Four Green Squares

the tiny little blog no-one will ever read

And now for something (gasp!) non-writing-related February 28, 2016

Filed under: the way it is,Unfathomable Brits — FourGreenSquares @ 8:32 pm

So I’ve done that thing, that British thing where you set off into something less than a drizzle or even mist, more of sodden air that doesn’t realise that there’s gravity for a reason, sure, go ahead, defy it, don’t fall to the ground but condense on my glasses so I can’t see, but it’s not actually raining, you see, so you keep your umbrella in your bag, nah, no need for it.

Then it starts to drizzle, but it’s not that bad, only the odd spot or two of rain, so you duck your head and keep going. Pull up your hood time, that’s all.

Okay, now it’s getting worse, we’re talking actual drops now, and you debate digging out the brolly, but you’re already damp and about half-way to wherever you’re walking, so do you really want to have to deal with a wet brolly for the rest of the day? Something that gets everything else in your bag soggy when you stow it away, and in any case, you inevitably forget to take out to dry when you get home so it moulders slowly for weeks as an added bonus. To say nothing of the fact that it’s gone a bit gusty so it would probably be blown inside out or right from your hands, and you’d end up chasing it down the road, like you do after a toddler who doesn’t know how to look both ways. Hell no, who wants to deal with that?

So you tug your hood down lower and soldier on, and then the next thing you know, you’re soaking wet, trudging through a driving rain, literally soaked, clothes like you wore them right from the washer, hair plastered against your head, socks drenched from puddles over the top of your shoes, with your umbrella still dry and safe in your bag because you’re wet through already and almost there so it *really* doesn’t make sense to dig it out now.

And then when you get wherever you were going, and people take in your bedraggled appearance, and someone inevitably remarks, “forgot your brolly?” and you shake your head and say, “didn’t feel like getting it wet,” this earns not looks of scorn but nods of total agreement.


The Failure of Fire February 23, 2013

Filed under: the way it is,Unfathomable Brits — FourGreenSquares @ 7:09 pm

At the corner shop not so long ago, I got stuck behind a rather elderly gent trying to return a lighter.

The shop owner was trying to determine the reason for the return; was the lighter broken, he wanted to know.

Oh yes, definitely, the elderly man said, nodding vigorously and looking at me, drawing me in to the transaction.

The shop owner flicked the lighter wheel and up popped a flame, tall and strong.

The gent kept nodding, not at all fazed by this apparent indication of lighterly competence.

The shop owner tried the lighter a few more times and each time, the flame leapt up without hesitation.

The gent continued to nod, as if this proved his assertion, and refused to take it back when the shop keeper held it out.

Finally, in that irritated yet patient tone of voice common to parents and service workers, the shopkeeper asked, so, sir, what is the problem with it?

A look of consternation tightened the gents features as he said, the fire is defective.

The shopkeeper’s eyebrows popped up and he tossed me an appealing look. He clearly had not anticipated that answer, though why he’d expected sense at that point had me more surprised than the gent’s answer.

Turning back to the gent, the shopkeeper had to think for a moment before asking, uh, how?

The gent was glaring at the lighter. Nothing I light stays lit, he explained. The fire’s broken, nothing stays on fire.

The shopkeeper and I swap confused-amused looks and I could see the temptation rising within the shopkeeper to ask just what the heck the man was trying to light.

However, with a shrug, the shopkeeper tossed a new lighter at the man, who wandered away with a pleased smile.

I loved it. Defective fire…and an understanding of the world that can look at flames and items that fail to ignite, and blame the fire. There is soooo a story here. Someday.

Someday soon.

In the meantime, I got the lighter off the shopkeeper and am pleased to report that it has brought its A game to all my flamey needs. Rather disappointing. Time to find some wet leaves or something so I too can experience the failure of fire.


As opposed to growing the corn yourself, I suppose December 30, 2012

Filed under: Unfathomable Brits — FourGreenSquares @ 5:36 pm

It strikes me as extremely British that a product requiring two mixing bowls, a saucepan, a measuring jug, and a half hour of constant stirring can nonetheless consider itself “instant.”

Yeah, I’m talking to you, Birds Custard.