Sunday 15 April 2007

I am nursing a burgeoning addiction to “feta snacks”.

They are small plastic tubs containing feta “in spicy herb marinade with garlic and stuffed olives”. They are placed just next to the cheese on the refrigerated dairy stuff aisle in Sainsbury’s, to tempt frequent cheese buyers into basing their snacking habits as well as their sandwich fillings on cheese and its derivatives. It cannot be anything to do with laying out the supermarket in a logical way. Did you not realise that the grouping of similar products is an evil marketing attempt to make you buy more things?

However, these olive-oil covered delicacies are a particularly cruel juxtaposition for the cheese buyer, such as myself, because they are extremely tasty. I am not sure quite what it is about the savoury, slightly continental goodness which makes them quite so impossible to stop eating, but it might be something to do with having to make oneself a cold meal every evening as a result of living in a kitchen-free college in a week when Hall isn’t on.

One thing I am doing to distract me from this addiction is spearheading a campaign to get the twenty-four hour clock used in everyday speech. It would eradicate errors caused by a very small subset of times during which not using the twenty-four hour clock can create confusion (though to be honest anyone who turns up at the pub at seven in the morning is probably not the kind of person who is intelligent enough to provide much stimulating conversation in the pub anyway…unless they live some kind of crazy nocturnal existence under a secret identity, which might be really interesting to talk about. But they probably won’t talk about it if it’s a secret identity) and also appeals to the pedant in me who appreciates slightly unnecessarily high levels of precision.

The other good thing about it is that it sounds really weird in a slightly mind-screwing way. How can it be that “see you at nine” is a perfectly acceptable agreement, whereas the syntactically identical “see you at twenty-one” sounds like you are refusing to fraternise with the person to whom you are speaking until they’ve reached the widely-accepted age of entry into adulthood? The entertainment of saying something slightly unnatural will persist until the new clock has permeated common usage, so enjoy it while you can!

“Twenty” is probably the one most likely to cause confusion, as twenty past the hour is a perfectly usual time to agree to do something, whereas eighteen or nineteen or twenty-two minutes past is the kind of arrangement which probably means that the person you’re arranging to do something with is a bit too anal that what you’re arranging to do will likely be much fun.

And, as if all that wasn’t incentive enough, the French do it. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

So, give it a go. The twenty-four hour clock in everyday speech, that is. Don’t touch the dangerously addictive feta things or they’ll start giving you weird hallucinations about how using the twenty-four hour clock in everyday speech is a good idea.

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