This week, I saw a dire warning in the window of a dry cleaner: 'They are back! Mild winter moths'. I have heard tales of the marauding moths of Edinburgh before. They appear to target particular areas of the city in all-out campaigns of holey terror before, sated, they move on to the next natural fibre-loving neighbourhood. The fashion for bare floorboards must have been a grievous blow to the moth community, but they have come back harder and stronger than ever thanks to supermarket cashmere, wooly throws and those tweedy handbags from Anta and Ness. They have, of course, always had a steady diet of tartan to rely on (which may be why they congregated in Edinburgh in the first place--there is probably a scourge in Inverness as well). I can imagine a moth who has eaten too much tweed being advised by NHS 24 to eat two plain pashminas and call the doctor in the morning.
The problem is, because of the (admittedly) peculiar way my brain works, when I see a perfectly understandable sign warning me of 'mild winter moths', I immediately picture some really chilled out moths who, when they bump into a light bulb say 'excuse me', before incinerating themselves with as little fuss as possible. I imagine moths who call each other 'dude' and say 'let it go, Louis' when some single mother moth comes along and lays her eggs all over the family angora while Mr and Mrs Moth nip out to share a romantic sock for two before settling down.
I had a similar problem with a white van which had 'Unfinished Business' written on the side. 'For all your small jobs that need finishing', it helpfully added. Now clearly this is a very useful business offering to complete those DIY tasks that most of us think we can do, but can't. So why is it I immediately think of two gentlemen in dark suits and sunglasses, offering (for a cash consideration) to take care of any little problems I might have? In my mind's eye they have a violin case, an umbrella with a poisoned tip, a good supply of heavy black plastic refuse bags and two shovels in the back of that van...
There are similarly perplexing things to read inside the bus, on those little cards in the slots above people's heads advising us of fare changes and special services, with occasional adverts thrown in. There has been a card saying: 'Everything is going to be alright'-- which, when you think of it, is a pretty sweeping statement. It continues: 'when the World says 'give up', hope whispers 'try it one more time'. Now, is it just me, or have they done themselves out of a job? They have already told us what we have to do, so do we still need their services?
Having said that, as an advertisement it works--I did have a look at their web site and discovered that they offer to change my way of thinking. Well, QED: I obviously need some help with my way of thinking. Perhaps they could help me see that the 'mild', in 'mild winter moths' refers to the weather, not the moths' disposition.
My problem is that the life coach on the site, who is rather intriguingly a 'master practitioner in neural linguistic programming' (okay, I admit it--I am really struggling not to think of Orwell and '1984'), is also a 'chartered public finance accountant'. I am sure she is very good at her job, but I am afraid I would feel that asking a public finance accountant to help me change the way I think about money is a bit like asking a violinist on the Titanic whether I should stay for the last dance.
As you can see, there are plenty of reading opportunities when you are on the bus, without ever having to open a book or a copy of the Metro. I will leave you with my favourite news hoarding of the past couple of weeks: 'Rain Stops Asparagus Festival'. Really puts those moths into perspective, doesn't it?