My friend Aisha rang me last night in hysterics. She recounted the following tale, which I shall duly recount to you in blog form. If you want, you can recreate her recounting of the story fairly accurately by reading this out loud amongst constant girlish giggles. This is also an important director’s note in case radio 4 are thinking of turning this story into a miniplay. Once I’ve got my foot in the door at Thought for the Day HQ, there’ll be no stopping me. They might even decommission Bellowhead and get the Young’uns to record the Archers theme tune instead.
Anyway, there was a knock at Aisha’s front door. Upon answering, she was greeting by a man who seemingly had a severe speech impairment. He was making a few noises but was mainly attempting to communicate by making gestures with his hands. As Aisha is blind, these gestures didn’t enlighten her about what he was trying to say. She explained that she couldn’t see enough to interpret his gestures. He seemed perturbed by this, and for a moment he did nothing while he presumably reassessed the situation and devised a new method of communicating with her. However, after a few seconds, he resumed his noises and gestureings, only with added intensity, getting closer to her and frantically waving his hands in her face. She reciprocated by shouting louder at the man, repeating the fact that she couldn’t see him enough to work out what he was trying to communicate.
This is kind of similar to the stereotypical behaviour of an Englishman on holiday when trying to communicate with someone who speaks a different language to them.
“Do you speak English?”
“Je ne comprends pas, Desolé”.
“Dooooo, yooooooo, speeeeeeeek, iiiiiiinnnnngliiiiiiiish!!!!!!!”
I look forward to the day when Aliens come to earth to visit us, but hope they don’t land on British soil. It would be a tad embarrassing for the whole world – watching their TVs expectantly – to hear the British Prime Minister greet our new arrival by saying, “Do you speak English?”
The alien would probably respond with “Bllepy, beepy, bleep, beep bleep beep”, which of course means “I don’t understand, sorry”. The Prime Minister will then nobly step closer to the alien and shout while pointing wildly in front of its face. “Dooooo, yoooo, speeeeeek, iiiiiiingliiiiiiish!!!!!!!!!!!”
I look forward to radio 4 working with me to turn this hilarious idea into an award winning sketch on my new flagship comedy program. It would be handy for me if you could arrange a meeting about this when I’m in the building recording my Thought for the Day segment.
As expected then, this communication method did nothing to help the situation and after a few more seconds, Aisha and the man stopped their fruitless communication attempts while they considered their next move. They decided not to try the same method for a third time – getting even closer to each other’s face and shouting and pointing with even more intensity. Although if this was a sketch on Little Britain, it would of course go on like this for an entire series, with Aisha and the man having individual catchphrases that they would shout at the close of each episode’s sketch; although no one in the audience would understand the catchphrase of the man with the speech impairment, but the viewers will laugh anyway.
The next move that the man made took Aisha aback, and she was unable to compose herself in time to react. The man thrust something into her hands and then walked off. She stood there, holding the object. It was a potted plant. She stood with it for a few seconds, wondering what the heck was going on, but the man had already gone and so she couldn’t ask questions – not that she would understand his response anyway.
We postulated on what the whole thing had been about. The best theory I came up with was that it might have been an odd stunt as part of a new TV comedy show. Perhaps a comedian had decided to film himself doing something completely random to a person like knock on their door, point and shout nonsense in their faces and then hand them a potted plant before walking off. Perhaps he will return to her house the next day with a new gift. Maybe the sketch is based around a kind of anachronistic “partridge in a pair tree” motif. Each day, for the next twelve days, he will go to the same lady’s house and try to ingratiate himself with her by presenting her with random gifts. But there’s an extra layer of quirkiness to the whole comedian’s concept: his challenge is to do this without speaking; he must communicate solely with noises and gestures. Perhaps he was already aware that Aisha was blind and chose her especially, adding another layer of complexity to the comedian’s routine. Or perhaps the whole thing was a beautiful discovery which has added an inadvertent dimention to this comedian’s crazy idea. This is the kind of idea Dave Gorman might entertain, or possibly a Dave Gormanesque upstart. Perhaps one challenge is to see if this strange event will make it on to Google. Dave Gorman will be searching for words like “random potted plant incident” and “blind girl potted plant speech impaired man” in the hope of finding her interpretation of the story on her Facebook page, or maybe the story on a friend’s blog. Well hello Mr Gorman. I’m on to you. I know you’re reading this, and I know what I’m writing is being broadcast on TV, and so I might as well take this opportunity to alert you of the fact that my alien/Prime Minister comedy sketch is copyright, so don’t you even think about stealing it and pretending it’s your own!
I wonder what will happen next. Will Dave Gorman now focus his next random event on me, or is there yet another layer of complexity to this whole thing? Well I’m ready Mr Gorman! I’m ready for you if you come to my house, make a series of noises and gestures, then hand me an antique washing mangle before walking off into the distance to do a Google search for “man in Hartlepool antique washing mangle”. Be warned though, Mr Gorman, that I am also blind, and so you’d get the same kind of reaction to your gestures that you got with my friend, which may make for a rather repetitive show, unless you’re going for that Little Britain thing. I don’t mind though. If you want to come to my house and do some recording for your new TV program then I’m well up for it. I’ve prepared a few lines to spice it up a bit. But I won’t be happy if I see my alien/Prime Minister sketch on the TV or if I hear you on Thought for the Day talking about racist women on busses!