‘I’m just popping out,’ I said to my brother, who’d popped over for the day.
‘I hadn’t noticed,’ he said.
Ha ha! But it did make me wonder, what is it with this ‘popping’? Just popping out. How exactly do you pop out? Do you vibrate like a deflating balloon or phut like a Citroen 2CV? Or emit wind in some way? Likely as not you’re planning something that might be frowned upon, and ‘popping’ makes it more palatable to the person you’re telling?
A gentle word – popping.
‘I’ll just pop into Boots – won’t be a minute.’ And no need to panic – I’m only popping in, not leaving you isolated and distraught, possibly never ever to see me again. No sooner have I popped in than I’ll be popping straight back out again. Don’t worry. All will be well.
Gentle. Like a nurse taking your temperature. No threat – quite pleasant really.
‘Just need to pop this in your mouth, dear.’
Or taking a blood sample.
‘Just a little prick, dear. You won’t feel a thing. Just popping it in now.’
‘There – all done! How brave you were!’ A bit like the marital bed, I suppose.
Then there’s the shop assistant.
‘Shall I pop it in a bag for you?’ Not put or place, slide or lower – but pop. The Greggs lady pops my Belgian bun perfectly into a bag – after the Spar assistant has popped a receipt on my Paypoint bill. Lovely!
And from her TV kitchen, Nigella urges us to pop a piece of parsley into a slow-roasting venison fricassée, as the camera pops over her contours while she pops the dish into the oven.
Gentle. But not always honest.
Can you really pop to the loo? Surely it’s in the loo? And implying that will be a gentle activity might be an outright lie.
My neighbour has a habit of popping in for a cup of sugar, but really he’s being plain nosy. I’d prefer him to tell the truth and not soften me by saying he’s just ‘popped round’. ‘I’m a bit busy,’ I say. ‘Pop back in ten minutes.’
And how can you pop something in your head if it’s unhinged?
Enough of this! Let’s say it as it is, and not make life out to be a state of nirvanic poppiness.
Don’t pop into Greggs and get them to pop your Fatty Melt™ in a bag before you pop onto a park bench to pop the Melt in your mouth. Storm in, tell them to stuff it in a bag, and gobble it down as you walk along.
No longer pop round to a friend’s house to pop in and say hello, and pop to the loo while you’re there. Be honest! Bang hard on their door and push straight past, saying you’re desperate for a wee.
And don’t let the nurse pop any old thing into your arm or mouth. Insist that she thrusts a blunt, oversize weapon into some part of your anatomy – and tells you it’ll really hurt.
Are you with me on this? Good!
Anyway, must dash. Said I’d pop over to Nigella’s.
Paul Costello © December 2012
Utterly Undiscovered by Paul Costello. Comical Bed and Breakfast memoir.
Spring 2013. Publisher: Fineleaf Editions. www.fineleaf.co.uk