Friday, March 20, 2009

The Perils of a Burned Out Clutch

Ah my fervid yeomen, I fear that sometimes that my clutch needs a good service. I am not talking about that my automobile is suffering a fault, but the mechanism that sits between my brain and my mouth.

When I am dealing with the written word, be it for work or pleasure, my brain tends to switch to this strange mode. Things happen around me and my brain reacts.

Yesterday, a group of colleagues were engaging in conversation near my desk and were talking about various ways to cope with stress (see Note 1) while I was trying to write the weekly great work of fiction which is the progress report.

One of my colleagues mentioned that to relax he likes to play the clarinet. My brain, absolutely determined to divert from the boring business of justifying refactoring, saw its opportunity and escaped off onto a tangent.

What I meant to say was “Is that a Euphemism?” what actually came out was “Do you do it in private with a bottle of baby oil and some tissues?”

As you may imagine, this was not met with a universal reaction of mirth. A woman with the group appeared most offended (see Note 2) and I felt the need to apologise.

It reminded me of the kitten naming incident I wrote about in my blog yesterday. (See Note 3)

Not all of my interventions into other people’s conversations result in disaster. Only this morning another, recently married colleague was in need of lawn mowing advice. (see Note 4) I was only too happy to help and suggested two options, the Suffolk Punch and an alternative. Of course, the alternative caused my brain to fire up and all sorts of synapses to flare up. One-liners from “Remember to keep your over-sized wellies by the back door” to far, far worse sprang to mind. (See Note 5)

I really don’t have much of an excuse for coming out with conversation stoppers like that. I’m a grown man and should by now have found away to ensure that the clutch is engaged in such circumstances.

Some would take the easy way out and blame the pressure, the stress, the dodgy air-conditioning, but I really cannot do that. My writing tends to take away the stress, the more stress I’m under; the more I retreat to my virtual reality. When I feel pressure, the end result is normally a ‘Rat & Ferret’ post and after one of those, I feel a lot better.

Besides, what I do can hardly be considered stressful, real stress can be found in this very poignant tale of Major Edward "Mick" Mannock VC.

Note 1: My own favourite way is to down a few dried frog pills and sit down with a blank document open in Word. I just let my brain take me on a merry jaunt and I let my fingers tap away and see what results. Today, you got this. At the time of writing this footnote, I have no idea what ‘this’ actually is, only the opening gambit. As in chess, the end result is a matter determined by random synapses as my brain tries to out manoeuvre me.

Note 2: No, I mustn’t say it. Such comments usually serve to line lawyer’s pockets.

Note 3: Thinking about Mike yesterday, I decided to see if he had left his foot fall somewhere on Google. I did a couple of searches and discovered a lead in Melbourne, Australia. I fired off an email and discovered it was indeed he! This is an object lesson for all those former yeomen who have had expensive therapy and moved to the other side of the world to forget. Be afraid, be very afraid. I have Google and I am not afraid to use it.

Note4: Recently as in last year, but it is recent enough to have me think that this is the first time in a while he has looked out of the window and realised the grass has got long.

Note 5: Those who didn’t follow the links may be confused, but hey! I was just thankful the guy wasn’t Welsh, or I am sure the clutch would have burned out and I would have been in trouble again.