Tuesday, January 02, 2018

THE SOUND OF THE TURTLE

In the Hungarian Phrasebook sketch, John Cleese as a foreigner venturing into a London tobacconist to purchase cigarettes utters the immortal line "would you like to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy". There are other great sentences in that piece -- "my hovercraft is full of eels" ("min luft kussens fahrtug is ful med aale") should come to mind -- but that one has a certain plangency. It is such a hopeful phrase, and so optimistic; yet in almost all cases when it is uttered, despair and self-doubt must follow.

"Would you like to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy."

From the point of view of both the person uttering it, as well as the man or woman at the receiving end, both likely answers will be wrong.
One immediately, the other inevitably.

Like pipe smoking, the practitioner of this querulance is more likely to be male. A woman smoking a pipe is often looked at askance, and a female asking the bouncy bouncy question will probably be thought unstable.



These thoughts came to mind the other evening after late lunch and a long smoke in Chinatown, when I was on the bus returning home. There was a young lady, you see. Her face reflected an inner dialogue and complex mental processes, perhaps prompted by the music to which she was listening.
I could imagine her expression if I were to ask the question.
And you can imagine mine had she asked me.

It was, never the less, a very enjoyable face.
Nice to surreptitiously observe.
No sharp corners.
Smiling.




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