Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Slip of the Tongue

"People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization."
-Agnes Repplier

There is nothing, to my mind, quite like the cosy feel and anticipatory thrill of a train journey. On at least two separate occasions in the last couple of years I have had reason to travel with my mother on a train. Such encounters are never dull.

Mater had a packet of chocolate raisins in her handbag and dived in every now and then to eat one. I have a different sort of palate and cannot abide by such things as fruit dipped in sugar so I had none of her offerings. To Mater's dismay she saw that the package had torn open and the raisins were scattered at the bottom of her bag. Undeterred she thrust her hand in, pulled her fist out and threw a large number into her mouth.
I made the sort of face that indicated further distaste. Mater smiled and chewed.
Then I looked more closely. Unbeknown to her there was a twenty cent coin protruding from her lips.
"You have money in your mouth," said I wryly.
She felt it then, and pulled the thing out immediately. We chuckled all the way home and the tears took hours to dry up.

While on an excursion, Mater, Spouse and I pulled into our destination city. We gathered our bags together and realised that we needed the restroom and, too, that the majority of the passengers would be in the same situation once they disembarked. We decided to hurry off the train and through that station. I already knew that those particular restrooms had a process whereby each single person inserted a coin in order to get past the one-way gate and into the facility. The gate is known as the turnstile; all one needs is the loose change.
Mater had a thought as we ran.
"Is this the station," she gushed breathlessly, "where you need to bring your own turnstile?"
I envision still a responsible, convenient and self-sufficient world where we each carry our own turnstile. The perfect world, however, would be blandness itself without such delightful verbal blunders.

As an aside, I learned just recently that turnstiles are on occasion referred to as 'baffle gates.' One has to appreciate the common sense in that.

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