Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mixed messages

Yesterday was a day of misinterpreted messages, when an absence of emails was understood as a reluctance to email, and when the ambiguity of idiomatic English caused distress and heartache.

The confusion continued until around 10.30pm, when I left the Hole in the Wall, an extremely noisy pub next to Waterloo station, and got the train home. A lady, hap a girl, with a delectable western European accent asked me for the newspapers that were on the seat next to me. But I thought she wanted the seat, so snatched the newspapers away saying "No, no, no" (which is what English people say when they mean "Yes, yes, yes"). The man opposite looked at me with loathing, astonished at my selfishness in not sharing the Evening Standard Lite (which is free) and the property section of the Independent (which should be free). I then realised my error, and because I was drunk, decided to rectify the situation and give the newspapers to the lady. But as I neared her seat, cap in hand and tail between legs, the train lurched into Putney and I lurched into the poor woman's lap. "I'm most awfully sorry," I said. "I thought you wanted the seat, not the newspapers, but here they are. I'm leaving now. Good night." She smiled the smile of a foreigner who is eternally grateful not to be English, took the newspapers and bid me au revoir.


Blogger Toller said...

yeah i've sometimes tried that excuse after diving into a woman's lap on the train and then pegging it.
It doesn't fool anyone o penny.

2:04 PM  

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