Sunday, May 29, 2005

At The Third Stroke

The other day the television mind-bender Derren Brown said that some people are able to guess the correct time - or rather know the time - without looking at a clock. I think I am one of those people.
Last night I went to bed soon after 10.30 and read a book. (That habit once got me into trouble in an indirect way. A Geordie bus driver, captivated by my southern charm, had designs on me that weren't entirely honourable. "What do you do in bed?" he said. [Geordies don't beat around the bush, not that bush was uppermost in his mind at the time]. Always unable to distinguish between situations where frivolity is acceptable and those where it is not, I replied "Well sometimes I read a book and sometimes I listen to Today In Parliament." His exact reply would be incomprehensible to most of my readers but it included the words 'divn't' (don't), 'teake' and 'piss' and something about putting my spectacles where I'd never find them. Awfully foolish of me really. I might never have had to pay a fare again on the bus route to Spital Tongues. Yes, that's a real place in Newcastle not a Geordie term for French kissing).

Anyway, I was in bed reading my book and facing away from the clock and eventually thought 'I'd better go to sleep now. It's almost midnight.' Then I thought 'How do I know that? I haven't looked at the clock. It could be 11.30 or 12.45.' I actually wanted to be wrong but when I looked at the clock it was two minutes to midnight.
I can also often guess the time fairly accurately when I wake up. That's less impressive because there are many subliminal clues like the amount of light in the room, the amount of birdsong or the level of background traffic noise. Our brains are always processing all that sensory input without us being aware of it, like your computer doing mysterious 'background tasks' and finding that SMBDSM.Exe has a pathological hatred for Serif Photoplus which necessitates shutting down your computer and wiping everything you wrote that day.

Gosh, what a spooky old thing I am. Bet you're glad that there's miles of cabling and dozens of servers between us.
Because, you know, I think I sometimes telepathically transmit my own internal time signal to other people. Often when I'm talking to people they'll suddenly say "Good heavens, is that the time? I really must be going."


At 7:38 AM, Blogger JayMaster said...

'Spital Tongues' the 'spital' is obviously short for hospital as 'Spital Tongues' is near both the RVI and Hunters Moor Hospital, which I think was previously a plague/TB hospital? But where doe the tongue fit in? (Pretty obvious answer if we are back to the bus driver!)

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I wonder if the 'tongues' are the roads that radiate out from a crossroads? A lot of crossroads have odd names, like 'Seven Dials' in London which is the axis of seven roads.


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