Saturday, March 17, 2018

conversations not had

I got on the BART train home from the concert on Thursday to discover after I sat down that, though the car was nearly deserted, it was being fully occupied by a ski-cap wearing mesomorph who was one of those guys who likes talking loudly when nobody is listening.

He started haranguing the only other occupant who was seated closer to him than I, and I had to start thinking of what I would do if he turned to me. Normally I resolutely ignore these types (if they're asking for spare change it's quite different), but what if he started harassing me for a response? I needed something deflecting, and since I was reading a New Yorker piece on Rainer Werner Fassbinder, I decided that I'd put on my attempt at an Inspector Clouseau accent - which my brother says sounds like Inspector Clouseau putting on a Chinese accent, and which produces something which, I hope, is unintelligible as English - and utter my favorite Inspector Clouseau line to say, which (in intelligible English) is, "Professor Fassbender and his daughter have been kidnapped."

Perhaps fortunately, this attempt at surrealism was not put to the test.

Next morning, I went into work to check up on a few computer settings and functions I need to have properly understood before phoning the software vendor for a long talk on Monday. One of them was to try to reproduce an occasional glitch that causes an error message to pop up. I succeeded, and it was while writing down the error message that I realized that it refers, not to a subsystem, but a susbsytem, which I'd pronounce "suss beside 'em." I am so looking forward to telling the vendor that I am but a poor ignorant end-user and have no idea what a suss beside 'em is. (To my amazement, a Google search produced 1240 results, topped by an announcement that "Northrop Grumman is now hiring a Susbsytem Design Engineer 4 in Melbourne, FL," so it must be something.)

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