Windows 10 just said to me, 'Your battery is nearly out of power. You might want to plug in your laptop.'
Sarcasm? From a computer program? Do I have to take this?
It reminded me that, in London, on South West Train services, there's a sneery woman's voice on the tannoy which admonishes the passengers thus: 'Please remember to take all your personal items with you.' The 'please' comes out as a sigh, as though what she really wants to say is, 'You are basically uneducated, irresponsible scum, all you passengers, and if it were up to me, we'd lock all the doors from the outside and let you rot amidst your scabby rucksacks, laptop cases and handbags.'
Another thing. I was standing at a bus stop one morning recently, awaiting a bus into Leamington. The bus stop is right by someone's garden wall and it was a humid day. My ankles were swelling up as though wanting to occupy the whole of Warwickshire by teatime. So I perched on the wall. It's not fair to let one's ankles dominate that way. Other ankles deserve a chance.
The front door of the house opened and a prim woman in her sixties came out, wearing an apron. I guessed she wasn't heading for the shops. Instead, she headed for me.
'Good morning,' she said.
I was reassured. She was being friendly, surely, even though 'Good morning' seemed a tad formal. I gave a little wave of acknowledgement and put my weary middle-aged face on. I thought she might say, 'Hot, isn't it?' and wipe her own brow, then I could say, 'Yes, I hope you don't mind me resting on your wall,' so that she could then say, 'No, of course. Who wants to stand in this weather?'
But she hadn't read my script.
'Would you like me to bring you out a cup of tea while you sit on my wall?' she said.
It's all about the tone, isn't it? She said it completely deadpan with not a hint of spite and yet I knew that if I'd said, 'Ooh, yes please, one sweetener and only a dash of milk' she'd have launched at me with a bread knife, dispatched me to the next life and buried me in a shallow grave without displacing her shampoo and set.
'Sorry,' I said, and stood up. My ankles cried 'Wahey!' and prepared to resume their domination of the county.
The woman sniffed, then lifted up her chin and let it lead her back into the house.
They've been cutting down the bus services recently due to lack of passengers. Next time I go past her garden, I will look to see whether the level of the soil has risen.
Perhaps she'd like a job with South West Trains. Or Windows 10.
Or the Mafia.
|Fran was having to find an alternative to socks|