The Compostual Existentialist

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Comprehension

imagesWhat do you say when you don’t understand someone? “Pardon?”, “What?”, “Please can you repeat that?” or do you grunt non-committedly and hope your vocalisation is interpreted as the appropriate response?
Maybe you contort your face into a half smile, the kind of facial expression that could be interpreted as a smile but can equally be seen as a grimace of pity or sincerity.  Maybe you half close your eyes to disguise your misunderstanding.

Does this happen when you communicate with non-native English speakers or those with particularly strong accents?

How about the written word? Does yous follow coherently the aspects of the authors graphical scribing or do your eyes skip over the page like a troupe of River Dancers?

Sometimes I’m like that. Sometimes it happens like this:

“Hey Stegzy”

“Hey!”

“mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn mrmmrph”

“Sorry?”

“mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn nermrmmrph”

At this point I do the half-smile nod-shake. Often this results in a confused look that I’m quick to detect so I quickly turn the situation round with

“Sorry no, can you say it again a bit slower”

This usually results in an exasperated sigh and either a slower version of “mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn nermrmmrph” or a slightly clear translation.

“My partner. Never eats hot poodle gravel nermrmmrph”

“Oh I see” I’ll say, part guessing what they’re saying or maybe just that the person talking to me is off their rocker. I’ll bluff and hope it goes away. They then say something like

“What do you think of that?”

At this point I’ll panic slightly, unsure of the correct convention to answer by. If I say something like “I totally agree” I might be agreeing to something abhorrent. If I say something like “I don’t agree” I might be coming out as some sort of heartless bastard. Usually I’ll go for the safe “I’m not sure” which makes me out as a non-committal coward but it’s often better that way. Of course there are times when I just admit that I didn’t understand in the first place.

“I’m sorry can you repeat what you said”

“My partner. Never eats hot poodle crumble mixers”

She doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.

 

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Get out of my way

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner child of the urban zoo or maybe it’s because I’m an impatient fucker but sometimes people that dawdle really get me wound up to the point of rudeness. It takes a lot for me to get wound up so much I actually say something. Classic example is when in a queue in a shop and the person holding up the line (traditionally an old woman or something) is just holding up the line for no practical purpose. Or when after waiting for ages to get served at the bar only for the bar person to answer the telephone and have to spend the next 20 minutes looking for the manageress before getting back to serve me (“Oh I’m sorry, pint of what was it?”)

One of the things I noticed about living in Barnsley (and I’ll probably upset a teaspoon of people with this) was how nobody seems to be in a rush to get anywhere. Ok it’s not like your stereotypical Jamaica where everyone is sat round watching the world go by and generally taking their time. But its not far off it. Sometimes this can be really annoying and detrimental to health.

I used to get half an hour for my lunch. This gave me ample time to nip up to Secret Asda for the cash point or to grab a sandwich and get back to work before I’d taken a huge chunk out of my lunch half hour. One day I made errors. The first being “Should I go into Asda buy myself a sandwich, pay for it on my debit card and then get £10 cash back?”. I’m not fond of paying for things under a fiver on my debit card cos the shop gets charged and they hike their prices up or you have to pay a supplemental charge. So instead I opted for the cash machine.

As I drove into the car park I observed a workman making his way to the cash point so I adjusted my parking destination appropriately and calculated accurately the time it would take me to walk from the car to the cash point (allowing for people coming out of the shop) and coincide with the man finishing with the cash machine. Only I must have miscalculated. I got there and the mucky bugger was still there pressing whatever buttons he could. 5 minutes elapsed and I felt my lunch half hour draining away like the fullers earth of time. He was quite a burly stocky man so I kept my mouth shut incase he lamped me one. But I could feel the words “Are you composing a fucking symphony with all them button presses?” forming on my lips and tongue.

Fortunately he moved away and I noticed on the screen the words “Transaction Cancelled”, either the machine was broke or he was just an airhead. I gave him daggers in the back just to make sure he realised I was not pleased with his time wasting but he must of had hard skin or been totally unaware of other people because he didn’t actually look at me or say “Sorry for being a slow fucker” or owt.

Anyway, I gets me money and scurry into the shop. Grab a sandwich (Wiltshire Ham, Vintage Cheddar and Pickle baguette) and made my way to the check out. I had eaten approximately 8 minutes into my lunch half hour. It was then that I espied the queue. Only one checkout was open (it was a small Asda, kind of like Tesco Local or Jacksons by Sainsbury’s or Spa or Circle K or whatever) and it was manned (or womanned) by the elderly shop assistant. The elderly shop assistant is old. That is why she is elderly. The elderly shop assistant takes about 20 seconds per item to scan them into the barcode reader. Something like this:-

*pick up item*
*look at item*
*look for barcode on item*
*Straighten out item*
*look at item over rim of spectacles*
*hold item up to light*
*squint at item*
*look for barcode scanner*
*look for barcode*
*check item again in light*
*Squint at item again*
*swipe barcode on item past scanner*
*check item on display*
*hold up item to light*
*squint at item a third time*
*poke item*
*place item down*
*pick up other item*

This ritual takes place for everything she puts through. Sometimes she’ll even pick things up she’s already scanned and compare the items raised up to the light and all squinty.

Anyway, she had a queue of 3 people and the three people in front must have been doing their monthly shop cos they had shed loads of stuff. I could feel myself getting more and more wound up. Fortunately the next cashier desk opened up but before I could swap queues 2 people nipped in in front of me. That was fine, I thought, because these people only had a couple of packets of biscuits and some milk between them. But no! How wrong could I be? The first person knew the cashier personally and stood gossiping for 2 minutes while labouring to put a carton of milk into a plastic carrier bag. She then asked for a packet of ciggies. Ciggies need to be got from behind the counter that the elderly shop assistant was on but the other shop assistant stepped down from her chair, walked over and picked up the ciggies. I half let out a sigh of relief when the first customer had gone. All the while I’m watching my original queue dwindle.

By this time I’m twitching, my lunch half hour was draining away to a measly lunch quarter of an hour. The second shop assistant swiped the biscuits and the second customer then asks for a “Lucky Dip”. A Lucky Dip is a method for the government to make a shit load of cash by getting the general public to part voluntarily with their hard earned cash for a string of 6 lottery numbers which, as the lottery numbers are preselected a month in advance, won’t come up as winners, but might just give a false impression of hope. The lottery machine is on the same cash desk as the elderly shop assistant who at that moment is scrutinising a packet of Tampax. So shop assistant number two steps down again. Walks over to elderly shop assistants till, does the lucky dip thing and walks back to her cash desk. The elderly shop assistant then presses her bell.

1st Shop Assistant: Ooh Beryl. What code for these ‘ere? (Holding up a bag of mystery fruit)
2nd Shop Assistant: Oooh I don’t know aren’t they under 14?
1st Shop Assistant: I don’t think so they won’t scan right
2nd Shop Assistant: They never scan right those you know. I’m sure they’re under 14.
1st Shop Assistant: Do you think they’re under 14? I thought they were under 14 but they just won’t scan. Do you have a code for them Beryl.

By this time fiery death rays are leaping from my eyes and cutting down anyone who will look at me with fatal consequences. The man by the apples….dead. The kids pinching chocolate from the gondola end….dead and steaming. The innocent man passing the front of the shop window…..dead. The man in front of me….slightly scarred.

Eventually (probably 20 seconds later though it felt like 20 minutes) Beryl returns to the cashier desk.

2nd Shop Assistant: That’ll be £3.24
2nd customer: Can I have 20 Berkley Mentol too please?
stegzy: Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

So Beryl gets down again and gets the cigs from the shelf. Meanwhile I am burning a hole into the back of 2nd customers skull and mentally projecting images of me stamping on his fucking fat face leaving the word “Clarks” impressed across his nose.

Eventually I get served. I part with my cash and have my change counted out to me (twice because “Beryl”, I discovered, has a problem counting). I eventually enjoyed my Lunch 10 minutes.

This whole episode then made me think. Are people actually aware of when people around them are in a rush?


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Noooo

stegzy Hiya, I’m here to swap your monitor for a new one.
Woman looking genuinely shocked and visibly saving everything on her computer’s desktop Oh no…will that mean I will lose everything off my desktop?
stegzy Er…yes…and you will also lose your first born.

Another example of the over paid under skilled further education staff in my work.


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Watching you do what you do

This actually happened. I know because I was there *

Scene – The boardroom of a sinister government department hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Sinister government operative – So we’re now on the next phase of our “constantly track the public’s whereabouts by sinister means” scheme.
Shady government operative – Indeed! We have successfully lulled the public into openly accepting our covert tracking devices
Shifty government operative – Mobile phones with GPS tracking….totally inspired!
Sinister government operative – Muhahahahha yes inspired! More inspired than the covert use of surveillance cameras with face recognition software linked to the Facebook database
Shifty government operative – Yes! But this technology is restrictive, the reception when they are indoors is limited and we cannot find a way for some of the proletariat to willingly accept monitoring devices into their homes.
Sinister Government operative – Ah that is where you are wrong number2. Our top scientists have developed an amazing infra red scanning device which will constantly monitor the interior of most living rooms. We can use this to monitor what people do in their own homes without them knowing.
Shady government operative – We can? Oh good! Pray tell us what this new device is so that we can continue to conduct our sinister global domination plot!
Sinister Government operative – It is quite simple. A device that recognises faces, tracks movement and such like which can be connected to the internet. It shall be marketed as a gaming device and sold to the public to cover the production costs. It shall be called….”KINECT”….and we shall be known as RULERS OF THE WORLD! muhahahahahahaa
All present – Muhahahahahahahah

* ADVISORY NOTE:- This may be outrageous lies


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Terrorism: What to ban

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The scene: A secret governmental office in some seemingly innocuous building in London. Four top executive types sit around a conference table.

Man 1: Right, the department that provide us with our funds are wanting to cut our funding back unless we can prove how valuable and useful we are to the country.

Man 2: Again?

Man 1: Yes again. So what we need to do is highlight the dangers of something…like what we did before.

Man 3: Yes like with the bottled water thing. That proved effective though unpopular with voters and as approval ratings of our existence is wavering on the low side we need to appear to be proactive but not too disruptive to society.

Woman: I get it. Ok, how about getting MI7 to create another terrorist attack?

Man 1: Too costly. We’re still paying the compensation on that one.

Man 2: Could we not create some new figure of focus like Abu Hamsa?

Man 3: That requires international agreement and at the moment we’re not that popular.

Man 1: Indeed, so what we need to do is think of something like with the bottled water thing that makes us look proactive but causes the minimal amount of disruption.

The four look around the room for inspiration…

Woman: Oooh! Ooh! How about pens? A would be terrorist could pack a pen with explosive and then detonate it aboard a plane or ferry.

Man 3: Good one…but still too disruptive. Worth remembering that one though. The airlines would probably be in agreement with that and be able to sell biros during the flight for exorbitant prices….but no…not this time…let me think…

 

The four look around more…

Man 1: How about spectacle cases?

Man 3: Yeah…fewer people carry those…but I don’t think the public would buy it.

 

More looking round and scratching of heads.

There is a knock on the door. The door opens.

Youthful IT dude: Entering room Alright…sorry…I’m from IT. I’ve been asked to change the toner cartridge on the printer in here. Would it be OK for me to do that? I’ll only be a couple of minutes.

All four: With look of universal approval and acceptance. Toner cartridges!

 

And that….is EXACTLY what happened.

I know this…because I was the IT dude *

 

 

 

 

*May be lies


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Fingz I dun two day

This morning I was overjoyed at the prospect that I wouldn’t have to navigate to Rugby having been told on Friday that I should go to LemSpa. On arrival at the Leamington Spa campus I was greeted not by smiles but by glowers and “What the fuck are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in Rugby” said in the tone of “Are you a fucking idiot?” to which I replied “I was told to come here today” in the tone of “If you’re fucking me about I will stab you in the eyes and suck out your liver through your nose”. The resulting response of “You’ll have to go to Rugby” said in the tone of “Not only am I a fuckwit manager but my manager is a bigger fuckwit” received a “You’re fucking joking” (exclaimed in the style of someone not amused in the slightest) which in turn received a “No I’m not” in the tone of someone telling you you’re favourite cat has died in an accident with a blender in a microwave.

So it was Rugby this morning. I said “If I wasn’t so hard up I might be mildly amused” with a look of “Piss me about again and I will eat your children using your legs and arms as cutlery” to the big boss.

Typically in education there are far too many managers. Not only do I have a boss, but I also have a small boss, a big boss and a gargantuan boss all doing their best to ensure that every member of staff is micromanaged to ensure that their jobs are seen as valid. 2 months and counting….

Moreover, today was a case of arse wiping, putting up with teachers who seriously should know better and counting things. Mostly computers. For example:

Gnomepants, Go to room 112 and count how many computers there are, small boss

So I went and counted.

Small boss, There are 19 computers in room 112, Gnomepants

Five minutes passed

Gnomepants, go to rooom 113 and count how many computers there are, Small boss

this carried on for most of the day. Walking to the far reaches of the college to count computers which, I realised, small boss could quite easily have looked up on the asset database herself.

By 2pm I replied

FUCK OFF

My finger hovered over the send button. Unfortunately I slipped and clicked on the delete button instead. FML

Two months to go….