My brother David has said the same thing to me since we were small kids.
“Charles,” he signs…he’s deaf you know, so he signs.
“Charles, you’re absolutely rubbish at communication. All that posh boy dithering about. Umming and ahing…isn’t it time you just say what you mean?”
He often adds: “You’re also not that posh. And your flat’s rubbish, too.”
He’s good at keeping my feet on the ground, isn’t he?
He has a point, too. I look back at some of my conversations with Carrie before we decided to live together and never get married.
That one after the dress shopping for her previous wedding to the Scottish lordling…
“Sorry, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, umm, well, this is a very stupid question and...particularly in view of our recent shopping excursion...but I just wondered, by any chance, umm, ah…”
And then comes the bit that makes my toes curl and my teeth ache every single time I think about it…
“I-I just wondered... ah. I really feel, ah, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, ah, the words of David Cassidy in fact, ah, while he was still with the Partridge family, ah, ‘I think I love you’…”
She laughs about it now, of course, but honestly…David Cassidy?
I made it even worse by going on with: “I-I just wondered by any chance you wouldn't like to... ah...ah...No, no, no of course not... I'm an idiot, he's not... Excellent, excellent, fantastic, ah, I was going to say lovely to see you, sorry to disturb... Better get on...”
And, of course, I could just have told Carrie how I felt after the FIRST wedding we went to, rather than ending up at my own wedding to Duckface, sorry Henrietta, the fourth that season.
Would have saved poor old Hen all that heartbreak and saved me getting a black eye.
Still, she seems to have forgiven me now, softened by all those Grenadier Guards regimental dinners with her new husband.
David’s still forever pointing out my inability to communicate properly, though.
“You should go on a course or something!” he says.
“Don’t your partners at that law firm worry about how you communicate with your staff and colleagues? How on earth does your practice achieve, and keep, its ISO standards for quality, information security, health and safety, environmental protection, and corporate social responsibility? Good communication is at the heart of gaining every ISO my university holds.”
David communicates effectively with his students every day, of course. He uses lots of different technology to give him a voice in his lectures on modern history, from computer-generated voices to visual displays, but he also ensures he signs for the many deaf students he inspires to take his classes.
He was always the clever one in the family.
“The latest technology also helps us keep our essential documents available for everyone to use, whether they’re on campus, at home, or holidaying abroad if necessary. Mango online software keeps everyone in the loop and reminds us all when we need to update our data. Our consultants at Penarth Management suggested it.
“We love it almost as much as you love being late, Charles!”