GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XVIII)

An Error Upstairs

This morning, as we were preparing to leave the house to go on a bit of an antique hunt around Berrima, I was locking things up, you know, as a man does, when I walked into the kitchen and said, “Shall I open the bathroom mirror?”

Nancy reacted with the subtlety and tact that such a question invited. She said, and I’m doing my best to recall not only her words but her timing and delivery here: “What!” My question made absolutely no sense, you see. What could opening a mirror possibly mean? I corrected myself. “The, um, I mean the toilet. The toilet mirror.” This was no good either. It was still a meaningless question, however I now see that I was playing a game of hot and cold in my own brain. I was getting warmer. The toilet I was thinking of is closer to the room I was thinking of than the bathroom is. But not by much. On Nancy’s face a serious frown competed with a playful smile. She had no more idea what I was on about but my discomfort was beginning to amuse her. It was quite funny, in a cruel sort of way.

“Whaaat?” she asked slowly, and put down the remote control she had been using to program all our favourite TV shows to record. She looked directly at me, in fact she looked over her spectacles just a tad to emphasise the sense of a school teacher talking to an errant pupil, and she had a quick think. After a pause she said, “Do you mean the window in the laundry?” Yes, that was what I meant. I wanted to know whether she thought it was a good idea to allow Monty the cat to come and go while we were out.

The whole episode reminded me of an incident a few years ago. Two phrases I used quite a lot at the time were is the Pope a Catholic? and I’m not here for a haircut. The first was intended to mean (obviously) yes, of course, and the second to mean let’s not muck around or I’m ready to get stuck in, or something of that order. Anyway, on this occasion I was talking to some Japanese businessmen and they wanted to know if I had been authorised to negotiate for the company I represented and if so was I ready to start negotiating there and then. I looked across the wide expanse of mahogany boardroom table at them, raised my palms and spread my hands apart, using all the positive body language I knew, and said: “Hey, does the Pope need a haircut?”

My colleague explained that Gordon had an unusual sense of humour. But he really is a very funny guy, Junichi said. He makes us laugh all the time. He’s much funnier than he seems. For a long time those executives thought I was insane.

I’m not insane now and I wasn’t then, but it is strange when you momentarily lose control of the little computer up there. The best thing to do is not to worry. And yes, Junichi and I closed that deal too.

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Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This same thing happened to me earlier today! But I don’t remember what it was…

    (Sorry for wasting your time with that comment.)

    • Waste my time? Pah!

      Comments are lovely. Thank you.


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