Saturday, August 18, 2007

A record of non-existent people I have met

Today my sister and I got harrassed by a Speaker Box at our local KFC drive-thru. I'd heard of such things happening, but I simply didn't believe it was possible. Boxes that bite back. Hmm. Plus, it had three different voices; two female and one male.
A record of non-existent people I have met


I often meet Train Platform Chap while standing around on North Melbourne Station. His voice comes out over the intercom in polite but authoritative tones, addressing you and all the other passengers:
Good evening, passengers.
The next train to arrive on platform 2 will be the 9.10 Upfield.
The next train to arrive on platform 2 will be the 9.10 Upfield.
Remember to validate your ticket before boarding.
Of course, if you haven't validated your ticket, you're likely to shuffle your feet, look at the ground, and swear at Train Platform Chap while he is speaking. If you have validated, then you will unconsciously hold your head up high and feel just a little better for having acted according to Train Platform Chap's moral code.

He'd be awful in other situations, though. Imagine having Train Platform Chap as your Dad:
Good evening, children.
The next dish to be served on table 2 will be the 9.10 Cauliflower.
The next dish to be served on table 2 will be the 9.10 Cauliflower.
Remember to validate your ticket before eating.
Yes: if you're going to meet non-existent Train Platform Chap, then it's better to meet him at the North Melbourne, platform 2, rather than after you get off the train and go home.

Mobile Phone Guy appears when you are calling somebody else on the phone. You don't want to speak to Mobile Phone Guy, and Mobile Phone Guy doesn't seem very interested in you, either. He says, in broken tones, as if he is reading at random from a long list of sins you have committed:
You have - three minutes - thirty seconds - remaining.
What business is it of Mobile Phone Guy how many minutes you have remaining, anyway? Why does he decide how many minutes you have remaining? How did Mobile Phone Guy get on your mobile phone, anyway, and how can you tell that he isn't actually listening in to your other conversations?

Mobile Phone Guy is a bloody bastard. Worse - he's your bloody bastard.

Kodak Picture Machine Canadian lurks within the depths of the Kodak Picture Machine at your nearest OfficeWorks shop. At sudden intervals, he will bark pointlessly at you:
Share and enjoy your pictures with everyone you know!
He also offers suggestions about what you might like to do with your pictures, while images of smiling families flick past you. You might just as well have come to develop pictures of your sister picking her nose, or something like that, but Kodak Picture Machine Canadian doesn't care. Indeed, there is something altogether too sinister about him: he is guilty of hidden shallownesses. He has a burning desire for you to share and enjoy your pictures with everyone you know, and once you have shared and enjoyed your pictures with everyone you know, he wants you to share and enjoy your pictures with everyone you know. He wants you to be happy, and once you are happy, he just wants you to be happy. (To say he has a one-track mind would be a generous overestimation).

Of course, you suspect that Kodak Picture Machine Canadian harbours another fantasy, that of running off with one of his customers and having it off with them. It's not that he wants to do this, it's just that he wants to want it.

We used to have the number of Telephone Time Lady when we were kids. We'd call her up and she would tell us the time. It didn't matter what time it was, but she'd tell us what it was anyway. And we wouldn't get any of that, 'it's bedtime for you!', or 'time to go to school!'. Nope, it was more,
At the third beep, the time will be fifteen minutes and five seconds past three.
God knows what Telephone Time Lady did in the times that nobody called her up to ask her what the time was. Played cards, maybe. Not that she's ever going to run out of material. Hell, there's twenty four hours, sixty minutes in every hour, sixty seconds in every minute, and innumerable beeps to get through.

My brothers and I have since lost the number of Telephone Time Lady, but I strongly suspect that if I ever had occasion to call that number again - say, to find out the time - she'd still be there, reading out the time, in a voice as ageless (and somewhat more inspiring) as an income tax form. Hoorah for Telephone Time Lady!


Caz said...

She died waiting for you to call back.

The Telephone Time Lady, that is.


The Telephone Time Lady is now a Telephone Time Man.

TimT said...

To be there at that moment!

On the third beep, the time will be 4 o'clock and 12 minutes and fifteen sec- AAARGH! I can't BRE


(Smugly) On the third beep, the time will be 4 o'clock and 12 minutes and 20 seconds.


On the third beep...

(etc, etc, etc)

alexis said...

I have a little friend in my computer. He has the most testicle-rattling bass you've ever heard, and intones, on the hour, "It's eight o'clock" (or equivalent). Without his reminder of passing time, I could whittle away whole weeks watching infant pandas on you-tube.

TimT said...

Infant pandas? Enfant terrible! Where are they?

Caz said...

Aaawww, look, there's an infant panda ...

*instantly forgets that Tim killed the Telephone Time Lady, from neglect*

*Tim who?*

nailpolishblues said...

At least he didn't kill the radio star.

TimT said...

Monte did that. Montevideo, that is.

nailpolishblues said...

Ah, Tim, you're better than a riddle and I'm just as stupid at understanding you as I am at understanding them.

I do, however, now know that Montevideo is the largest city, capital and chief port of Uruguay - thank you Wiki.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Telephone Time Man was responsible for her death? He got tired of short term gigs like stating bank balances for the big 4 and moved in for a promotion. It's steady work, after all.

Caz said...

Indeed, it is also timely work.

Anonymous said...

He's a bit of a clock watcher though.

Mark said...

How do you know the picture guy is Canadian, eh?

TimT said...

Because he has a Canadian accent. Which is to say he has the accent of a character in that 'Babar' cartoon that was made in Canada. Also, I think OfficeWorks is a Canadian company.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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