Tuesday, January 15, 2008

a raven and a secretary

It's half-past one in the morning, and I am just returned from bidding farewell to my mother at the airport (she's on an educational tour of the UK). Dad and I watched her from the "visitor's lounge",
(which looks like so:

behind which barrier she brought pride to all the family by removing her sweater and draping it artistically over her bag, thereafter allowing it to slide gradually off the bag to trail behind her with one arm on the floor for a few yards and finally drop to the ground altogether and lie there forgotten until a kind gentleman restored it to her. Through all this I hopped up and down on the other side of the barrier beside my mildly amused male parent, talking out loud to anyone in the vicinity and generally behaving quite unlike a credit to the family.
It was my sweater, though.

... to be continued (the title's not explained yet :) )

I spent most of the evening before I could send my dear mother off on her adventure making phone calls in the capacity of secretary to Mrs. Mum. Her visa was the only one of eleven which hadn't yet been confirmed, and she'd been getting the runaround for two days. She was getting into that panicky state which usually set everyone in the house on edge and made living darned unpleasant.
Hence it was that I cancelled plans to see Taare Zameen Par (again, by gum!) and sat at home (while my father went out to buy socks and my mom and sister to borrow shoes) making phone calls to multiple people and organizations until! I got confirmation that the visa was indeed on its way to Bangalore, just two hours before my mother was to check-in.
Hurrah for my superior clerical skills!

I have been reading A Tangled Tale and imagining what it might have felt like to read each week's (month's? fortnight's) installment and try to solve the puzzle it set; to send in your solutions and see them discussed and your name (a name like SIMPLE SUSAN, or DINAH MITE, or OLD CAT) in the Class List.
What did it feel like to be a part of the knot-untiers, I wonder.

It was such a polite time. Not necessarily nicer, just more outwardly pleasant. Who today will write in to Maddox to tell him that he or she "think[s] it would be in better taste if [he] were to abstain" from insulting whichever particular issue the letter-writer holds dear to his or heart? Nobody, that's who. They are far more likely to send in an ungrammatical and poorly-spelled piece of poison calling the other person a retard or a homosexual and advising them to get laid.
Sigh. I fear I am far too old-fashioned in my expectations of human behaviour and etiquette.
I would like to read Lynn Truss's Talk to the Hand now, I think. Does anyone have a copy they can lend me?

The secret is this: there is a b in both while a secretary is a writing desk.

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