Doing the Two Step

You are all familiar with the Corridor Two Step?

You know – that dance when two people try to pass in opposite directions in a corridor or passageway?  Facing each other, you both step one way and then the other way while smiling apologetically, until you or the other flattens themselves against the wall and says "for fuck's sake, GO!".

There is a modern version of this and it involves mobile phones.

It happens to me quite a lot, and it happened again this morning.

I checked my phone and realised that as usual it had died the death through lack of battery.  I switched it on with the intention of charging at and it asked me for my security number.  In the middle of prodding the screen it died the death again.  I plugged it in and switched it on once more.  It lit up all right and made its irritating noises but the little card wasn't activated and there was no way to reenter the security code,  I had to switch it off and on again which is a pain in the arse and typical of the useless piece of shit.  God only knows why I bought the fucking thing in the first place.

Anyhows, none of that has anything to do with the Mobile Phone Two Step.

That started when my phone warmed up and informed me I had missed a call.  It showed the number and told me I could return the call if I pressed "Dial".  The only snag is that my phone doesn't have a "Dial" button – it just has a little icon that I have to repeatedly thump, but the icon wasn't on that screen, and if I went to the screen that had "Dial" I would lose the number.  I wrote the number down.

I dialed the number.  There was no reply so I disconnected.

A short while later the phone rang so I answered it.

"Hello!" said the voice, "You rang me?".

"No I didn't." I replied "You rang me."

"I know I did but you rang me before that."

"Ah!  So I did" I replied.  "That was because I was returning your call, after you rang me."

This was beginning to confuse even me.  I decided it was time for the "for fuck's sake GO!" moment.  I explained how he had phoned and I had missed the call.  I had then phoned him and he had missed the call and that he was now ringing me to find out why I was ringing him to find out what he had being ringing me for in the first place.  This didn't really help as it confused me even further, and God knows what he was thinking.  We decided that it was all a mistake and one of us at some stage had dialed a wrong number [but it definitely wasn’t me].  There are times when it is better to cut one's losses.

Now none of this would have happened if it wasn't for that little display telling me I had missed a call.  If it's so fucking smart why can't it recognise a wrong number and ignore it?  That's the trouble with these fucking so called "smart" phones – they try to be smart but they aren't really smart enough.

None of that would have happened with a good old fashioned bakelite phone with only a dial on the front.

Bakelite phone

Dear Gran Dad

I receive my fair share of junk mail.

I suppose I should qualify that – I can only assume I receive as much or as little junk mail as anyone else, seeing as I don't know how much junk mail they get.

I have all sorts of little filters, traps and minefields set so they don't really bother me.  What does bother me is that occasionally a genuine mail gets tripped up and goes in the wrong place, so I have to check my Junk, Spam and Deleted folders from time to time.

There was one in there that intrigued me.  For a start it was addresses to Dear Gran Dad, which presumably means it is directly addressed to me.  What they may not realise is that I am neither hyphenated nor have I a split personality, so addressing me in such a manner gets them off on the wrong foot from the outset.

It was the text of the message that caught my eye though.

Good job of course and watched. Hope she called you feel.
Well with madison struggled to calm himself. Lauren moved past him smile.

from thinking about.
Brian looked over what are coming.
Onto her way past madison. Please god had given him very happy. Sara and saw his mouth. By judith bronte izzy laughed. Just glad to see her laptop.
Mommy and kept turning the bathroom.
Sara and held out over. Closing the question was what. Madison wondered how jake took maddie. What this is will terry. Where are we still there. When they needed more than this.
Without being so hard and prayed.

Now I am delighted to read that Judith found her laptop again, but this begs the question as to why it was missing in the first place.  Did Brian swipe it?  Is Lauren the petty thief?  I have my suspicions about Madison as he [or she] seems to crop up quite a bit?

And why did Mommy keep turning the bathroom?

So many questions; so few answers.  What's more I have a terrible feeling I'm not going to hear the end of this saga.  They get me on tenterhooks and then drop me mid-sentence?  That's not good enough.

And who the fuck wrote it?  Celia Ahern?  She signed herself Jenine Paulin but I think I recogonise Celia's style when I see it.  Can't fool me.

It has almost given me the urge to go back to novel writing myself.

Loud jumpers

I hadn't heard of this "12 pubs" thing before.

I hear tell it's a thing where people dress up in "festive" sweaters and then do a pub-crawl through twelve pubs?

I suppose I haven't heard of it before because they would be very hard pressed to do that in this area, as you would have to travel miles to even find twelve pubs.

The Righteous are naturally up in arms over this practice, and for once I am entirely in agreement with them.  It is an obnoxious practice and should be smothered in its infancy.  If people want to go on a twelve pub pub-crawl then that is fine by me but those sweaters are an abomination and an assault on the eyes of the beholder and the intelligence of the wearer.  They definitely should be banned.

One interesting thing is the quote from the pub owner who said "We can’t legally say ‘no, we’re not letting them in — outright’".  You see, to ban them outright would be discrimination.  A pub owner can't ban anyone from entering the premises on the grounds of race, colour, creed or even loudness of sweater.  I presume in law if the Union of Suicide Bombers wants to hold a convention in a pub, then the pub owner can't refuse?  Yet there is one class of person he can refuse, and in fact has to refuse in law and that's the smoker.

We are officially classed as a lower order than the scum off the street, the lowest of the low life and the wearers of festive sweaters.

It's a crazy world.

Festive earache

The following should be consigned to the pits of hell –

That fucking Bing Crosby song.  He can dream all he likes about fucking snow but not in public.  He's a depressing singer at the best of times but that crooning White Christmas shite drives me demented.

Slade.  Who the fuck wants it to be Christmas every day?  Only a fucking moron would want an endless stream of commercialism and tacky bonhomie.  For some unfathomable reason it seems to have been adopted as a sort of festive anthem.  Any shop that plays it is guaranteed to lose my custom for at least six months.

Band Aid – both fucking versions.  It was bad enough the first time but to drag it up again just so Geldof can ease his somewhat overworked conscience is too much.  In fact it would probably be easier to just ban Geldof.

In fact any fucking "music" that mentions the words "Christmas", "Santa" or "Sleigh bells" is a fucking abomination and should be banned for the sake of sanity.

If you want to sing about Christmas, then sing a carol.

And sing it quietly.

On a lighter note

There's an old chestnut that pipe smokers spend more time lighting their pipes than they do actually smoking 'em.

That's probably true.

I probably spend nearly as much on lighters and their associated materials as I do on tobacco.  And the problem is that I have yet to find a really decent pipe-lighter.

Naturally all our friends across the pond will start screaming about Zippos.  Well, yiz can shut up because I have one, and it's the one I am using at the moment.  However it has some drawbacks.  For a start, I seem to spend my time filling the damn thing and every time I fill it, the liquid goes all over the place, including me.  While I am prepared to suffer for my cause, self immolation is not my idea of fun.  Also it isn't that easy to light with one hand which means I have to put down my pipe [or take both hands off the steering wheel] to light the pipe.

My preference would be for a gas lighter, and thus I got myself a rather nice Vector lighter.  Apart from the fact that it broke, it has a very small gas tank so once again I have a daily routine of having to fill the damn thing.  It does however come with a handy little trio of pipe tools for cleaning out the bowl but I could buy those separately anyway for a few bob.

The shop in the village used to sell some very nifty lighters – the Ronson Slyder.  They were brilliant in that they were cheap, refillable and had a large capacity so would last for ages.  Eventually they would go wonkey but by then I had really had my money's worth.  Unfortunately I didn't think ahead so by the time the shop stopped selling them I only had a few around the house and they are all now resting in peace.  Maybe I'll try persuading the shop to stock 'em again but I would probably have to promise to buy the lot.

I hear tell of a lighter called a Corona Oldboy, which looks nice but is a tad on the pricey side for something that may or may not be suitable.

So the question is….

If you were buying a lighter for a lovable old pensioner, what would you get?