It’s a Tuesday morning in early February. Leith smells like damp cabbage, and Radiohead are playing in the Hideout. Not literally, of course, but on magnetic tape, which is surely the next best thing.
Before leaving the house, I asked Siri for the temperature. 1 degree, she said, rising to 9 tonight. NINE degrees, Britons. Spring is surely not far away.
Sometimes, on days when I am going to be in Balerno (that’s most days), I ask Siri for the forecast for Balerno. Occasionally this is a surprisingly warm and sunny report, which seems too good to be true, and so I check the screen, and it turns out it is too good to be true, as Siri has delivered the weather forecast for Bologna. Or sometimes Palermo. One’s diction is not always crystal clear early in the morning.
But sometimes my articulation is not to blame. On one occasion I was driving along Seafield, with its plethora of car showrooms and garages lined up along the shore. Impulsively desiring some car-related window-shopping, I requested that Siri tell me where my nearest Honda showroom was.
“Hey Siri, where’s my nearest Honda showroom?” I asked. Just like that.
“The closest one I see is Honda Showroom & Service Centre in Penang. Is that the one you want?”
Penang. Yes, of course it is.
“OK. Would you like me to get directions?”
Yes, yes, I really would.
But, unaccountably, she was unable to provide me with directions to my nearest Honda Showroom, 6,420 miles away in Penang.
I tried a different tack.
“Hey Siri, where’s my nearest Honda garage?”
“Garage Zollig”, she said. 993 miles away, in Switzerland. Am probably not going to make it to either of those places and be back in time for dinner. Another day, maybe.
On the domestic administration front, the laundry has been taken to a whole new level. One of my Christmas presents this year was a fine-looking v-neck jumper. I proudly wore it to the last Akva of the year, shortly before we failed to go clubbing.
Somebody, I can’t remember who now, commented on how fine it looked. I was gratified.
“Extra fine merino wool,” I announced, grandly.
I believe time stood still at this moment. I am sure that all 140 people inside Akva, as one, raised their eyebrow. There may even have been an audible drawing in of breath.
“Ooh,” said one.
“Hand-wash,” said another.
“No. Please no,” I said. When a label says hand-wash only I tend to read that as single use item – please dispose of responsibly after use.
I found the care instructions on the label. The machine wash symbol did not have a cross through it. I was mightily relieved. However, the paragraph of tiny almost-illegible text beneath contained all kinds of arcane wording. Something about wool detergent, and a cleaning net.
Unaccustomed as I am to such extreme clothes-washing techniques, I did what any right-thinking nigh-on 45 yr old man would do. I visited my mum.
Mum had a cleaning net. Mums always have these kind of things. She even had some silk/wool detergent, which, she assured me, she had acquired from me, circa 2003 I think. It didn’t look like the kind of product that would go off, exactly, so I gave it a whirl last week.
I may have been too generous with my application of detergent. Peering in, worriedly, mid-cycle, there seemed to be an unfeasible amount of foam behind the glass. However, while I haven’t worn the v-neck in question just yet, it’s looking good. Perhaps a bit less shapely than it once was…