Thursday, 20 January 2011

A Radical Use For iPhones, And An Occasion Of Great Joy.

There's bad news and good news this morning, which is an improvement on the usual wholly-negative situation.

The phone rings almost as soon as we enter the office, and Greg loses at our version of rock, paper, scissors* so he has to answer it. Within seconds he's banging his head on the desk.

"Who is it?" I say.

Greg puts his finger to his lips, and then mouths something that looks like, "Mea mrmnghn."

Then he says,

"Well, there's nothing we can do for you now - but I do hope you're happy in your new home."

Then he slams the phone down without waiting for a reply, jumps to his feet and does a weird tribal-style dance around the office. Several times, and accompanied by a grunting chorus, which seems to involve the words, "oh yes, yes, yes."

Vicky looks appalled when she walks in and catches him at it. I think she raises her eyebrows at me but, given how exaggerated they normally look, it's rather hard to tell.

"Don't ask me what's wrong with him," I say. "He hasn't stopped whooping and dancing for the last five minutes. Though I shall trip him up when he next goes past. He's making me feel dizzy."

Greg comes to a halt, pauses for effect, and then says,

"That, my dear Molly, was our favourite constituent."

"Who?" I say. "Mr Bradley?"

"No, you idiot,"  says Greg. "Can't you spot irony when it's staring you in the face? It was the marvellous Mr Meeeurghn, the most demanding man in Northwick. As well as quite possibly the most dangerously insane."

Now it's my turn to bang my head on the desk, while making moaning noises.

"No-o-o," I say. "I was hoping he'd died. Well, maybe not died exactly, but I did think there was a chance he'd got amnesia since his accident, and had forgotten all about us. But now he's back, and I think I may be going to cry."

"Stop being so melodramatic," says Greg, who's a fine one to talk. "He's not back - that's the whole beauty of it."

I look puzzled, while Vicky just contemplates her nails. I have no idea why she finds them perennially interesting.

"The Council agreed it was too dangerous for Mr Meeeurghn to move back into his flat when he got out of hospital - seeing as it was his neighbour who ran him over."

Greg really doesn't need to speak as slowly as he is, for goodness' sake. I am not an idiot, whatever the general consensus may be.

"With me so far?" he says, adding insult to injury.

I stick two fingers up in the air, at which Vicky tuts and starts brushing her hair.

"So Mr Meeeurghn has been moved to a new flat," says Greg.

"Which is worthy of all that terrible dancing because?"

"It's not in our constituency!" says Greg. "Even better, he's moved to Northwick West, so now he's become that LibDem's problem. Couldn't happen to a nicer person."

Greg starts dancing again and, once I've stopped laughing, I join in too. Things are definitely looking up around here. One loony down, and only another 2,500 to go.

I tell Johnny the good news when I email him after lunch to discuss the arrangements for our rendezvous next week.

"You'll be pleased to hear that my half of Northwick has just become a much safer place to visit," I say.

"No, I won't," says Johnny. "I'm afraid it's irrelevant."

Oh, honestly, is he going to chicken out of our date now? I know it's usually me who does that but, at the rate we're going, we won't manage to get into bed until we're eighty, when we'll probably have to spend most of the time re-adjusting our artificial hips and re-bandaging our ulcers.

"Why?" I say. "Has your trip to the UK been cancelled?"

"No," says Johnny. "But I can't come to Northwick. You're going to have to meet me at Heathrow this time."

"We've already been through that," I say.

Honestly, talk about Mr M's amnesia - has Johnny forgotten that I haven't got a good reason to be anywhere near an airport if anyone should spot me there? Whereas he can go where he likes, as no-one has a clue who he is in the UK, anyway. Unless they mistake him for Putin - in which case they'd probably decide to keep quiet about it.

"But why?" I say. "It isn't as if anyone keeps tabs on you, seeing as you spend half your life travelling the world."

"That's where you're wrong," says Johnny. "My wife bought me an iPhone for Christmas."

He follows this sentence with one of those emoticons. I think his kids have just taught him how to use them, as his emails have been peppered with stupid faces ever since Christmas. This one's sad, but I figure they all are really.

"Nice for some," I say. "I was given a block of cheese."

A smiley face indicates that Johnny thinks I'm joking. He has no idea how the other half live.

"Very funny," he says. "But she's made me get that 4Square app for it, so that she can tell where I am at any given time. Anywhere in the bloody world."

I don't think Johnny's very happy with my reply, given that it merely asks how he thinks I could get hold of a cheap iPhone for Max. And how to persuade the Government to issue them to Mr Meeeurghn and the rest of the usual suspects too.

It would cost a lot, admittedly - but just think of the peace of mind it might bring. Unless you're Alan Johnson, of course, and you've already got Ed Balls keeping one of his (rather scary) eyes on you.

*Rock, Paper, Scissors - this is a link to the usual version, but Greg and I don't have time for that when we're deciding who has to answer the phone. So we just pump our hands once, then go for it. I always win because, unlike Greg, I listen to my instincts.

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