< < Who the Hell is Brenda? : Intro | Additional
First of all, uncountable thanks to Robert, who delightfully adorned Brenda with a brown accolade. Look at the affection she shows to her mucky bangle – her cheek rests adoringly on the greasy tracks, as it snakes unwholesomely past her, no doubt to rest in the filing trays until she calls on it again.
“Vast poo,” Brenda wails, in my imagination. “You give me succour.” Rather than put an unpleasant image on the front page (heaven forfend), here’s a link.
Again, thanks to Bobby for paragliding that bitch into my inbox.
Anyway, Brenda’s been ill. She has that frail, poisoned look about her, so I’m not surprised. When you’re as offensive to creation as Brenda is, your body must occasionally try to kill itself with antibodies. So, last week, the air in the office lost its sawtooth edge. Also, someone moved one of the polystyrene ceiling tiles, and rainbows fell out.
But now Brenda’s back, and in the mood for some self-justification. She’s mouthy enough about being ten minutes late – this table shows some of her best excuses for different latenesses;
|Lateness||Voice Quality||Required Lie|
|10 minutes||Fighting Monkeys||
|1 hour||Spectrum Loading Screen||
So you can imagine the heaps of whining turd we all suffered this morning. Five working days’ worth of the stuff.
Before her illness, Brenda found a new way to outrage me. I was late, and had jumped onto a bus to shave vital minutes off my travelling time. It was only a couple of stops, but I was still horrified to see Brenda sitting next to the exit door. “RUNNING LATE TOO, JON?” she called over to me, startling the large black man next to her, who wasn’t expecting a shrill outburst from his right flank.
I never remember what I say back in these situations – it’s usually so violently bland that there’s no point. We just moved our mouths for two minutes, until we arrived at the university. Getting out of the bus, and walking along the road, this is when she outraged me.
On the left, at the bottom, you can see the bus stop. On the right, on the other side of the road, is our mutual destination. The red line is Brenda’s path. The woman is a fucking Tron light cycle. There isn’t a single curve in her walking pattern, and she will not tolerate talk of 45 degrees.
But that’s fine, you might be thinking. That is a strange quirk, but it is after all part of the Green Cross Code, and it doesn’t unduly affect you.
Well that’s just apologist shit, and I’ll tell you how it affected me. See that blue line? That is my approach to the building, with its unique and elegant compromise between the shortest “straight line” approach (which also increases the danger of being on the road for the most time) and Brenda’s 90 degree robotic insanity.
Now, do you see where the red and blue lines cross? That intersection is where I touched Brenda for the first time. My forearm still chills from the contact.
Brenda is around four feet tall, so my initial reaction was to look around in both directions, and say “whu? whassat?” Then I looked down, and saw her there, unwavering. Walking onwards as though nothing had happened. And I walked with her, slightly stunned, feeling myself getting pulled from my perfect blue-line approach to the building. This pull does actually seem to be guiding my path, as I bump into Brenda two more times.
After ten seconds in which I aged three years, we get to a place where Brenda is willing to cross. Her ferret-chops turned to face our workplace, she put her toes to the kerb, and looked left. Then right. Then left again. Then right again. A gap in the traffic appeared. I lurched forwards, unfollowed by Brenda.
“I’ll never make that,” she said.
Wanting to appear chivalrous, I rejoin Brenda until the traffic on the A4020 abates for long enough for her to shuffle across. Looking at her reminds me of the mental patients in Nottingham, near where I’m from. They demolished the asylum and built a residential crescent, but still the occasional mental shuffles around. Now, though, they lack a purpose – they just walk around in their old patterns, not really troubled by the fact that it’s all different, and the buildings that used to be their homes are no longer there.
I start to feel mortal, and I remember the irrational fear that gripped me as an eight year old; that light-speed cars would drive around the world, killing people. No matter how Green Cross Code-approved your style was, one of these driverless and invisible cars could kill you, and it would hit you so fast that your body would be sent into space, and your parents would think you had run away. This fantasy used to make me run across every road. And standing there with Brenda made me want to do the same, screaming. But I couldn’t, partly because I am now 31, partly because I am now utterly bound to Brenda.
The gap we need inevitably comes, and we walk together to our neighbouring desks, and I sit down and turn on my computer. Eventually the internet arrives, and I can ignore her again.