Peaks of im­per­fec­tion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

And so I have the choice of sil­i­cone (sic) olives and crumbed beast (sic) of chicken, all within one (small) menu of the day. It makes me feel sic(k), ac­tu­ally. I imag­ine the olives all perky and un­rea­son­ably up­right and a great chook bear­ing down, about the size of old Foghorn Leghorn in those long-ago Warner Bros. car­toons. The waiter winces at the “beast” when I point it out but is as puz­zled as I am about the olives. He re­turns with the chef. “Si­cil­ian, not sil­i­cone,” she sighs. “Au­to­cor­rect … again.” I feel her pain, hav­ing re­cently in­quired via text about a friend’s “dead”, in­stead of “dear”, dog, which was re­cu­per­at­ing from an op.

One ver­sion of the Out­go­ing Pas­sen­ger Card we all fill in when de­part­ing Aus­tralia has a funny old typo. Un­der the sec­tion “main rea­sons for travel”, it in­quires if we are vis­it­ing “friends of rel­a­tives”. I know couch-surf­ing is all the rage, and some trav­ellers on a tight bud­get might well fancy hit­ting up, say, their Aunt Martha’s card-play­ing cronies for a free bed but, re­ally, does no one check such things. The most re­cent one I com­pleted (“de­sign date” 03/14, ac­cord­ing to the re­verse) is cor­rect, and has friends “or” rel­a­tives, but who knows how many of the oth­ers are still cir­cu­lat­ing. I wish I had a job “de­sign­ing” such cards be­cause if I did, the In­com­ing Pas­sen­ger Card would not be such a pale yel­low that it’s a chore to find the white boxes on which to write your an­swers.

I re­ally wish I didn’t no­tice printed er­rors as it is ex­haust­ing proof­read­ing the world and, in­creas­ingly, my- self, as my spellchecker-fu­elled writ­ing is a minefield. My part­ner hides be­hind avail­able shrub­bery when I march into shops and tell them to change their win­dow signs. It is not “shabby chick”, I point out in a home­wares em­po­rium, be­cause when it comes to Proven­cal pas­tels, chan­de­liers and pink cush­ions, there need be no chick­ens in­volved. I am greeted with blank stares and rolling of eyes and then feel dread­ful, more dis­tressed, in fact, than the el­e­gantly peel­ing $2000 ar­moire be­hind which I am now try­ing to con­ceal my­self.

Sneak peak? Oh, do not get me started. That one is a favourite among press re­lease writ­ers, some of whom are also tout­ing peak-a-boo shoes for sum­mer, which makes you think of the Mat­ter­horn try­ing to hide it­self be­hind a stan­dard lamp, just like we did as kids dur­ing hide-and­seek at an age when we were con­vinced that if we closed our eyes and stayed still, no one would be able to see us.

Then there is the overuse of on-trend words and hyped-up job de­scrip­tions. No­body cu­rated any­thing but art un­til about two years ago and now ev­ery­one is at it. There are cu­ra­tors of cock­tails and wardrobes, tours and “ex­pe­ri­ences”, which is what we have when we are not in­volved in “en­gage­ments” and “nar­ra­tives”. No one is a plain old bar­tender or cof­fee-maker. I am not a jour­nal­ist but “an es­teemed sto­ry­teller” ac­cord­ing to the pro­duc­ers of a tourism news­let­ter who ad­dress me as such. It beats the “dear sir and/or madam” ap­proach but does make me want to run away to Italy for a Si­cil­ian in­jec­tion.

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