Monday, 7 April 2014

On Duty and an Alien's Observation.

We had monsoon conditions for about half an hour this afternoon, and the lane at the bottom of the garden was impersonating the source of the Nile again. (If only Speke and Burton had known about the lane at the bottom of my garden. They might both still be alive today.)

So, we all know what Jeffrey’s job is in such conditions, don’t we? He has to don his ancient winter coat (which is a Swedish mountaineer’s anorak and still tolerates snow better than it does rain) and go out with his trusty shovel to clear the road drains. I consider it the least I can do in return for the denizens of the Shire tolerating my presence in their exalted company, and not chasing me to the burning mill (with pitchforks) or at least to the top of the church bell tower without even an Esmeralda to keep me warm. So that’s what I did.

I made the mistake of failing to notice just how deep the water running down the road was on this occasion, and went out in stout boots instead of wellies. It wasn’t long before I realised that I would not only have to change my wet jeans when I got back, but also my wet socks. And the other problem with clearing road drains in such conditions is this: Once you’ve done it, you have to go back to the beginning and do it all over again. That’s because once you’ve cleared a drain and the water is flowing freely down it, all the shite being brought down the road gets deposited on top of the grid and clogs it up again. It means you have to do the job twice, which seems a bit silly to me, but that’s what you have to do.

The exercise did, however, provide yet another valuable lesson in the oddness of the human animal. It was school run time you see, so there were a lot of vehicles about. Some of them slowed as they passed me, and one woman even raised a regal hand in recognition of my valiant efforts. (I would have tugged my forelock if I’d had one, in appreciation of her graciousness, but I haven’t so I didn’t.)

Others, however, were a little less kind. They were the ones who deemed it unnecessary to moderate their speed one jot, thereby showering me with quite a lot of dirty water. It was one of those situations where you stop what you’re doing and watch them race away through the flood, hoping they’ll see you in their rear view mirrors and notice that you’re not exactly smiling. And they’re the ones who prove yet again that some of these human types haven’t the faintest clue how to conduct themselves in such a way as to make their world a fairer and more amicable place. That’s the primary trait which will form paragraph 1 in my report when I get back, if only I get to remember where I came from.

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