The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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3:06pm on Wednesday, 28th October, 2009:

I Don't Know Why I Bother


We went to buy a new hedge trimmer yesterday, my father-in-law having worn out the old one on hedges, birds' nests, small mammals and its own cable. I handed over my credit card — which, as my credit cards often do, has my name on it — and the guy started filling out an invoice. I don't know why, they just do that kind of thing in hedge trimmer shops.

"What's your name?" he asked me.

Now I could have been mean and said "It's written on that credit card right in front of you", but instead I chose simply to tell him.

"It's Bartle", I said. "B A R". I paused; he wrote B A R; he paused. "T L E". I paused; he wrote, well, see for yourself:

I'm pretty sure I didn't say, "T O H", but that's what he wrote.

This happens all the time: people can get the B A R right, but when it comes to the T L E they recover what they have in their head from having heard me say "Bartle" and they write that down instead of what I tell them. What's particularly odd is that even though I say my name in my own accent, which is very clear on the presence of letters like T, they store it in their brains in their own accent; then, when it comes to writing it down, it emerges as BARTOO, BARTEL, BARDLE — all kinds of weird stuff.

I could probably say "B A R M A N" and they'd still write BARTIL or whatever...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).