Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Ego sum ...
To claim that a car service waiting room can be the source of revelation would be a bit of an exaggeration, but my visit to the Toyota sales building last week did teach me a thing or two about a cultural change in the English language. My car was due for its first tire and fluid level check-up, so I had booked a service appointment at 10:00 a.m. and dutifully showed up on time. I was greeted by Bonnie, the duty sales manager, who cheerfully took my details and told me that the wait would be about an hour in length. Not a problem, I replied, armed with my iPad. I’ll just take a seat. And that I did.
Sure enough, at near the stroke of eleven, Bonnie’s loud voice called my name and I reported back to her desk like a schoolboy collecting homework. All was well, I learned. And the work carried out? “I rotated your tires and checked brake fluid and coolant levels – and all’s fine. Oh, and I also checked your wiper blades. You’re good to go!” Remarkable, I thought, as I wandered off in search of my serviced car. How did she do all that without ever leaving my sight? Is this a new understanding of the active verb? Or some modern corporate expression?
I suggest it is a hybrid of many things, for in this part of the world I have heard many active expressions that when analyzed turn out to be anything but active. I recall a man telling me that he had planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs in his garden, whereas in reality he had paid a work crew to do just that for him. And a couple announcing that they were redesigning their garden – whereas in truth they were paying someone to do just that.
I think I’m preaching this Sunday …
Posted by Tim Lewis at 12:11 PM