13 Aug 2007

Remember I introduced him to you all a couple of Dispatches ago? The Grumpiest Man In England And, Therefore, By Definition The Grumpiest Man In The Milky Way? Well, it’s so funny because I didn’t know about it at the time and only discovered afterwards that his nickname is in reality, actually Grumpy!

Anyway, I’m thinking of making Keith a regular feature on the Dispatch.

Keith argues with the Sat Nav Girl. The following scene has happened so many times when we’ve been out on road trips:

Sat Nav Girl: ‘… in one hundred yards stay right and then move left before right turn four hundred yards, keeping left and veering right. Commence left veer now…

Keith: ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

Four hundred yards later, we’re lost.

Sat Nav Girl: ‘… standby… recalculating…’

Keith: ‘You stupid !¶!!¶!. I’ve had it up to here with your !!0¶!¶-! stupid ¶!¶!ing pathetic ¶!¶!ing instructions that are completely ¶!¶!ing pointless!!!

I actually suspect he deliberately sets the Sat Nav to Irish Sat Nav Girl, Catriona, because he likes being obnoxious to her. Whenever we have the English Sat Nav Girl, Sarah, he shows much more respect. (But, on the other hand, after listening to any Sat Nav Girl for any length of time you do begin to pine for the old days when you nearly threw your wife out of the car on some dodgy back street when you discovered her navigating you through Rome with a map of Paris. (A Paris Hilton voiced Sat Nav would be kind of cool: ‘Go, like left. Oh, I meant like right. Whatever…’))

Anyway…  back to Keith. Remember, now, he’s English and he sounds just a little bit like he’d belong in the ITV Formula 1 commentary box. He’s always ‘mildly amazed’ at things.

We were in the States in an airport fast food restaurant watching golf on a giant screen TV - I think it was actually the U.S. Open - when Keith said, ‘Some of these American golfers really have screwed up names.’

And I said, ‘No. That’s Padraig Harrington He’s not American. He’s Irish.’

‘You mean,’ said Keith, ‘there’s an Irish guy playing on the American Circuit?’ (not so much a question as an incredulity)

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘he’s very highly rated.’

‘You mean like Nick Faldo or someone like that?’ asked Keith.

‘Actually, I think Padraig is a little ahead of Nick in the rankings at the moment.’ 

‘Can’t be,’ said Keith, and then he uttered the words ‘or else I would have heard of him.’

Well, Keith, you’ve heard of him now. And eight hundred years of occupation and oppression were never so well rewarded.

(Actually Keith, this might make you feel better. After I’d made a very mild comment in a newspaper about British bureaucracy, a guy on another website called me a Brit Basher! Cool, eh?

I think we should bring him on one of our field trips, strap him into the back of the SUV and see how long he lasts… I wonder how he would have fared the night we were in Phoenix and Australian Sat Nav Girl, Leonie, told us to ‘veeah lift’ and we all ended up in a really weird and dangerous place and Leonie got such a race-laced tongue lashing she actually refused to give us any more instructions. I actually thought she was going to start crying!)

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