Thursday, 19 January 2012

Short-sighted And Surrounded By Taxis?

Being short-sighted can lead to some embarrassing misunderstandings and at times, even be dangerous. I'm back to commuting on a Thursday and Friday, working temporarily in a part-time position in a school. As part of my daily commute, I'm reunited with Metro and today was struck by an article about the Metropolitan Police that rang true and instantly made me chuckle.

Back in my first year at Leeds University on a black winter night, I recall almost flagging down a police car believing it to be a taxi. My already slightly short-sighted vision combined with a few drinks and the darkness to convince me the approaching vehicle would be my ride home. Thankfully nothing bad came of this but some weeks later a police car actually drove a friend and I back to our hall of residence. I hadn't done anything wrong but as it was a Bank Holiday and bus services were limited the kindly policeman thought it wise to offer to drive us home, rather than us walk the half an hour along remote dark unlit pavements. Amusingly, speaking to a friend recently, I discovered he had a similar experience with the police, also in his first year. Perhaps we all just looked particularly naive and vulnerable, who knows?

Today's main news article about the Met's phone bill was accompanied by a tiny NIB about a police officer facing disciplinary action after posting remarks on Twitter that the police force were comparable to a "taxi service". He wrote these comments negatively about the force when in actual fact I have both quite literally mistaken the police for a taxi service and rather beneficially been chauffeur-driven to safety by a thoughtful officer.

The main body of the news article stated the Met had spent £35,000 on 110,000 calls to the speaking clock in the past two years. This particularly tickled me as only last week I spent some time analysing a text aimed at EAL learners in order to teach them about the services offered by dialling certain numbers. In the A'Level English Language class, we all decided many dial-up services are now somewhat archaic and almost obsolete as the Internet provides quicker and more in-depth answers. I really can not imagine why the Met are so frequently ringing the talking clock at 31p a minute when officers are surely all equipped with a phone, if not a watch when out and about. Still I guess someone beyond possibly the blind and more old-fashioned need to keep it going?

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