I once bellowed ‘Fuck!’ at the top of my voice in John Lewis when after 15 attempts I still couldn’t work my new mobile phone. Since I looked up to find an entire cluck of shoppers staring at me in disgust, I have gradually become aware that I speak to myself in shops, the car, libraries, in front of my chiropractor – who has since referred me to anyone else but him, and the streets of Edinburgh in general – though my language has greatly improved.
Last week in a few hurried moments when I was trying to purchase a ticket to park my car, I inadvertently put a 20 cent Euro coin in the meter thinking it was a pound. There was an almighty clack, a couple of back up clanks and my money shot to the return tray. The message on the little screen stated in no uncertain terms ‘TAKE BACK YOUR MONEY’. I am quite sure the programmer wanted to add ‘comma B-I-T-C-H’, and I couldn’t help but scream with laughter at the quick wittedness of the machine and the brevity of its communication. Are parking meters linked up to Skynet? Because it might get scary and tiresome if they start pulling themselves out of the ground to chase us with their flashing messages of acerbic abuse.
Raking around in the bottom of my bag for another £1 – a bag bottom which is always covered in sugar because I take extra packets from Starbucks to take home but they always burst in my bag – I successfully bought a ticket and turned round to see a few people looking at me. Not only had I laughed out loud, not only had I repeated the words out loud, but I had taken a few passes at it changing the emphasis each time. I only hope I didn’t practice my accents.