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Communication February 5, 2008

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

It’s all anyone ever does these days, isn’t it? If we’re not connecting people here, we’re changing the communications landscape there. Our telephones are constantly being communicated to by someone or other who’d like to communicate some money out of us. The Russian can often be heard yelling down the phone at his babushka. I dash next door to give him some pointers. “Quick, tell her about your health.” He grimaces. “Quick, ask her about her health.” He acknowledges my existence impatiently and encourages me to leave the room.

But I haven’t got a second for any of this communication business at the moment. Not a second. Work, don’t you know. Oh yes, like a grown-up. Plus the Russian’s not in and his absences are always unpredictable in length and we’ll both die of acute moanitis if he comes in and sees me here or, worse, checking my stats, and then complaining at 11.45pm that I haven’t quite begun my working day yet and still have about 40 billion words to translate before the morning (and then yelping all night in bed, though not in an even vaguely sexy way, and waking up in sweats about undone work but realising all is sort of OK when the Russian says a reassuring, “Beeb, oll vill byee OK. Всё будет хорошо. You just mad”).

But, anyway, I’ve got this new policy going. A communications policy. You know, getting out there. Meeting people. Getting back on the dating scene. Except I had to scrap that bit when the Russian reminded me we were a couple. “Darling, sorry, I clean forgot we’d been together for a millennium now.” “Yes, iz very fanny. Saamtyimez I forget too. Zen I see your shyuz placed inkorrektly in kholl and remember ze joy of kommunal leevying.” Because I’m bored of my ivory tower now. And it’s stats what’s reminded me. I was having a minor ganderette through to see if anyone had come to visit me from an interesting place. “Darlink, vot you dooink?” came the disembodied voice of the Russian from an intercom system he’s had wired up so that he can spy on me from the next room. “You chekkink styets? Styop it. Do some vyerk.” “No, honestly, darling, it’s the last time. Honestly. This is my last ever check. Look at all those interesting places that people have come to visit from. Look, there’s a place called King of Prussia in Pennsylvania. Oh, just let me check that url. I’m sure it’s probably someone important wanting to turn my whole blog into a play…” But of course when I open the exciting-looking url, it’s just some regular old bastard service provider instantly flashing their ‘Connecting People’ or ‘Changing the Communication Landscape’ logo in my freshly despondent face.

Anyway, so I’ve taken on their words. Will make a paasitive out of a negative. Get communicating again. I’ve fallen out of the game. This translating away at home is rubbish. Go and befriend the neighbours. Pick up the phone. Text people. Write some e-mails.

“Drring, drring.” I braced myself. Rid my throat. Picked up the phone. “Hello,” went a drone with a job. “It’s your credit card people. Can you give us all your money and then borrow another different million so we can ring and hassle you about that and write to you twenty times a month?” “Bing.” Ooh, that’ll be an e-mail. “Er, yeah, sorry we haven’t paid that invoice. Yeah, there’s been some confusion about that actually. :-) Because we thought it was for such-and-such a piece of work ;-) and then that person left :-( and…”

“This is no place for gloom,” I reassure myself. “If you dash downstairs and check the post, there’ll probably be postcards from faraway places, cheques, invitations to balls.” I walk to the recycling to throw out the pizza ads and remind myself that I must get round to booby-trapping the letter-box. I pass the loathsome neighbour with the hairstyle that makes me want to kill him. “Hello,” I say with fake pleasure that England has honed to perfection down the evolutionary centuries. He walks past in total silence which makes me wonder if he can tell I put a glass up against the hall wall when their baby hasn’t stopped crying for four hours in a row and he and his girlfriend are screaming, no doubt about his hair. Butter-borrowing son of a bitch.

Still, today’s another day. And probably only four months till Eurovision.



1. annie - February 5, 2008

send me your address, and I’ll post you a nice letter – with ink and paper, and a stamp with the picture of our dear Queen on it and all…

2. pleite - February 5, 2008

Darling, thank you. I was a great letter-writer in my time. That’s a tradition whose passing I regret. BaH is not unknown to put pen to paper and I MUST get round to answering. Now I don’t even have the decency to do Christmas cards, probably complaining, all the while, about the price of stamps.

But I’m only being a silly-billy. I’m busy in a good way. Telling myself I’m sorting my life out. Scared.

3. IAF - February 6, 2008

Of course, are we allowed to comment on this post? I mean, you’ll just feel obliged to reply, and perhaps check your stats to see if I’m in Romania (which I’m not – it’s a weird place, everyone appears to speak vulgate Latin with a Slavic accent. Most peculiar – he said, dismissing an entire nation as if he were a British civil servant of the inter-war years and prone to speak in the third person).
So, er, no replies (or flowers) please. Unless of course you want to. But I didn’t really say anything, so probably best not.

4. pleite - February 6, 2008

Yes, but the trouble is, IAF, when you’ve been in this business as long as you and I have… Will you have a gin? Do you take gin?… Yes, the trouble is… can never damned find my pipe-cleaners. I did tell Mrs. Florianescu to… I mean, they might have a point, Winston shouldn’t have… but they’re not like us… Clean out of Angostura bitters. Awful business. Over by Christmas, they say…

5. marshaklein - February 6, 2008

I feel a bit like the man who was fluent in 25 languages and had nothing to say in any of them (can’t remember the exact quote).

Sorting your life out is in my, almost certainly unreliable, opinion best approached in short bursts interspersed with longer periods of talking/thinking about doing it. I mean, imagine if you actually sorted your life out completely?!

6. pleite - February 6, 2008

Marsha, regretting it already, especially as it really only consists of ‘giving up booze’, which I think might be my worst idea yet. It means I will never have a single second of fun ever again. Well, maybe if I think about a health-drive for a while, and then actually do something about it – haircuts normally make me feel neat and healthy – then I can go back to the booze.

And I need to earn cash. Now. Today, and it is just about to get dark, I have translated not even one sentence. It sits there, open, just waiting to be translated, and I just effing well can’t get started. But I must. I must.

7. marshaklein - February 6, 2008

Och look, Mr BiB, sir here’s yer pipecleaners, by the fire irons. Ah wid hae left them by yer pipe masel’ but yon Mrs Florian whit-dae-ye-cry-her must hae ither ideas. Fancy EUROPEAN yins, nae doubt! Oh aye! Tae guid fur the likes o’ me, her! Och, ah’m awfy sorry Mr BiB, sir. Dinnae mind me. Will the gentleman be wantin’ ice in his gin an’ tonic, sir? My, yon new refridgey-rator’s a wee miracle, so it is. No’ like the auld days, eh? They CFCs are the work o’ a genius, are they no’? You mark my words, the mannie whae inventit them’ll go doon in history…

8. MountPenguin - February 6, 2008

It’s dark now, so I presume you are sitting at home translating away feverishly?

9. bering - February 6, 2008

i’m not sure Switzerland qualifies as interesting exciting and exotic, but hey, it’s not even in Europe, so that must push it up the exotimeter scale a bit, no?

10. pleite - February 6, 2008

But Bering, you’ve gone awfully silent since arriving in Switzerland. Are you still acclimatising? I’ve taken over a month to get over Christmas so I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.

Penguin, feverishly ignoring work away. Are you feverishly packing away? And feverishly getting excited away? Do you feel as if you’re on the threshold of something BIG? Everyone’s emigrating! (And has your Berlin blog died? Must japanify your link.)

Mrs. Klein, yes… Raluca has some very odd ways… Only Romance language to have retained inflection, y’know… Can’t remember a bloody word of my Latin. Romania locuta est. Terrible business with that Nicolae and Elena. Lovely types. He was a wizard at whist, did you know?

11. MountPenguin - February 6, 2008

Packing… oh yes. Good idea. Actually have even made a proper list of things to acquire and take. 2 packets of müsli, for example. And a tie thingy. Had to think about something else before my hands could remember what to do with it.

Berlin blog is in a wee bit of a coma, though I might make a post tomorrow.

12. bering - February 7, 2008

yeah. i know. the issue might be that acclimatising is a bit of a lifelong process. will surface soon i hope…

and i’m only now getting over the massive quantities of food well-meaning family and friends force-fed me over the holidays… who’d of thunk i’d grow plump upon returning from the US?

13. IsarSteve - February 7, 2008

Berlin blog is in a wee bit of a coma, though I might make a post tomorrow.

Servus, Grutzi und Goodbye…??

14. redneckarts - February 7, 2008

Thanks for your kind comments at my site indeed… funny I always read yer posts so I can taste my own sweeter days…grocery shopping with spouse and ending up in a tavern for instance. I’m working on a bit of a clarifying history for folks connected with this site and I’ll send it to you soon.Take care.

redneckarts said

15. pleite - February 8, 2008

Rock, what a lovely thing to say, and now I feel the burden of… what. History? No. Recreation? Erm. Keeping up appearances… on my shoulders. Thank you. That’s fucking – I was going to write awfully, like a wanker, but I think fucking is better – poignant to think I might remind you of happy times. Sorry and thank you.

Isar, he will indeed be whizzing off this very day. His site says he’ll be back in April but that might only be a return date of convenience…

Bering (that’s Doing Swimmingly up there on the right somewhere to the rest of you), that’s good of them to comfort-feed you to help you cope with reentering a different earthly atmosphere. Hope the decompression treatment ends soon and you’ll be up and typing again in no time.

…Penguin, am I right about the return date? In any case, super bon voyage. I’m looking forward to you japanising up my blog-life. Hope this adventure all goes excellently.

16. MountPenguin - February 9, 2008

Well, it’s bleedin’ snowing, would you believe (but as a penguin I shouldn’t complain, I suppose). Pic on blog.

17. Taiga the Fox - February 9, 2008

I was a great letter-writer some time… well quite a long time ago, but now… I have to admit I can’t even leave a proper comment on a blog anymore. Probably that’s why my stats have been so depressing to look at. Well, someone tried to find an answer to a question: “why there isn’t snow in Germany this year?”, but I am quite sure I couldn’t give the answer. We haven’t got any snow in Helsinki, that’s a fact, if someone wants to know. That is probably as depressing as this whole comment was, sorry about that.

18. Valerie in San Diego - February 10, 2008

See, now we all want your address so we can send you goofy postcards from Strange Lands or at least Bizarre Bistros in Peculiar Places. I’m much inclined to agree with Marsha — very bad idea to get your life altogether straightened out, I’d be terrified to do that, what would I blame then for my nonaccomplishments? — so the bits and pieces seem about right to me. Well, except “giving up booze.” Maybe “sending one e-mail I hadn’t gotten around too in dog’s years” would do it?

19. Valerie in San Diego - February 10, 2008

I swear, I can’t post on your blog without a typo. It must be a law of physics.

20. chendaberry - February 12, 2008

Well I must say our communication skills weren’t really up to much on Saturday night. I didn’t even get introduced to the Russian, though he was pointed out to me if that sort of counts. Think we both need to hone the skills. I find it gets more difficult year by year. Soon I will be in a permanent state of hibernation all winter.

21. pleite - February 13, 2008

Chen, it does get more difficult with age. I’m sure of that. Or that’s what I’m telling myself. So it’s a good thing, I think, to force oneself to be a social bunny. I had wanted the Russian to meet M_ a) because I thought they might perfectly well like each other and b) what with M_’s Russian connections, that’s as good as a Raashan soul so the Russian would have appreciated that too. But, yes, I’m on a social drive now, so when I can just get this work done…

Valerie, the giving-up-booze has so bitten the dust after an accidental run of three nights in a row last week.Though I’m back on the wagon again now, but not really intentionally. Sometimes I feel despondent at the lack of sortedness that reigns with me. At others I am perfectly content with my silly-but-fine-really life. (And what’s a little typo between friends?)

Taiga, I’m sure blogging is seasonal. Or, like any hobby, or love, you have waves of enthusiasm for it and then waves of indifference. Perhaps rather like any relationship, actually. You know, you start off naively and full of verve and gusto and then you begin to settle for a bit less from the relationship and then sometimes you even ignore each other and occasionally maybe even dare to quibble… But always nice to see you when you’re in a blog-mood.

Penguin, so clever of your computer to be able to get you here all the way from Japan. You seem to me to be enjoying your time and it’s fun to look at another version of your blog-self. I’m very pleased at having labelled your blog simply, ‘Japan,’ up there in the blogroll but wonder whether I should penguinise it. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

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