Show Me the Way to Amarillo (or Norwich even)

Following on from my last post, I am increasingly more flummoxed by local changes. my new phrases are ‘since when did…’ ‘what IS that’, and I am still at the gawping stage when out. a chance meeting with a deranged nanny announcing to me she had been accused of hitting her charges, did little to dispel fears of a crumbling new society- but nothing a few nights of emergency whale music didn’t sort.

today I was introduced to the concept of the yellow painted grid on roads. I had no idea why this simple square should terrify my driving friend so greatly, ¬†and told her to ‘drive over it, do itttt!’ she looked at me with consternation and horror. ‘my picture will get sent to the police, there are cameras around!’

I asked what on earth (polite version) with all this Orwellian stuff now, why on earth couldn’t she simply turn right like a normal person. she shook her head sadly and my mother snorted with disbelief at another example of my ignorance.

during this enforced detour, we passed what looked like strange phone booths, but were actually cash points. standing alone, in a peculiar looking island.

‘since when did they…’

‘shut UP!!’ mother and friend chorused.

on relating this to my partner, he assured me that the progress of this kind was far slower in Norwich, where he comes from. one day I would like to take up residence there. but how the heck am I going to ready myself to be the ideal modern citizen, this is going to be a long old haul. what if I embarrass him with some sort of modern day faux pas, the self-scan debacles were shaming enough. ‘don’t lift the bag off the thing yet- too late!!’

common or garden exchanges with people are still a bit on the 1950s BBC newsreader side, just in case my previous ‘net-ness’ inexplicably shows through (lots of lols, abbreviations and the like.)

why this should do I have no idea, but it’s led me to speak with exaggerated diction to compensate. ‘he-llooow.’ ‘how ARE you?’ ‘fanTASTic.’ I sound like a prat. but I have not yet found a happy medium between that and the online grunting vocal extension, so it’s a bit of a mishmash. remembering to smile is tricky, so I beam a bit too much in order to reassure others that I come in peace. this is either met with suspicion or reciprocated beaming, but I look forward to the time when all this stuff comes naturally again:)

 

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To boldly go in curvy cars… a homage to the great outdoors and Terry Wogan

Year: 2008. month: March. Heathrow Terminal 5 opens, and Prince Philip is cleared of all suggestion of ordering Diana’s death. meanwhile I am mooching around in internet cafes, faffing around on MySpace listening to Coldplay and laughing at the word ‘dongle’.

Fast forward to 2014, and I greet you as a product of the Internet, which was my window to the outside world for 6 years- and also contributed to my development as a human (Terry Wogan also played a part, but that’s between me and him).

When I say ‘development’, if you are internet dependent then it’s sort of like being a genetically modified burger. you look like a person, you sound like a person, but you only have one facet. a bit more than a bot, a bit less than an actual being. (I should just add here that I am not typing this newly released from prison, nor am I in a bunker awaiting a zombie apocalypse! no sinister reasons, just health related. I’ll go with the zombie reason though for this purpose as it’s more fun.)

I got a laptop, I bunkered down, and I realised that any present day knowledge soon runs out when you are out of the game. that’s when I knew I had to think laterally and observe, learn, and note down every little snippet of outside info I could. each time someone talked about their lives, their likes, what they did, their experiences, it all helped build up a picture of how society was progressing.

For the most part I could wing it, there were the odd occasions where I got puzzled responses though. ‘eh?! how do you not know that, everyone’s known it for ages. you been living on the moon?’

Now happily I am emerging, and marvelling at how very much things have changed- one stand out moment was looking out of the window, and suddenly realising how hardly any car had angular lines any more. I said this to my partner who looked amazed and said ‘they’ve been like that for ages!’ it came to me, that I hadn’t noticed. I wondered what else I hadn’t noticed, and resolved to find out.

Generally, things are a hell of a lot sleeker, cleaner, and outwardly sophisticated. self-scan tills, massive computer screens at the doctor’s, jazzy lighting, LED type lights on buses, I don’t have the words to explain the whole caboodle but the overall impression was one of ‘well blow me down, this is a bit flash’.

and the people.. on one hand healthier, jogging all the time, more smartly turned out.. on the other, exactly the same. having had only the Internet snapshot of people for so long, bar a few people close to me, I pretty much expected real life people to be like that. sort of walking along the street trolling each other and shouting yolo a lot. much as I had ‘met’ a lot of wonderful net folk- like anyone I’d also run into a large percentage of tossers too. so this had left me warily eyeing poor folk offline in case they were suddenly fancying a verbal skirmish!

I’m still in the stage of touching things a lot. trees, flowers, walls, I delight in the different sensations. no screen image of a beautiful location can ever beat feeling up a daffodil in Tooting, or running my hand over a rock that isn’t in my garden. I sniff the air and when not wrinkling it at the many rather dodgy local scents, think ‘yolo, maybe they were right’:)