Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I'm still mulling last night's conversation.

Walking home from Guides, I am approached by a woman clutching an armful of plastic bags, dressed like my Grandmother but with the unusual addition of a large purple nose ring and an assortment of other facial piercings. She asks me if she could use the telephone in the church or else the internet at the Vicarage. I offer my phone for her to make a phone call, and go to unlock it. "It's OK; my parents were journalists and I'm a classicist and a medievalist, I know how these things work."

I'm still pondering the relevance of classics and medieval studies to the mechanics of an iPhone.

And then we stand, as, instead of making the quick phone call I'd expected, she proceeds to send a series of emails. She hands me titbits of information "I'm meeting a friend for dinner and I need to make contact with her." I ask for the address, with the aim of posting her in the right direction. "Oh, no, it's fine, she lives in Abingdon. I was relying on her unusual name in order to find her." Perhaps Abingdon is a little larger than she was expecting? No, apparently she has lived in London so finding someone in a little place like this should be easy.

It's cold. I shiver, I wonder what my babysitter is thinking of my late return. I reason that I appear to have this woman's life laid out in the plastic bags at my feet, and that she is therefore unlikely to run off with my phone. She would in any case be hampered by the large men's boots she is wearing.

"I have written 30,000 word essays and had to do an individual word count for them, I can find my friend's house" is the next conversational snippet thrown my way. I suggest a street name might help, but no, apparently finding her without the address will be much easier than writing a lengthy essay on Sigurd Someoneorother.

She asks me if I enjoy being a Vicar. I check myself swiftly; no dog collar, no hassock, and I really don't think I look like a Tim. I explain that I am in fact a Guider, and have just finished Guides. She informs me she used to enjoy Guides, and that's why she came prepared for this expedition with many bags and lots of layers and sensible shoes. I wonder if perhaps a phone number or address might have been a more sensible preparation, but thankfully she then informs me she has "made contact" and a car will be coming shortly.

I take my phone back, take my chattery teeth home and apologise to the babysitter.

This morning, still enjoying my meeting with one of life's eccentrics, I heave Little Fish into the shower. I hose her down, and then go to dry her. At which point she informs me she is no longer Little Fish, but instead "I am a talking towel that eats your children."

It's life, Jim, but not as I knew it.

1 comment:

You mean there's more??? said...

The student has gotten used to being a magnet for eccentrics....


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