There's a thing:in more than three score and ten years, you'd expect me to have experienced more than a few misunderstandings. I confess, I would more readily expect them to have occured in my forties than my seventies. However,it seems age offers no protection and the part of me that is still forty is more than capable of suffering them, currently. Example: friends invited me to the National Film Theatre at the weekend. We went to see "La Grande Illusion". I was passionately in love with the lead actor, one Jean Gabin, in my susceptible teens. I saw it, then, many times, for that reason. Now, it was time to see it as a work of art and an ageless plea for what I can only and simply call peace and, sadly, the illusion, only, that this may be possible. For reasons I won't go in to, the day had had its stresses. Some of them had translated in to a great deal of physical movement involving cardboard boxes, cars, storage and the like. Geographically, this had left me, lunchless, quite near the NFT, but early: time enough to eat. There followed two battles. One with the jobsworth keeper of the barrier in to the complex including the NFT and the National Theatre. He didn't want me to come in without the ticket my friends were holding. That battle I won by the little old lady method. It can work even better than the eye-lash flutter used to. Battle number two was to get the tea I craved in a restaurant that, 23 seconds before, had started its dinner menu. More little old lady. I won again but three waiters and a Manager later. Hunger satisfied it remained only to negotiate the NFT's many stairs. Needing a response to Nature's call, I was thrilled to see a door, on the same level, with the Disabled symbol on it. I rushed over in and for relief. I was intercepted by a large man who, again, asked for my ticket. Appalled, I said, again, that my friends were waiting outside with it. Patiently it was explained I could'nt go in without a ticket. My Russian blood - as my Mother would say - was up and he suffered a diatribe about little old ladies and disabled loos. Without a word, he opened the door and I saw the inside of the Theatre. No loo, no stairs, simply an entrance for those who couldn't manage the climb. Oh Dear.
The next is even more lost in translation. To-morrow, I am responsible for a poetry reading during lunch hour. These events are usually attended by two women and a cat but require the same preparation as one would afford a National Theatre production. My inner world has created many impediments to doing this properly so it has been a very last minute pulling myself together. The good, patient lady who is the over-all organiser was to print programmes. She needed the material. I had made five, yes, five attempts to collate and type the list presentably, fighting with the word processor facility all the way. It even had the nerve to take over the enumeration when it hadn't been asked to. Anyway, at the fifth attempt, I left all numbers out and, at last, managed a fair copy. I rang her to see how I could get it to her. "Email it", quoth she. From Word Processor to Email? Not in my lifetime. Print, read out,fax, drive over, but re-do it on an email? A bad joke. (I know: no verb).Dear Reader, she actually managed to talk me through how to transfer from one medium to the other. Not, however, before the MISUNDERSTANDING. "Put the cursor in the middle of the space where you would normally send an email". Yes dear. However, this brought the material into the space for hiding recipients, BCC I believe it's called. It took more than a few goes but, having, at last,tried putting the cursor in the top left hand corner, where I normally start "Dear Guru", for instance, it worked. I wish I could say I was proud. I'm not. I'm exhausted.
Finally: there are three young men living in the house. (Don't even go there. The explanation is more than my blogsworth). A cry from one of them, the longest incumbant; where are his violet underpants? Text messages all round but, clearly, neither of the other two is in a position to look and see if he has misunderstood whose underpants are whose. Nos da