Geek Retrospectives

Big ears

Years ago, I occasionally shopped at Rod Irving Electronics in A’Beckett Street. There was a shop assistant in there who looked like Darrin from Bewitched. The first, original Darrin, with the ears that stuck out. Apart from the ears, he had slicked back jet black hair, a dark suit and very shiny shoes. I don’t know if he was a bit strange or something, but I distinctly going in there one day and asking for something. He acknowledged my request, and appeared to ask a colleague to fetch it for him. I waited, and he carried on standing by the counter, waiting too. I looked around at something else as I waited.

After a minute or two, he came up to me again and asked me if I was being served. Weird. I said I thought he was already serving me, and when I got just a blank stare, I asked him again for whatever it was (something geeky and early 90s no doubt — maybe a copy of MS DOS 6 or something), and eventually procured it and fled. From that day, I avoided him when I went in there again, and the shop finally shut down in the late 90s, probably due to all the custom he lost for them.

This morning I got on the train to go to work. Only a very few seats left, and they were all in the awkward to get to spots in the corners, where you’d feel hemmed in by another person sitting next to you, so I decided to stand and read my newspaper. I aimed for a spot with relatively few people standing, and space to grab a handle and open the paper. Some guy in a longitudinal seat was resting back, his legs fully spread out across the train. As I went past I half stepped over his legs and half accidently-on-purpose bumped one with one foot. After all, if you’re one of the lucky half who have got a seat, at least you could do is make some space for the poor slobs like me who have to stand. Rude bastard.

I got to my spot and stood and read the paper, half-wishing someone would open a window, though the need was not desperate, so I didn’t ask anybody. After a couple of minutes I looked back at my laid back friend. Still laid back, feet almost across to the opposite seats.

The train rolled on. Read, travel, read, travel, read. A stop or two later I looked back again. Feet still there. In their shiny shoes. I glance across the carriage to the bloke attached to the feet. It was Darrin, looking not a day older, not in a suit but in trousers and a shirt. Shiny shoes, ears still sticking out, jet black hair still slicked back, and a bored expression.

As the train filled up, his shoes retreated. When we got to my stop, I got off the train and fled.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Big ears”

yes…..years ago I worked as a student teacher in a number of Melb. schools and I’m still paranoid about ex-students recognizing me in the train. I hope I carried on a little less weird than Darrin. Can’t really vouch for it though…

I used to shop there too…and I remember him. You could say he was very, very aloof. I had the impression that for him, customers were something to be endured!!

Wow! you got a spot where there was a handle within reach? I thought they’d systematically removed all places you could hold onto on our trains! (bet then I suspect it was a nice old (unaltered) train since the windows open – if they had aircon they’d be the best ones in peak hour….)

Rod Irving Electronics was a crooked business – selling computer systems with processor speeds with bogus clock speeds. The guy has no integrity left.

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