Peaks of imperfection
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.