But sometimes a situation is slightly more opaque and you're not quite sure what just happened...
I was in the pub last week, nursing a G&T and waiting for Domestic Slut and La Chanteuse for a long-overdue, post-cat acquisition (DS), post-wedding (LC) catch up. I’d elegantly plonked myself down at a table next to the radiator, wrapped up in a leather jacket against the biting South London, February winds.
Whipping my iPad out of my bag (it was either that, or the copy of Horse & Rider I had at the bottom of my bag, and I tend to find that any equine periodical tends to elicit very peculiar looks anywhere inside the M25), I settled in with my drink to catch up on some reading.
At the next table was a man in his mid-thirties, tapping away at a laptop. Every so often, as I took a sip of my drink, I could see him looking over in my direction. I thought nothing of it, and carried on with an excellent and highly recommended Wired piece on Gunther von Hagens until a gentle cough caused me to look round.
“Um, er, excuse me,” he’d stopped typing and was looking at me from over his laptop. I lowered my iPad and looked up. “Are you any good with computers?”
I laughed. “God, no, not in the slightest. Sorry.” And went back to my plastinated cadavers.
“Oh, um… I was hoping you’d be able to help me… I don’t know quite what’s going on.”
“I really don’t think I’m going to be much use, I promise you.” Again, I tried to turn back to the screen.
“Oh, er, it’s just that… well, I’m typing, and then I go backwards, and it types over the text that’s already there.”
“Oh! Oh gosh,” I said, slightly baffled that there would be any sort of computing difficulty I’d ever be able to lend a useful hand with. “You’ve just hit the overwrite button. Try hitting the ‘insert’ key – that should fix it.”
He tapped a button on the keyboard. “Ah! That’s done it. A stroke of brilliance. You’re clearly…” He looked down at the table. “Oh, sorry, would you mind if I just…? Hi, yep, what is it? I’m just…”
I turned away as he took the phonecall, to see my companions bluster in from the cold night outside.
I never found out what I clearly was; whether he was clearly in need of a little more computer literacy; or whether he was just so clearly terrible at the chatting up-thing that it was difficult to tell it from a genuine cry for tech support.