Bored* of All I Survey

Dear Conference Organizers

If you want me to respond to a survey, it’s probably a good idea not to address me as ‘Dear madame’… I realize I’m not particularly famous, but I have spoken at your conference many times and I’m even on this year’s programme committee, so you should have some idea of my gender. (My connection with the programme committee also means that I have some idea of how well attended the conference is really likely to be, so let’s not big it up too much.)

Oh, and I don’t really need the email in triplicate.

Excuse me while I wipe the brick dust from my forehead before I consider whether there’s any point in answering your questions.

David Harley

*The quote I’m parodying from Cowper’s The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk is actually ‘I AM monarch of all I survey’, but it’s misquoted so often as ‘Lord of all I survey’ that I’m happy to go with the popular misconception on this occasion. Besides, I can’t think of a suitable word to rhyme with monarch.


Travelling Hopefully…*

Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited with saying that ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’ though I’ve also seen it attributed to the Buddha. Which suggests that an article is long overdue about the flakiness of sites about who said what. Right now, though, I’m wondering why so much marketing takes the quote so literally.

Perhaps it’s me, but I can’t imagine that many people plan their holidays or business trips so as to stay in a specific hotel or – even weirder – use a specific shuttle service from/to the airport. So why do I get so much marketing mail that assumes I do? Do people really go to specific places so that they can stay in a specific airport hotel? (But yes, I do understand that you might want to use a specific hotel or shuttle service if it does happen to fit with your travel plans.)

By the way, Emerson certainly said ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’ He forgot to mention copy editors. But that’s probably another rant for another day.

*To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive – Robert Louis Stephenson, in ‘El Dorado

David Harley

Kicking the Bucket

So barely have I finished grumping about the Railcard people wanting me to jump out of planes and climb trees – Seniors for the High Jump  – but I get email from British Airways making suggestions for my bucket list. Though it doesn’t actually suggest that I jump from one of BA’s planes.

Nonetheless, I look forward to the reminders that I don’t have much time left to take advantage of these generous offers…

David Harley