WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward
The prologue then. I don’t like the sales-type telephone calls, as in the trying to sell something or the mock survey that also leads to the same. But now and again, you get a feeling in your in cousin Nat’s wooden leg that this might be interesting, or at the very least, an entertaining way to kill a few minutes without resorting to pest control.
The scene is set. The telephone warbled and yea, it was somebody who was not sure who I was or am, as she started off with “Are you a Mister Ward?” and I replied no, I was there merely to test the phone to see if all the twenty-nine musical tunes worked, but that did not deter Charlotte Sliced-Loaf, or whoever she said she was.
Once we had agreed that I was, indeed, the owner of the name she’d started off by asking about, it was down to mind games and rumbles of the ‘Big Sell’ began, and so we were under referee’s orders. I inserted my gum shield and laced up my verbal boxing gloves in readiness as we went into Round One – ‘Ding, ding, and seconds out’.
It seemed, or rather she said, that I had been carefully ‘Selected’ (Real World Breakdown: we have reached the ‘W’s’ on our list and we have got to you) for a new concept that is exclusively being offered to you (RWB: it’s another bright idea to flog stuff by telephone, so have your wallet ready for extraction purposes) and I am ringing to make you aware (RWB: Sharon is making the coffee while I run this past you) that you have been selectively chosen (RWB: the others I have rung so far told me where to stick it) to take part in a wonderful, new, environmental concept in motoring (RWB: I only read from the script in front of me, so don’t ask me anything technical or at least tricky, involving thinking) that you will be thrilled to participate in (RWB: your bank account will be affected long-term, promise) and therefore, do you have the time to listen to the following Portfolio of Interest I have to offer you at this time? (RWB: Sharon is taking her time making that coffee! Plus, I need to go to the little telesales girls’ room to powder my nose and then outside for a quick ciggie).
End of Round One. Round Two is quickly entered into. ‘Ding, ding, seconds out, hours in’. I looked at my watch and replied that I was still, to be honest, waiting to try the other tunes out as we were only on ‘Colonel Bogey’, but as it was her, I would be rather intrigued, while waiting, to have an earful of soothing ‘Portfolio of Interest’ come my way from her dulcet tones.
So off we went. Was I aware of or indeed had I knowledge of the electric-powered motor car?
My reply of having owned one, or several, in years gone by, was greeted with a sort of silence that had me soothingly inquiring if she was Option A, Alright but struck dumb, or Option B, Still there? or Option C, Gone for that ciggie break.
It was such a relief when her cut-glass voice come back with “Oh! Riley?! I say, that is riley interesting.”
I respond in her own tongue: “Yhice, I had four at one time – they were all a part of the Scalextric set, plus a figure-of-eight track layout, manual controller plus remotes, but cable attached of chourse ...” to which she quickly replied: “This is wonderful! Riley wonderful that you have prior knowledge, like, and experience of the concept as others I have spoken to are so, so unaware, like..”
It’s heartbreaking to think I was referring to my slot car racing days as a mere child, and it was pretty obvious that she was totally ignorant of this, although she may have gained the upper hand if the ‘concept’ had swung round to Barbie dolls, of course.
Next up was Round Three, after a quick mental refreshment from Round Two, and ‘Ding, ding, away we go again’.
Could this Appointment Facilitator (not to be confused with her being a telesales lady then and taking bookings) arrange a test drive, door-to-door with a chosen technical executive by my side, which is comforting to know it has at least two seats, but before I had a chance to respond, a question did come forth as in: “Dhoo you have the facility to charge?” to which I responded thus: “Well to be honest at my hage I can just about break into a canter if the need arises but as to a charge, not sure, but could ask my doctor for his opinion first on that one, although if he doesn’t play ball, so to speak, I could have a word with our vet when I next pop in.”
I got the distinct impression this was not the answer she was expecting or requiring, judging by the sort of prolonged silence she entered into. She finally spoke, rather harshly I thought, but judge for yourself: “Are yhoo taking this seriously or not, as I have other people I wish to converse with whom will I feel sure will be more receptive.”
So by that I assume it’s that lot in the X, Y and Z parts of her list she will be going after, sorry, conversing with.
I finally put her out of her misery before Round Four got under way. No ‘ding, ding’, but I point out I am happy with the usual petrol-burning models at present, as what it takes in fossil fuel to generate the actual electrical power to charge these electrical beasts up, it’s bit of a no-brainer.
As a parting piece of history, I told her about my great, great uncle Stan, who worked on the idea of elastic propulsion for cars as in model airplanes, but on a greater scale, obviously – three hundred turns of the rubber stuff for normal driving or four hundred for going up hills – and who thought about going from Land’s End to John O’ Groats to prove its viability, but he thought that might be stretching it a bit.