Irrational Encounters With The Modern World

Unfortunate Turns Of Phrase.

I confused a friend in London once, when I mentioned in conversation that I had “just jumped the tube.” I used it casuallyand offhand as an expression meaning that I jumped ON the tube as a means of getting where I was going, and not – as she interpreted – to mean that I had literally vaulted a turnstile to avoid paying my fare.

Whether the use of the word in this context is unique to Glasgow, or Scotland, I don’t know. I do know that it was in a Glasgow supermarket where I heard it used entirely inappropriately.

It was one of these sizeable (but not out-of-town) supermarkets with its own car park, and the checkouts had low metal barriers that swung across the lanes and were locked when the checkout was not in use. Most of these checkouts had a single lane, but every so often there was a double gate, where two checkouts had their lanes next to each other. It was at one of these double gates that I witnessed the following.

Someone in a wheelchair was waiting for one of the staff to unlock these gates so the aisle would be wide enough for them to leave. The guy unlocked the gates, held them open for the person, and said “Just jump through there.”

It was said without thought or malice, and I don’t think anyone else picked up on it – it’s such a common phrase here – but I noticed it, and it stuck with me.

So aye.




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