Excuse Me

“Mind if I do a bit of work on this air conditioning unit?” said a man in overalls, as I waited in a hastily acquired empty room for a student to arrive for a tutorial. I did mind, but the man had a job to do.

“Will it be noisy?” I asked.

“No, only if I start singing”, came the reply. “I’ll be quiet as a mouse.”

I turned back to the computer and continued sifting through emails to the accompaniment of some loud metallic clanking and bashing. After a few minutes I was beginning to feel somewhat irritated, but then suddenly the noise stopped. I looked up hoping it was all over, but a question was on its way.

“Excuse me, do you wear *CLANK* by any chance?” said the man, giving something one last bash with his hammer and drowning out the object of his enquiry.

“Do I wear what?” I said, dreading what the missing noun was going to be. Chanel No.5? A bra? A built-up shoe? It couldn’t be a hearing aid, because people generally only mention those in jest, assuming you couldn’t possibly be wearing one.

“Glasses…do you wear glasses”, repeated the man.

“…Er, contact lenses”, I replied hesitantly, wondering whether the man had been watching Twelve Angry Men and spotted the lop-sided imprint of my glasses on the bridge of my nose, or the groove dug by their left leg in my overcrowded behind the ear space.

“Why do you ask?” I asked.

“It’s just that you’re hunched over that computer with your face right next to the screen. Makes you look blind. Thought you might have forgotten your glasses.”

I thanked the man for his observation, and although I was slightly disappointed that he wasn’t as observant as Juror No. 9 in Twelve Angry men after all, he had inadvertently uncovered the reason for my recently cricked neck.

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2 Responses to “Excuse Me”


  1. 1 Clara September 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Where does the phrase “Quiet as a mouse” even come from? Anyone who has suffered a night sharing their space with a mouse will know that “quiet” and “mouse” are not words you would choose to use together. I was woken from a dead sleep at 4am and a night I’d actually managed to get my hearing aids off before falling asleep, and even without my trusty Reflex Ms I could hear the noise made by this rodent taking a short cut through my attic space.

    • 2 moiradancer September 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Hee hee, you’re right, that is a ridiculous phrase, never thought about that! In my last flat I was driven nearly insane by the wee buggers noisily crunching their way through the lath and plaster walls in the middle of the night to gain entry. I thought I had the ultimate solution when, in desperation, I dipped some wine corks in hot chilli sauce and bunged them in the holes. It stopped them chewing almost immediately, but unfortunately the chili-induced mouse sneezing was just as loud as the crunching.


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