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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Reasons why Fran is using a different bus stop

I've been thinking about tone.

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.

Uh oh.

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







29 comments:

  1. I used to have a GPS that had quite the rude tone. Re-routing, the woman in the GPS said in absolute disgust. She also tried to kill me by insisting I should turn on to a dead-end road (I know she wanted me to keep going off the road and into a tree). She also made me miss an appointment with my dentist, who dropped me because that witch sent me to a fast food place instead of his office. It was not my fault! My current GPS has a woman named Amy who constantly tells me, Turn back! Turn back!

    Amy, I am not going back to my marriage. That ship sailed long ago. He re-married. Besides, he was not nice to me at all. Did you go to school at Trump University, Amy? *sigh*

    If I had a wall, you could sit on it, and I really would bring you a cup of tea.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes, yes! I have heard so many GPS voices that make one feel like poo on a shoe! I love your comments, Janie Junebug. You are so entertaining. Thank you for offering me your non-existent wall. I know the gesture is sincere. x

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    2. Thank you for saying I'm entertaining. My children don't find me entertaining in the least, and my ex-husband didn't find me . . . couldn't find me so he could come home. Somehow he ended up at other women's houses and in casinos.

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  2. There are far too many walls in this world but....if you have one....share it please.

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    1. Too right! Next time I see her I will tell you said this ... then run.

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  3. Haha! Loved this. It's like the Dr who always says 'Could you pop yourself on the bed please?' WHAT?! Do I look as though I'm up for popping? HEAVE more like. Sarcastic so-and-so.You have a knack of making everyday life so very interesting...

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    1. Yes, there's a lot of popping up and popping on and popping your clothes off and popping into the cubicles in hospitals and GP surgeries. It's all part of the drive to psychologically reduce one to a statistic, a body on an X-ray machine or a leg without a person attached.

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  4. Replies
    1. I have the matching bra and pants but I'm sure you'll understand why I haven't posted that picture.

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  5. I never understand the "No turning" signs in driveways. Why not? And this is even more perplexing. What possible harm could you be doing to her wall?? As with the no turning instruction (when I occasionally execute a completely unnecessary turn just the hell of it) it would make me want to sit on that wall all morning, bring a flask and a magazine perhaps.

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    1. A flask and a magazine ... brilliant idea. Then I can say, 'No thanks. I've brought my own.'

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  6. .. I have no problem with people sitting on my fence....
    I don't have a front fence....
    I wish I did!!
    ... but the fence had to go so the car could have a home off the street.
    I had a low brick wall built along the edge of the front veranda but it's hidden from the street by our May bush hedge... I love my wall... it's just for me to put my feet up on and enjoy..

    My mother is a master (or is that mistress) of 'the tone'... she can say 'right Barbara' and straight away I'm 5 years old and dismissed ... drives me nuts... xxxxxx I'm 74 and Mum will be 100 in 3 months time so I try and ignore the tone and smile xxxx

    I hope your next bus stop has a friendly fence.. xxxx
    ... Barb xxx

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    1. Your mum is 100 soon? Well done, her! That's a lot of years of 'right, Barbara-ing'!

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    2. .. hahaha... true... Mum has lived with hubby and me for 8 years now and all I do for her is her washing and the evening meal.. she is so independent and capable it's amazing .. she does use a walker... we're giving her a big party for her birthday in early January... xxxx Barb xxx

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    3. Wow. She sounds wonderful. As do you!

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  7. If that was my fence, you'd be welcome to sit as long as you liked. Just don't fall asleep and fall off.

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    1. If I were sitting on a fence, I suspect that would be uncomfortable enough to stop me falling asleep. However, these days, I can't be totally certain ... if it's nap time, it's nap time, and nothing stops me.

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  8. The woman with the wall ? I think I went to school with her .

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  9. You might have suggested that prunes for breakfast could improve her disposition.

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    Replies
    1. I might have done. But I'm only 54 and I don't want to die yet.

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  10. There is a wall in our village with spikes set in. I imagine it could be sit-on-able if just perching on the edge.
    The idea of bringing your own flak of tea made me giggle - you could offer the woman a cup.

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    1. Spikes? Is it by a bus stop?

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    2. no but near the sea front so no sitting to look at the view.

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  11. I am amazed. What a horrible person. We do have a wall but no bus stop; however, you're welcome to come and sit on our wall nevertheless. (You might have to bring a step, depending on how good you are at jumping up backwards to sit on walls higher than your bottom. I am, of course, making assumptions about the height of your bottom.) I wonder if you could persuade the council to erect a bus shelter right outside her house? A really big one, with graffiti. I bet that would annoy her...

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    1. Jumping up backwards? This is ME you're talking to!!

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    2. Well, I couldn't do it but you're a lot younger than I am. You'd have to be quite accurate too: the wall is quite narrow, not allowing much room for mistakes. If you overshot, however, you'd just fall on the flower bed under the tree, where it's difficult to get much to grow, so it's just forget-me-not and geraniums mainly: quite a soft landing. Alternatively you could come into the house, sit on the sofa and I'd make you a nice cup of tea. That might be better.

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    3. The second option sounds more my kind of pace ...

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