I don’t talk to myself. That would feel a bit mad. I talk to things. Totally sane, right? Well, not silent things like the sofa or a cup but automated things. Things that pretend to be chatty. When a newsreader says goodnight, I will tend to say goodnight back. Rude not to. And, on a good day, I thank the cashpoint.
But that’s where the good humour ends. “The doors are closing,” announces the world’s slowest lift. “Thank fuck for that – about bloody time,” say I. But not, obviously if the lift is in any way populated. Having conversations when scrunched into a life full of strangers is super-odd. Discussing your weekend. Sounding like those bints from the old Philadelphia advert.
“Please continue to hold. You are a valued customer,” she coos. “Really? REALLLY?” after two minutes. “Oh fucking come ON.” After five. “You c***” after ten. And then I slam the phone down in a very Miss Piggy-ish way except there is no one to see and I’ve now lost my place in the buggering queue. Sorry (not sorry) about the swearing. But who sugarcoats it when they talk to machines?
I plead with the parking payment apps when they do that loading-forever thing and I am late. “Oh please hurry up. Please don’t do this now.” And what about when Sky crashes? I get positively biblical. “Why God why? Why me? Tonight of all nights.” Like there is ever a good time.
If, say, British Gas or Barclays Fraud Department recorded what was happening when their customers were on hold, I wonder what they would hear. The whole gamut of human emotions, I suspect. Much of it less than pretty.