Recently it has occurred to me, once again, that not all people on earth are Engineers. I don’t use the term Engineer to reference some educational standard but rather the way of thinking. I know some of you will dismiss this, but I assure you that it’s true, there are genuinely actual people out there who don’t see the world like we do, crazy eh? There are people who don’t get a hidden internal grin when they see a problem, that don’t have that unshakeable confidence that any problem can be beaten.
When the car doesn’t start some people’s first thoughts are how they will complete their journey or who they will call. Of course we all know the correct thing to do is to think through the starter circuit to ascertain where the fault lies. Now it has been said that my mindset may explain why I am single and occasionally have to be physically dragged out of tool stores, maybe it’s true. Perhaps an affinity with the physical world is the corollary of having no such affinity with people, if this is true then it’s by no means a bad deal. Think about it, how many times will the rest of you give up in the face of an mcb that won’t hold, a leak that can’t be seen or a bolt that just won’t undo? I would suggest that physical problems happen way more than emotional success so you have your thing and I will stick with mine.
Next up we have some seaside humour, I guess it’s not unique to the coast but that is where I saw it. First we have the romantic young couple strolling along the promenade. Well we’re heading into winter and the young lady had tired of walking so she playfully clung to her partners neck, doubtless asking to be carried. Our young beau was certainly up for the opportunity to demonstrate his physical prowess but made a poor choice in technique, clearly not an Engineer. Turning his young lady so that she was facing him he bent to his knee and proceeded to throw her over his shoulder, now two words are key here ‘throw’ and ‘over’. The young lady dived perfectly, head first into the pavement I would have given her an eight for style if I had a scorecard and wasn’t more than a little concerned for her wellbeing!
The lad was a legend, first his shoulders raised as his mind told him that he had hidden strength hence couldn’t feel his burden. Then reality slowly dawned on him, accelerated doubtless by the scream of pain, and I swear I watched his plan for a ‘physical’ evening drain through the features of his face. It would look odd if I randomly videoed people outside of my apartment but at times like this I think it would be worth it!
The second story is one of dog walking, a lady and her small dog on the beach in fact. The lady had one of those seemingly obligatory ball on a stick arrangements and the dog seemed reasonably happy to retrieve the ball for her. The problem was that the woman’s aim was far from Olympic standard and inevitably the ball made it into the sea. The dog tracked the ball as far as the water and then clearly concluded that a £1 ball was not worth a dunk in the North Sea in November and left it there. Sadly his companion was not so bright, she ploughed in to retrieve the ball soaking herself in the process. I watched her retrieve the ball from the ocean a further three times with the dog obligingly retrieving the throws that made the beach. It took all of my self-restraint not to head to the beach, take the throwing stick thing and give it to the dog since she seemed to be enjoying retrieving the bloody ball so much. I can just imagine the dog getting home and talking to the cat “I tired her right out fetching that ball, she will sleep well tonight”
I have some more, recent, “you know when you’re ….. when…..” examples to share with you today. The first was when I awoke to a news article and the presenter was saying “later on we will be speaking to a games industry expert” I honestly wondered what he wants to be when he grows up. As I walked back past the TV I was fully expecting to see a scruffy schoolboy and not the adult who was being interviewed. Having considered that this was a moment of ‘you know when you’re old when’ I consoled myself with the fact that he was obese so at least one of my assumptions was correct.
Checking in at the hotel I walked into some of the management and this gave another example. Having exchanged pleasantries I was told “we have to arrange drinks soon so that you can meet the new GM General Manager)”.That has to be an example of ‘you know when you have been in a hotel too long’. The manager that I spoke to mentionioned that a lot of our team has now moved on and she was eager to ‘replace us’. I wondered off wondering if she really did think that we could just rustle up a few hundred room nights for the benefit of the hotel. Do they think that we are like lemmings, you lose some so you breed some more? I shall have to explain to her that we are a unique and rare breed and simply irreplaceable.
In other observations it is funny how the licensed trade is so insidious in one’s life, but at the same time comforting. I got out of the shower last night to find the tail end of a soap opera playing on the TV. In the soap someone was standing gloomily in a pub cellar and I noticed that behind him, close to the cellar door, were cards of peanuts. The thing that caught my eye was that there were packets missing from both cards indicating that they were in retail use. The bar in this soap is open enough to allow the cards to be displayed and the cellar location is such that having the snacks just inside the door would make no sense. The thing is that I don’t particularly watch soaps and I certainly have no interest in them, but I sat and contemplated this for a few minutes as if it was important.
My conclusion was, of course, that this is simply a trade-off for the purpose of television. In real life the bar is the sales space that attracts a premium and its use is maximised. But in the world of television this would present a cluttered and confusing back drop and detract from the characters. So I guess I must congratulate the continuity experts for ensuring that peanuts were presented for sale somewhere. To all the directors out there, remember we are checking, well I am anyway.
I think that the darker mornings have helped to develop another aspect of my aspirations plans. I have often pondered adapting to a static rural life from the frantic city/country/continent hopping that my life so often involves. I live in a place where many people rarely get as far as the next big town; the Isle has many more of the same. My morning walk through the dark city, the air heavy with diesel from the station, is comfortable and routine. I am at home in the sprawling manufacturing complex that is my office and the myriad interchanges of the metros of so many countries are second nature. The intention is to settle into a small village environment and the licensed trade ensures that I will rarely leave. In time there will be holidays but not the exploratory last-minute visits to unfamiliar countries and strange cities.
Will I miss the world that I currently inhabit, yes I probably will. But I am looking forward to cities being memories and to the quirks of local life. The thing that keeps me going, despite the soul-destroying delays and lack of progression, is the thought that carries me along the dark morning walks. I will consider that I have moved forwards when a visit to ‘serious shops’ ends standing on the gangplank at Portsmouth and boarding the cat to get back home. It may only be the first step but when all of my return tickets end on the Isle and when a trip to a big town involves crossing water then I will know that I am on the right path.
Heading off on the train today reminded me of a story that I haven’t shared, I do apologise for the delay.
A couple of weeks ago I headed off on the Monday trip to work. The ticket office was open but there was no sign of the clerk. An elderly lady informed me that he was “looking for a cat”, although I must say this didn’t make a great deal of sense. Sure enough though I spotted the missing clerk in the car park with a small bowl.
When he eventually returned he advised me that his friend from home had told hem that he had lost his cat. The kindly clerk had taken it upon himself to go on the hunt. Now because I don’t inhabit a normal world the story doesn’t end here, well it wouldn’t would it. As regular readers will recall the local ticket clerk is a chatty young man and he continued with his story.
Apparently he had been on his way to work when the friend had called him to advise his predicament. It wasn’t a particularly good line so he wasn’t sure if he was looking for a black cat or a white cat with black patches. For most of us this would be fundamental but not to our intrepid clerk who “thought I would look anyway”. And so, armed with a bowl of water, our man went cat hunting. Apparently he had found a cat when I approached the station but “when I got close it ran off”. Bearing in mind the bowl of water it was probably spooked by the prospect of an enforced bath!
I purchased my ticket and departed, leaving him considering methods for capturing the errant cat. I remain convinced that if he had captured a white cat and then seen a black one he would have snared that to. I envisaged him returning to his friend like some sort of pied piper with a selection of local cats. The key to the tale of course is in the last line, local cats.
The ticket clerk lives 15 miles away and comes to work on the train. There was no feasible way that a cat that he doesn’t know would have made the journey. To any cats that were disturbed on this particular day I offer an apology and the traditional words ‘heart of gold but one can short of a six-pack’.
To keep with the theme I share news reports from local lad Steve. Last Sunday Steve spent the evening with a lady, fair play to the lad. There is somewhat of an issue with the experience though and he is now reliant upon the community to assist. Steve is not the world’s greatest drinker, he likes beer but the delta between sober and collapse is somewhat smaller for him than it is for many.
Steve fell into that classic male trap of drinking like there is no tomorrow. The inebriated couple returned to his place, continued to party and she spent the night. The lady had an early appointment on Monday and sadly Steve was in no state to provide breakfast. So now our Steve is reliant upon the locals to point the lady out to him, he genuinely has no idea what she looks like.