Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Something? Nothing? Now amended

Didn't get this right first time. Changes in red.

Yesterday, on the 9.10 am from Newport to London Paddington a woman had plugged in her laptop and was word-processing furiously. Fiftyish, streaky brass-brown hair tied back carelessly, sharp nose, haggard facial tones, dubious complexion. Garish slit-like glasses (imagine an Alice band that had slipped forward). Gold rings on third finger of both hands. The rest I never noticed or I’ve forgotten.

What caught my eye was her intensity. Her technique was speedy and her lips moved as she spelled out words on the keyboard. Occasionally she referred to a thick, official-looking typed document and then resumed. Too many people merely languish while travelling on trains. She wasn’t languishing and I admired that.

Every time I looked up from my Kindle she was still at it, her lips continuing to shape the words precisely, a gift to even the most modest of lip readers. Though I suspect what she was writing wasn’t as interesting as her sense of application.

As we neared Paddington I was distracted and when I next looked the laptop had been stowed away, glasses off, her hair had been de-secured so that it now bracketed her face, she may even have done a light pass of lipstick. Fine-drawn (one of my mother’s adjectival phrases) and relaxed, she was truly beautiful. Adult beautiful. We went our ways.

PS 1: When typing she was in profile; afterwards, full face. This may explain the transformation.

PS 2: Why was her purposeful state so much more memorable than the revelation she was beautiful?

PS 3: How did I manage to forget those glasses?

Talk is cheap; some talk's cheaper

Sneering at mobile phone users appears to be waning. Perhaps most of us now have mobiles and have discovered that the sentence “I’m on the train” is not inherently funny.

I only experience mass phoning on my rarish trips to see Plutarch at the Blogger’s Retreat in London (as yesterday). And then it’s the quality of what’s said that disturbs me. Clearly it’s time to update Thoreau (“Most men lead lives of unfortunately audible desperation.”) since one can’t help worrying about the homes such utterers return to. TV commercials must come as a great comfort. Is that a sneer? I suppose it is.

The saddest call I ever overheard was of a salesman failing to make a sale. Since I depended on space salesmen to finance the magazines I worked for, I had some sympathy with this troubled fellow. But I would have wished him better selling technique. Too many responses started with “Perhaps if we… “

That’s why it was unexpected, yesterday, to hear the following from a bearded guy across the aisle who laughed delightedly throughout:

“That’s a philosophical question.”
“I’ll put you on the loudspeaker if you aren’t careful.”
“I hope some people ended up with bloody noses.”
“It’s good to hear from you; how are you in yourself?”
“That goes for my wife as well.”
“And didn’t your immediate boss inform him?”

Fill in the Xs and there’s a short story. Alas I have longer fish to fry.