Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An apology

Every now and again I have that experience of, as it were, hearing for the first time a word or phrase I have in fact used hundreds of times. Often, it's a name, for instance: there is a peculiar out-of-bodiness to the realisation that "I am an 'Edward'", and "that is how my name sounds".

So this morning, for reasons of mental free association, I found myself 'hearing for the first time' the phrase 'a pain in the arse'. I have used this phrase, ooh, about eleventy-twenty times in the last year. But I had never given it a moment's reflection. It was always a reflex usage.

And I thought about it, its meaning, its sound, what would have prompted the first user of this phrase so to use it .... that sort of thing.

Sitting on the Number 13 bus, I started sniggering. If any of the people seated opposite me on that bus - and I fully appreciate you might have wondered if I was about pull down my velvet gaberdine pantaloons prior to swining from the handrails - are reading this, I apologise for my tourette's-like behaviour.

Just promise to think about the phrase, that's all.


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