Expat@Large

Hamburg Street Conversation

Posted in germans, WTF by expatatlarge on July 20, 2012

I’m well rugged up and walking, my daily mild exercise, around the tree-lined streets of the Blankenese suburb in Hamburg close to the Elba (across which is the A380 factory). I stroll past some magnificent Hansel and Gretel mansions in large, lost in the woods gardens – this is millionaires row, billionaires, whatever.

A well-dressed man, a bit older than myself, is crossing an intersection coming towards me. He slows down as he approaches me and it seems he wants to talk.

He stops, so I stop. Germans are so polite when they are not trying to take over the world. So, thinks: I’d better do the same (it’s a tit-for-tat utilitarianism thing). I wonder what I am up for here. Have you heard the word of the Lord? Some pfennig for the old guy?

He starts talking as I take my left earphone out. In German of course.

“Nick sprecker Doych”, I say. “Ick hab kynner Doych.” In my impeccable accent.

“Ach, vot language? You speak, what do you…”

“English.”

“Ach, good.”

I take out my right earphone and raise my sunglasses to look him politely in the eye.

He is wearing a classy red windbreaker (I can’t make out the brand) over a warm jumper as the summer in Hamburg is not all that impressive this week; cloudy, blustery, cool (14deg), a spit of rain today, pouring yesterday. He has what look like expensive-frames on his thick-lensed square glasses, and he swipes the air with a thick cigar stub that trails noxious fumes that dissipate quickly in the breeze as he speaks to me. He might live in one of those billionaire houses.

He says: “You know, I have stopped you to talk because, one, you have your sunglasses on; two, you have those… he waves his cigar around… those things in your ears; and three, because I wish to ask you a question.”

The man is, I am confident now, not a complete nutter, but pushing it. Eccentric billionaire.

“Der built zeitung, you know?” I must have looked blank because he asks again. “Der built, it is the, vat you say, newspaper?”

Ah yes, Bild. I recall some German scandal rag like that.

“The very first word in der Bild today, do you know what it was? The very first word?”

Naturally I did not know. I shrug.

“The first word on the page. It is bordell.”

“Brothel?”

He doesn’t seem to have heard me because he repeats, “Bordell. You know where women sell themselves. A bordell!”

“Brothel.” Yes, I know them.

“Yes, yes, a brothel. The very first word! What do you make of that? What is your opinion?” He holds his cigar up at his face, takes a puff, as he waits for my answer.

I smile as I consider what his opinion no doubt is.

“Well,” I say, “Germany is a very open minded country, a very broad minded country.”

He tilts his head back a little, looking in my eye with a bit of sparkle as he contemplates my answer briefly. He then points his cigar at me with slight gesture and gently smiles.

“Thank you”, he says emphatically. And walks on.

E@L

Need Help

Posted in allergy, Bangkok, cockroach, Thailand, translation, WTF by expatatlarge on February 13, 2012

… in getting a decent translation of the following. One of my many lovely friends/colleagues (see above) in BKK is unwell. At least I think she is unwell. She posted this on Facebook:

จะบอกว่า ร้านดอกไม้ร้านใหญ่ที่อยู่ใกล้ๆกัน มีความคิดสร้างสรรมาก ขนดอกหญ้ามาจัดร้าน theme valentine ประหนึ่งว่าอยู่สวนป่า อีเดนท่ามกลางธรรมชาติ โรแมนติกค่อดๆ วันดีคืนดี ลมพัดมาหอบละอองเกสรปลิวว่อนเลย เซ็ง~ ไม่รู้เลยว่าอิคนอยู่ใกล้ๆ จะตายเอา 5555 [at least I know that these numbers are a Thai emoticon for LOL. Why? Because the number five in Thai is pronounced Ha. Hahahahaha.]

… and Bing (the FB default for some reason) translated it thus:

The art of flower shop is telling me to usurp tuttu shops near the capital. There are many creative ideas to optimize your store organized grass heart valentine theme is comparable to that in the midst of a natural park Eden. Robert semantic khot propitious day. The wind blows coming en masse swiftly carry pollen. Bored ~ I don’t know that the ikhon near to death removing LOL.

~~~~~~~~~

Also need to learn the Thai characters for WTF.

~~~~~~~~~

… and Google translated it thus:

It is a flower shop near the well. There are many creative ideas. Feather grass is a free theme valentine, as though the forest. Eden nature. Haddock and romantic fine wind to carry pollen carded ~ I do not know I was close to death I 5555.

~~~~~~~~~

… and Yahoo BabelFish doesn’t do Thai.

~~~~~~~~~

Response from the victim herself after I assumed she was having acupuncture or something silly like that:

It’s a procedure of Skin test, not a treatment. They drop 13 allergen solutions on my both arms and then prick my arms with special needles. finally, leave them for 15 minutes. if there are skin rash and itch at any position, means I got allergy them. The result is cockroach and pollen.

~~~~~~~~~

Cockroach?

~~~~~~~~~

In BKK for 10 days, will be that is, coming up from this Thursday. Could try aversion therapy, but E@L hasn’t got much of a roach.

E@L

Check Please…

Posted in pseudo-science, WTF by expatatlarge on July 30, 2011

At that time I advanced the idea that the formation of a clear mental image of external objects is accompanied by a reflex action on the retina, making it possible to read thoughts and even to project the images conceived on a screen and render them visible to an audience. This would be of inestimable consequence on all human relations but the idea can not be realized until some way is found to lay bare the retina. Continued reflections on this subject led me to evolve apparatus for transmitting instantaneously true vision without any moving devices, and in 1900 I had already solved three of the problems which confronted me, namely: to individualize and isolate a very great number of channels or “nerves”; to convey to the receiving apparatus energy in sufficient amount, and, to make the vision of the moving images independent of distance.

– Really, Nic? Please continue. [looks around, waves hand]

Another distinction is that my system is based entirely on resonance, while in present practice reliance is placed chiefly on amplification by auxiliary devices generally consisting of various forms of vacuum tubes which have been brought to remarkable perfection.

– Fascinating, fascinating.

– Waiter!!

E@L

Hemlock on Singapore, E@L on Singapore

Posted in politics, Singapore, WTF by expatatlarge on May 18, 2011

[Another post that no-one will read, except maybe the Gahmen spies.]

Here is a brief paragraph on Singapore and LKY from the blog of Hong Kong legend Hemlock (some big-rich-dude’s paid blogger allegedly), Big Lychee and Various Sectors:

It looks like the sort of shallow, vindictive, spiteful and constitutionally and ethically dubious bit of electoral jiggery-pokery Lee Kuan Yew would have come up with, had opposition legislators existed in meaningful numbers back in the days when the carrier of the world’s mightiest human DNA was single-handedly carving Asia’s pinnacle of civilization out of a garbage-strewn wasteland of undisciplined, gum-chewing, inferior humanity.

Hemlock is about to analyze/demolish a constitutional change in Hong Kong in which:

As of 2012, if a democratically elected (as opposed to the other sort) Hong Kong Legislative Council member resigns or otherwise leaves his seat, there will be no by-election: the runner-up in his constituency will automatically replace him.

It does sound very much like a PAP (Lee Kuan Yue’s People’s Action Party) stunt doesn’t it? If only LKY had thought of it. Hang on, maybe he did? Someone want to check that?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This fiery prose has of course inflamed E@L – he is fired up over the political system here in Singapore thanks to a slew of head-slapping activities before the recent election. If he is not blogging for the next few years, check the dank, dark, fetid basement of Singapore’s equivalent to Stalin’s Lubyanka prison.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Compared to Hong Kong (or so I believe), the structure of some of the Singapore electorates is already set-up in such a way that it is very difficult for an opposition party to make inroads and get candidates into parliamentary seats in the first place, let alone have them worry about what happens when they resign or retire hurt.

The Group Representation Constituencies (GRC )system in Singapore was set-up initially to allow minorities (like Malays and Indians) the chance to become parliamentarians. However, since the GRC was introduced, it is claimed that the ratio of minority groups (in parliament) has decreased!

How do the GRCs work (approximately)?** Groups of up to six candidates from each party stand in the GRC representing up to the six individual electoral wards that are now contained with the GRC. Each of these contained electorates may be contested by opposition party candidates and they may even win! But the seats in Parliament go not to those who won individually, but to the group of six (three, four, five) candidates from the party with the highest aggregate of votes across the GRC. WTF? So opposition candidates may win several electorates within the GRC, but still not get into Parliament, whereas their dumb-ass, wife-of-a-minster’s-principal-secretary opponents from the PAP ride in on the coat-tails of a popular PAP candidate (like said minister) who calls in a huge number of votes and thus takes the GRC with him. Essentially a GRC is a way to stuff the parliament with PAP members with a minium of fuss. Why not just make all of Singapore one single GRC? Fair question.

Electoral borders for GRCs and electorates are carefully gerrymandered, building by building, floor by floor, flat by flat, bedroom by bedroom [joking! almost], so that, when the boundaries are announced only a few days before the election, the opposition is scrambling to work out where they should have been campaigning for the contest. The decision on GRC boundaries is in the PM’s department’s bailiwick. Any surprise there?

To top this off, voters in the electorates which vote against the government, even those electorates within PAP held GRCs, are outrageously harassed with threats of second-class treatment when it come to infrastructure works, such as the upgrading of HDB lifts (some of which only stop every second floor).

~~~~~~~~~~~

Somehow with the PAP vote dropping to 60%, from 66.6% last election and the lowest ever, they still managed to lose only one seat (from 82 of 84, to 81 of 87) although the percentage changes slightly due to the extra seats and the WP win. One must wonder what is going on. 60% of the vote and 93% of the seats, you do the math.

Yes, you heard right. There was an amazing turn-around this election, two ministers and four other parliamentarians were defeated in the GRC of Aljeneid by contenders from the Worker’s Party. The now former Foreign Minister George Yeo (about the only competent guy in the PAP, I hear) is gone. Amazing.

And to find talented people to replace him, the PAP will be up against it. Their members have never had to battle hard to win. Despite being extremely well paid the Singaporean parliamentarians (there is a thread viraling [new word!] FB and forums that the 30 most highly paid politicians in the world – not among the top 30, but THE top 30 – are Singaporeans) they have never had to seriously defend any of their policies against any strong opposition questions. Some can hardly speak in public, like blatant coat-tailer (but cute) Tin Pei Ling. In short they are lacking depth, talent and experience, whereas the opposition parties are bulking up their leaders with new blood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LKY, his PAP and Singapore: A city, and part of a continent. No true democracy. Why? Which is it? Not enough talent for a two party system, as PM Lee Hsien Loong says, or is all of Asia not ready for Western-style Democracy, as the received wisdom (received from Tunkul Mohammed Mahatir, or was it Uncle LKY?) had it when the Tiger Economies were in that boiling and bubbling cauldron prior to the 1998 crash?

In response to this essentially Chinese attitude, alleged Malaysian sodomite (not that there’s anything wrong with that) Amwar Ibrahim made some plangent comments about Confucian values versus Western attitudes to government a while ago. These comments were discussed in an article on the Singapore Democrats website last year:

Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and the leader of Partai Keadilan in Malaysia maintained that there were still apologists, diehard sceptics and proponents of autocracy who say that democracy is not meant for all cultures because it is largely a Western construct and certainly not the only system for the rest of the world. “Asian values[“?], for example, are said to be inherently incompatible with liberal democracy. The argument goes that the fundamental teachings of Confucius place great importance on filial piety and submission to state authority. He said that in Asia leaders of opposition parties and dissidents were incarcerated under draconian laws and no effort was spared in the war against ‘subversive elements’ and the ‘enemies’ of the people. He said that that the Asian values’ argument and ‘we-are-not-yet-ready-for-democracy’ excuse as nothing more than a doctrine for the justification of authoritarian rule. “There are still governments that are founded on the perpetuation of power not by free and fair elections but from arbitrary succession from the father to the son, or from one military clique to another, or even from one power elite to the next. And there are those who appear to have all the characteristics of a liberal democracy in so far as their domestic governance is concerned but they continue to violate human rights with impunity.”

No wonder they wanted him out of the way. He tells it like it is, allegedly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With the way the Singapore elections are set-up, it is not the success of the Tiger economy style of Asia (free markets, expensive politicians) nor the people’s support for paternalistic and serf-like Confucian values which contribute to the ruling parties winning again. As Ibramin says, it is blasting opposition members into bankruptcy and jail, detaining rebels – who refuse to apologize to LKY – without trial for up to 23 years (Communist Party member Chia Thye Poh is the longest political detainee in the 20th century, longer than Nelson Mandela, longer possibly than the Man In The Iron Mask), last-minute gerrymandering, and the vote-stacking system of the GRC that so far have enshrined the dynasty of the Lee family.

Dynasty? The Great Man, Lee Kwan Yue and his son(!), Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong are Chairman and Deputy Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Government Investment Corporation (GIC) which runs Singapore’s foreign reserves around the world (about US$330 billion), and Hsien Loong’s wife(!) is a director of Temasek Holdings which handles investments primarily in Asia (about US$186 billion).

Dinner table conversation must be interesting.

“Have we fucked up any major investments lately, dad? What about you, honey?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Enough. Apologies for the bad logic, grammar and typing. No time fix just yet.

E@L

** This paragraph amended.

Don’t Mention The Scalp – Reuters Journalists In Shit Storm of Political Correctness

Posted in journalism, political correctness, WTF by expatatlarge on April 19, 2011

Seriously, this is bullshit. Reprimands and sackings over absolutely nothing!

I have blogged about a friend of mine, Andrew Marshall, before. He is one of the guys in the spot of PC bother alluded to above. I chatted with Andrew on FB about his predicament last week, when he thought he was the guy about to walk the plank after a bit chat-room banter went from mole-hill to mountain at Thompson Reuters last week…

But things have developed quickly over there. It was not Andrew who took the brunt, but David Fox, the colleague he was chatting with. Unfortunately for the cause of world sanity, it was a internal chat-line open to others from Thompson Reuters. Someone was offended, not so much by Andrews light-hearted witty line, but from David Fox’s response.

Here is an article from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post that I will paste in its entirety in the interests of fair comment and common piracy, as otherwise you (I) would have to pay a year’s membership. (And get used to that!)

The bald facts behind a hair-raising sacking
LAI SEE
Howard Winn
Apr 19, 2011

These days you need to have more than good reporting and editing skills to keep a job at Thomson Reuters. If the fate of two of its senior journalists is anything to go by you need to have a political correctness radar tuned to the sensitivities of its recently appointed editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler.

The two journalists got into hot water over a brief exchange in a company messaging chat room during the middle of the night while both were covering the recent Japanese disaster. The two journalists were Andrew Marshall who is based in Singapore and David Fox who in January was promoted to Jakarta bureau chief. When the exchange occurred Marshall was in Singapore and Fox was in Tokyo. Marshall attempts some gallows humour in what was a tense situation, and inquires of Fox, who is bald: “So how is the radiation mate? Has your hair been falling out?” For this remark Marshall was formally reprimanded and given a warning letter. Fox, it has to be said, replied somewhat coarsely but alas, we cannot repeat it.

Despite his 20 years’ service with the company he is given the option of resigning with three months salary or of being fired and receiving one month’s pay. The decision to oust him is believed to have been taken by Adler. Friends say he is likely to take legal action to obtain better terms from the company.

The punishments have infuriated staff throughout the world and both journalists have been inundated with e-mails of support expressing outrage at the punishment. It is a particularly bitter blow for Fox, having covered something like 35 wars for the company, to be laid low by a careless comment. But people at the company say that the fairly robust culture that existed at Reuters before the Thomson takeover is changing and will change further under Adler. People say he did good things at BusinessWeek where he was editor-in-chief for five years.

South China Morning Post

Hardly gallows humour, but if only David has just replied with “ha ha”, I am sure neither of them would have been reprimanded, let alone sacked. If only…

There was also a more subdued article in The Guardian in the UK, which I will merely link to as it free online. Well, maybe a brief quote:

There is also a belief that the decision, which was made by Reuters in the US, is further proof of the agency’s Americanisation since it was acquired three years ago by Thomson.

A little bit of trans-atlantic rivalvry there, what? And probably unnecessary as political correctness is not an exclusive national trait. But I really hope that this blows back into the faces of Adler and the powers that be at TR and that Fox and Andrew manage successful suits against them, should they decide to pursue that path.

After reading both articles, I put up this comment on The Guardian’s website:

At first Andrew Marshall (who was bureau chief in Baghdad during the Fallujah dramas) thought it was himself in the firing line, as he too was given a warning and letter of reprimand.

You go to these wars, see your buddies get killed, and still you provide reports from the amazing stress at the front-line, reports that keep up the company’s profit as they keep the world informed. Then you get pinged for a throw-away chat-line comment.

And Fox, who is bald, sees his career explode over his somewhat coarse response to his buddy over this line: “So how is the radiation mate? Has your hair been falling out?”.

Perspective? Editor-in-chief Adler seems to have none.

Sigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I blogged about a similar story of Political Correctness in Australia when a good friend of mine in Melbourne got into hot water a few years ago: Sad Sick Little World.

When I sent this blog-post to Andrew, he said, “I once had a harassment claim made against me. It was total nonsense and luckily I had e-mail and other written evidence to prove that. Nevertheless, outside of the violent death of friends and colleagues, it was the worst experience of my life.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

In a recent post on his blog, Andrew tells of these violent deaths and what it’s like being a journalist on the front-line. The timing of which post was not necessarily coincidental…

Those of us who worked in Reuters in Baghdad were big fans of Pirates of the Caribbean. We agreed between us that there were some principles we would always try to live our lives by. We called it the Pirate Code. The first rule was that we would never, ever, give up on somebody unless we knew absolutely for certain that all hope was gone.

I still follow the Pirate Code today.

If anybody wonders why I fight for lost causes: now you know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andrew just said this on my FB page: “It was a ridiculous decision and I refuse to accept it.”

I hope that the cause of David Fox and Andrew Marshall, for common sense to be restored at Thompson Reuters, is far from lost.

E@L

Here Now!

Posted in AEI, japan, Onanism, WTF by expatatlarge on September 2, 2010

The future of masturbation!

E@L’s perineal, sorry, he means personal fave, the discreetly named Flip-Hole.

Quote “If it could cook and do housework it would be the ideal woman replacement. Hats off to the inventor of this little marvel.” /Quote

~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, the AEIJ (Assisted Ejaculation Industry of Japan), it never ceases to amaze and amuse, horrify and terrify, make shake your head, tuck those soiled school-girl knickers back into your pocket and mumble….

WHAT

THE

FUCK?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OK true confession time.

E@L admits that he DOES have a masturbation aide. Her name is Ms W***. She’s cute, a real person, Malaysian, skillful like you have no idea, weighs about 47kg and she makes a lot of money at the H**** R**** massage parlor.

Maybe one day Bruce (who put E@L on to the place) will detail those skills.

E@L

Spam Spam Spam Spam

Posted in spam, WTF by expatatlarge on April 20, 2010

Spam comments are getting through the word verification! WTF? 

The last three comments have been spam…  Anyone have any ideas?

If some spam bastard generator answers this comment I’m gonna scream.

E@L

The Nobel Prize for THE GREATEST LIVING PERSON IN WORLD LITERATURE

Posted in Nobel Prize, WTF by expatatlarge on October 8, 2009

…goes to someone no-one outside of her closeted family and introverted friends have ever heard of… and E@L smiles an inscrutable smile and sits back, knowing his day will surely come.

From The Daily Mail last year, when some unknown French dude, LeClezio (a berm? A BERM?), won The Prize:

The last U.S. writer to win the prize was Toni Morrison in 1993.

“The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature,” Engdahl said. “That ignorance is restraining.”

His comments were met with fierce reactions from the literary world
across the Atlantic. The head of the U.S. National Book Foundation offered to send Engdahl a reading list.

In Sweden, Jonas Thente, a literature critic at daily Dagens Nyheter, said he hoped U.S. writers Thomas Pynchon [YAY!] and Don DeLillo [not so much vit de YAYing] would share the prize.

“This year’s scandal is about American literature, which has more or less been disrespected by the secretary of the academy,” Thente said in a video clip on the newspaper’s Web site. “I would hope that the big American postmodern novel finally gets the prize.”

The academy often picks obscure writers, making it nearly impossible to predict a winner, but Engdahl denied that academy tries to surprise observers.

“We get astonished by the fact that the general public finds the choice so unexpected,” he said. “Those who finally get the award and become laureates are often old acquaintances, they are old goodies that the academy has chewed on for quite a while and therefore know very well.”

Other names mentioned in speculation on the 2008 prize include Romanian novelist Herta Muller[sic], Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Danish poet Inger Christensen.

Herta Mueller [correct spelling]? Who the fuck? How far up your own arse do you have to be, I swear, as if there aren’t dozens, hundreds, of people who haven’t done more for world literature than this – I am sure personable and lovely – lady (unlike that psycho-bitch Elfriede Jelinek who didn’t even turn up [whom I admire, and I loved The Piano Teacher]), who deserve a pat on the back and cup of tea and a million bucks worth of encouragement more than this niche market nobody. For her to be up there with Thomas Mann, Patrick White and Germaine Greer [whom she resembles, nicht var?], I don’t think so!

~~~~~~~~~~~

But if being obscure and unknown means winning The Prize…

E@L? yeah I know him, I saw him it at the Wine Connection tonight on Robinson Walk, writer guy on the innergneck. He was pissed again. HE should win the Nobled prize, fer sher, if for nothing else then this interchange with the venerable Milos on the noble medium of the SMS:

Milos: Can’t come and join you guys. My sister is depressed.

E@L: Your sister is depressed? Well, mine… has her moments too – trumps to me.

Milso: Nah, she just got cancer.

E@L: Mmm…. bad… sorry to hear.

Milos: I’ll get over it, she’ll die.

E@L: Cancer therapy these days, man she’ll live forever. You, however, ARE doomed. Me, I won’t live long enough to get cancer. How many fat old guys you see?

Milos: Come live with me, it’s like Belsen over here, without the good uniforms of course.

E@L (runs out of inspiration, gets depressed, conversation peters out…)

Sigh. The world is fucked, the good people get cancer, the unknown win the lottery.

E@L

Ups And Downs

Posted in feet, lifts, rants, Singapore, WTF by expatatlarge on October 17, 2008

The Bad Feet are still here. The neurologist has offered me a different SNRI this time, a different drug to Effexor, called Cymbalta. I just popped one. It also has a warning against Serotonin Syndrome if you are on Tramadol (an opioid pain reliever), which I am. A 1% chance of getting hit with that again. Let’s see what happens over the week-end, hopefully not a repeat of last time’s waking nightmare…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do others find the lift at the Gleneagles Medical Centre as shitful as I do?

There are six lifts in a semi-circular foyer in the clinic entrance at, strangely enough, Level 2.

There is always a crowd there, gathering in the vast tracts of time between when lifts going UP arrive, as the lifts are never going in the right direction. I am on the verge of being late. I had long ago decided, coming here frequently both for myself and work, that it is best to get into a lift that is going DOWN to the carpark levels rather than to wait the interminable wait for one going UP. That is because lifts from the carpark levels will be full when they arrive at Level 2 on the way UP. That is not necessarily because lots of people got in at the carpark levels, but because other people got in at Level 2 when it was going DOWN, because they couldn’t be fucked waiting for one going UP, and because they *knew* that when it arrived it would be full because other people like themselves who had gotten in the lift at Level 2 when it was going DOWN as well in order to ensure a spot in the lift when the left stops at Level 2 on the way UP again. Exhale.

When a full lift on the way UP stops at Level 2 because someone has pressed the UP button, all the other lifts that were DOWN in the carpark level, and they are almost empty unless someone from Level 2 has already gotten in when it was going DOWN, they keep bypassing Level 2 on their way UP because there is already a lift stopped there marked as going UP.

Then it takes ages for the doors on the lift that has stopped at Level 2 on the way UP to close. Just when they are about to completely close so that the full lift can go UP and away and allow another lift going UP to stop, some bright spark presses the UP button again… and so the alarms Pings loudly and the doors reopen on the full lift and all the other lifts continue going UP and bypass Level 2 again. The people in the full lift that have been standing there for 5 minutes (they’ve probably gone DOWN in order to go UP too) stare daggers at the fuck-wit who just pressed the UP button. When the doors starts to close again, usually there is yet another fresh fuck-wit just rushing in from the taxi drop-off, late for an appointment, who presses the UP button again. Ping! Open! Sighs of anger and frustration arise from both the lift passengers and from those in the milling crowd who are still waiting to get on a lift going UP for their appointment – which they are now late for as well. Here we have a lift trapped, not between floors, but on Level 2 because of the stupidity of these people and the incredibly bad computer system which fails to prioritize Level 2 as an ALWAYS stop level for all lifts…

A lift comes, going DOWN, announcing itself with a loud Ping! A few people get out and I get in. No-one is left in it to go DOWN, so I wonder why is it marked as going DOWN? There are no other lower levels highlighted. Fucking stupid computer system, like I say. A few others join me, realizing they too must go DOWN before they can go UP. I press Level 5 and the door closes. Ping! It opens again, with the UP button now lit. Other stupid people get in and start pressing all sorts of numbers and I am forced the the rear of the lift. When the full lift reaches Level 5, I have a crisis of confidence. Shit, no, my Doctor is on Level 7. I stay there minding my business, and people in the lift look around for who was the fuckwit who pressed Level 5 and didn’t get out. I look down at my watch, suddenly concerned about time; shit, am I that late? My second hand has come unstuck, I notice. It flops around as I move my wristwatch. Fuck. Level 7 Pings. As many people had gotten out on Level 6, the lift is not so crowded. I wander out and look for the directory of Doctors on the wall. Mine is not there. Shit. It WAS Level 5.

The lift has gone; it was going UP anyway. I press the DOWN button. Pings are resounding everywhere. The semicircular arrangement of lifts resonates the Ping from all levels and all lifts with very little attenuation. They Ping really loudly no matter which Level they are Pinging from. I am forever turning around when a Ping goes off behind me, but there is no lift there, just the sound ringing from some other level where a lift has arrived.

I see the lights of a lift going DOWN come on long before I hear any Ping. Then, Ping! I join the people in the lift going DOWN and press Level 5. I am thinking how stupid I am to think the Doctor was on Level 7. Am I on drugs? There is a Ping and the door opens. I wander out and look for the directory of Doctors on the wall. Mine is not there. Shit. WTF?

I go back to the lift foyer and press DOWN. I wait for a lift to take me to Level 2. Ping. Ping. Ping. I am really late now. Finally I get to Level 2 and check the complete directory of all floors. My Doctor IS on Level 5. WTF? I SHOULD be on drugs, it might help…

Again, I am on Level 2 with the UP lift problems… [Reread those paragraphs.]

I get to Level 5 eventually. Ping. I see my Doctor’s name on the directory, which is laid out differently to the one I had looked at when I thought was Level 5 a few minutes ago. I must have got out on *Level 6* last time! I had heard the Ping and had gotten out when the lift stopped, without checking the level. Shit!

I rush as fast as… well I hobble up to the Doctors office at my max speed. I know he has 15 minute slots, and I am now 12 minutes after my time.

“Take a seat,” says the receptionist. The waiting-room is empty. “The Doctor is running late.”

E@L