*ha ha, 'manhole'
So last night I went round to my dear friend Krystal's for drinks, and after a couple of games of Arsehole and Bitch* her partner stared at the ceiling and, apropos of nothing, wondered aloud, "Does anyone else think 'manhole' sounds dirty?"
Suddenly the comic potential of this previously completely innocent word was unleashed! I was amazed that I had spent 22 years on the planet, been in possession of the word 'manhole' for roughly 15 of them, and never looked at it that way. Neither had anyone else in the room until right then. We were delighted. "Makes you wonder about construction workers," shouted someone. "Spending all day in manholes!" "Going in and out of manholes!" "Cover your manhole!"
"Actually," said Ben, who works for the council doing something Serious, "they are called 'access points.'" He looked stern. We tittered and made jokes about accessing the manhole.
Then we calmed down again until halfway through the next round of cards I lost control, snorted "manhole" and spilt wine down my front. Good times!
Also confusing me this week: hydroponics! I knew the basic concept of hydroponics (grow a plant in water and heat and a secret place because it is probably illegal) from a catchy little jingle I heard on the radio in Wellington a couple of times. It's an ad for hydroponic wardrobes, and it has a very peppy, upbeat tune. The lyrics, as far as I can recall, go like this -
You can grow tomatoes in your hydroponic wardrobe
You can grow your carrots in your hydroponic wardrobe
You can grow whatever you like and nobody has to know
In your hydroponic wa-ar-drobe!
- but it was only yesterday that someone (my mother) explained that when you are growing plants hydroponically, there is no dirt involved. No dirt! None. None at all. I don't know about you but when someone says 'plant' I think, 'bottom end in soil, top end in sunlight, water sometimes.' Soil! Plants grow in soil! Not in water.** This is basic stuff, stuff you learn in childhood! Plants go in the dirt! Is nothing sacred??
Anyway, after a bit I calmed down and accepted that hydroponic systems are a perfectly acceptable way of growing whatever you want and nobody needs to know, but it still seems bizarre to me to grow plants without dirt. Whatever will they think of next? Wingless flying machines? OH HOLY SHIT HELICOPTERS OH NO!
*two examples of card games which are named after what I turn into when playing them
**apart from seaweed, which is an exception, and grows in the sea. also lilies (water ones)