The Lost Humour Columns

Sampling London’s Delights

So my mum and my aunt came for a visit from the States.  This was my aunt’s first time overseas, and she was very excited to see London.  However, imagine my surprise when I worked out what their favourite part of the visit was.

My mum brought her Apple laptop over with her, and I lent her a plug converter from a kit I have.  I travel quite a bit and have several plug converters at the ready.  I even have one great big one that theoretically should serve all my plug needs no matter where I am in the world, no matter how complicated the combination of poky bits that need to get into the wall.

But mum wasn’t happy with this arrangement.  “See, that orange light that goes on when it plugs into the wall means it isn’t working!  It only works when the green light is on.”

“No, mum…the orange light means the battery is charging, and the green one means it’s all full.  See that little lightning-bolt symbol on the screen?  That means its charging.”

“I don’t think so.  I think we need to go to the Apple store and get one of their converters.”

So the next day we tramped over to Covent Garden in search of the big shiny Apple store.  And when we got there, oh, the marvels we beheld.

Impressed by the beautiful open courtyard where Apple holds training courses about its products and by the suave glass elevator that whisked us quickly and silently from floor to floor, my mum and aunt quietly cooed their way through the store, like a pair of bemused doves.

Finally we found the travel accessories section.  A sprightly young man in a bright blue t-shirt showed us what they had available in the way of plug converters, which was pretty much exactly the same as what I already own, except with the Apple logo etched on.

My mum explained that she wanted the Apple plug because she was afraid that the one I’d lent her wasn’t properly providing a charge.  “The light on the plug always seems wrong,” she said.

“Well, the way you can tell is, if it’s plugged into the wall and there’s an orange light on the plug., that means it’s charging, and when it’s green, the battery is fully charged,” explained the Apple employee patiently.  Mum had the good grace to look chagrined.  “And if for some reason the light isn’t working, you can always check the battery logo on the screen—if there’s a little lightning bolt symbol, the battery is charging.”

“So basically…my daughter was right?”

“Sounds like it.”

I shook the man’s hand.

But the adventure doesn’t end there.  After pestering the Apple employees but not actually buying anything, my relatives decided to make use of their restroom.  Once again embarking on the great glass elevator, they set off.  When finally they returned to where I was waiting for them, they were not only refreshed but irrepressibly happy.  (Perhaps Apple puts something in the water, because all their employees have exactly that same expression.)  The two of them went on at length about the cleanliness and tidiness of the toilets, about which I cared not a jot.

Finally we managed a brief tour of Covent Garden, stopping once again at the Apple store so they could relieve themselves before we departed.  The following day I was unavoidably detained elsewhere, but my two female relations decided to return to Covent Garden.  I know that they once again made use of the Apple ladies’ room instead of the public convenience located near St. Paul’s Church.  In fact I began to grow very suspicious of their reasons for becoming so fond of Covent Garden.

On the other hand, I also know that they enjoyed fish and chips no less than four times on their trip, so perhaps they learned to appreciate London’s charms for more than just the handily placed facilities within the Apple store.  I didn’t want to risk asking, though.