I get words all day through...

Thursday, August 15

Most days when I’m at work, I have some song or other playing on a loop in the back of my head. Maybe it’s the last song I heard on the radio before I left the car, or maybe it’s a lyric triggered by some phrase I’ve heard during the day. (Example: me asking a customer ‘How would you like your eggs?’ will invariably lead to the song ‘How do ya like your eggs in the morning?wedging itself into my brain for the next eight hours or so.)

I’m guessing this is fairly typical of most people, right? This is a ‘thing’. It’s not too uncommon.

Well, recently when I’ve been in work (and I’ve been in work a lot recently) I’ve noticed that, as well as having songs stuck in my head, I’ve also started getting words stuck in there too.

‘Scrupulous. Exodus. Arabesque.’ (For example).

These words, unbidden, will just randomly appear – ‘hello!’ – in the middle of my wiping tables, or serving customers, and I’ll find myself turning them over, almost unconsciously, as I go about the motions of laying cutlery and scraping plates.

‘Vehement, vehemently, vehemence.’ ‘Scrupulous. Dwindle. Umpire.

It’s like they’ve escaped from the dictionary – like penguins from a zoo – and have waddled into my head just, y’know, for something to do. I quite enjoy to find them – these stray words, with their crispy, satisfying little syllables, milling about in the back of my head. But it’s also quite strange. Because more often than not they’re pretty obscure. And words I wasn’t even aware I knew. Like: ‘incursion, machinations, and rambunctious.’ Odd.

I get the feeling this is slightly less common than the song thing, right? Probably the tired mind of a writerly English graduate trying to amuse itself during very long, very repetitive days of cafe work... I think I probably need a holiday quite soon.

Pictures by: Daniela Strijleva

Title of this post taken from 'Show Me' from My Fair Lady (... which is, of course, now stuck in my head.)

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