidaymakers out with their children? There seemed to be a higher proportion of them than usual, but maybe Mum knows what is going on; she’s more ‘on the ball’ in social matters than I am. A year or two ago I said “it’s so busy this weekend; last weekend the town centre was echoing and empty!” And she said something like “oh, it’s the (Big City) Holiday… they all come over here from over there.”
Maybe it was the same thing today. I didn’t make a note of it in my calendar.
In Costa I had to bag a table, so I went to the back and looked around, and the only tables left were little round ones in the middle with two chairs each. My sister was meeting us, so we needed at least three chairs. I was a bit stuck and looked around, and met the eye of a guy in his 30s or 40s who was sitting at one of the big tables… he had four chairs and was all on his own, spreading out his newspaper.
I’ve noticed people doing that before, and I can’t believe their lack of forethought and consideration. Geez.
I chose one of the small tables in the middle (normally I loathe them with a passion because my agoraphobia makes it hard to sit out in more exposed areas!) but I’ve not been bothered by it so much recently… also it seemed to be the table closest to other tables which meant some people had vacant chairs in the vicinity which we could nab.
I think it’s interesting that it’s not just me who doesn’t like the tables in the middle of the room – I’ve observed in all sorts of places that they’re always the last to be taken. I remember a meeting at work where everybody was expected to stand in a ring to hear a director announcing unpleasant news. Everybody who came in tried to duck behind the people already there, though the people already there were standing back, expecting the others to go out in front. It wasn’t just me who didn’t want to; nobody wanted to. There must be some kind of deep-rooted instinct that says to get our backs against a wall.
Mum used to say the reason I didn’t like to be out in the middle of a pedestrian precinct (rather than walking closer to the shops) was that my ancestors had left me with an ancient fear that a dragon would swoop from the sky… those people who were out in the open, furthest from sanctuary, would be its main targets.
There is danger in the shadows too. I often see articles about falling masonry in old towns and cities. I have a long-standing joke with a cat client about it; she was going on one of her frequent trips and I said “look out for falling masonry,” and now it’s mentioned every time she goes away and again when she comes back. One time she had gone away, and it was a particularly windy day, I had to go out and walk the dog. I was late leaving the house as I was involved in sorting out something blog-related on the computer, and when I got out there, there was a heap of rubble on our steps. A roof tile had come down. I calculated that it had come down at some point during the previous couple of hours, possibly around the time I would normally be heading out to walk the dog. Mum said she heard a crash but didn’t know what it was.
So it was lucky for my cat client that her petsitter didn’t get hit by falling masonry! That would have been too ironic. Gah. And I suppose there’s still time yet.
Today Mum insisted on diving into butchers and bakers and other such places, leaving me standing outside with the shopping trolleys, and at one point I looked up uneasily just to make sure there wasn’t some malignant gargoyle in the process of leaping off its ledge…
I don’t think I’m paranoid, but I’m convinced accidents are all around us waiting to happen. You don’t go out in the morning thinking “maybe I’ll be hit by a random brick,” but it happens.
My sister said one of her PC-aholic friends bought an iMac the other day to see what all the fuss is about. I asked if he liked it, and she said “very much. He’s keeping his PC as well, but only because he can’t afford another copy of Photoshop… and it has a top-notch monitor.”
Oh, I said, thinking about my own PC at home, with a little but heavy 17″ CRT monitor… the kind cats love to sit on so they can dangle their tails between you and your work/blog/fractals. There’s no Photoshop on my PC, but there’s an old copy of Paintshop Pro. It only has 128 megamegamegabytes of RAM, and takes hours to render fractals or 3D pictures. The original hard drive failed a while ago and it has a new one (larger even than the Mac’s hard drive) but it is still not well… it refuses to turn itself off. And if you force the issue by turning it off at the mains, it refuses to come on again the next morning.
I was going to hang onto my old PC when I get a new computer, for Windows XP. But I’m not sure it’s such a good idea really. To my sister I said “I don’t suppose your friend would swop PCs…”
Of course not! But there was no harm in trying. Sigh.
When we got home, there was a little excitement mixed with bad news; my agents visited my house and say the tenants are keeping it in good nick. They are very happy with it and want to renew their lease, but mentioned there seems to be a bit of damp and it should probably be looked at. Will cost £50 to get someone out to inspect it, and who knows what they will find… I shouldn’t be staring through shop windows at computers just yet. I better put that plan on the back burner for a bit. Again. (Or maybe I’ll get a cheap PC to tide me over as I’m really edgy about this one here).
Time for coffee now… actually, looking at the clock, it’s a bit later than I thought; I don’t know how long this post will stretch down the screen once I’ve published it! Here’s hoping you all stay safe… please keep an eye out for falling masonry.