Saturday 9 June 2012

Introducing Tonto

I recently introduced you to Captain Chaos, a nemesis of mine who, along with Captain Paranoia, strives to make my life as chaotic as possible.

You can read about him here.

Well there is a third nemesis who helps to complete this unholy trinity; his name is Tonto.

The truth is that Tonto was not part of my life until 1998; that was the year that Mrs PM and I started our relationship.

Is that a coincidence?

No – because Mrs PM and Tonto are a partnership that cannot be broken. Wherever she goes, Tonto goes. She is possessed by Tonto.

And since he came into my life, he has started to haunt me too.

So who is Tonto?

Tonto is the entity that annihilates Mrs PM’s sense of direction. And he is starting to do it to me as well. Tonto is the creature who switches off Mrs PM’s brain turning her into the world’s greatest scatterbrain.

After a few months together I began to notice things. Things like Mrs PM’s sense of direction being virtually non-existent; things like Mrs PM’s forgetful nature; things like Mrs PM’s outstanding ability to excel in the scatterbrain department.

I have met many scatterbrains before, but Mrs PM is an excellent specimen.

Here is another example of a friend of mine who is also a scatterbrain.

Tonto is a constant source of frustration for Mrs PM.  I came up with the name, Tonto, as a joke, because the Lone Ranger’s faithful sidekick was meant to be an expert in tracking fugitives – the last person on Earth you would expect to get lost or forget anything. I talk about him as if he is a real person; it would be either that or accuse Mrs PM of being a massive scatterbrain. Personifying Mrs PM’s lack of sense of direction and her forgetful nature as an imaginary nemesis is quite an amusing way to think about it.

Here is a recent example of Tonto’s work in action.

Just before the jubilee holiday, Mrs PM brought her work laptop home because she was on call. Most of us had a four day break but Mrs PM had to work on the final day of the holiday. I didn’t, so I was looking forward to enjoying a lie in. She managed to leave the house without disturbing me too much and set off for her 23 mile journey to work.

Around half an hour later, while I was enjoying a lovely snooze, the phone rang. Bleary-eyed, I answered the phone. It was Mrs PM.

“I’ve done it again!” she said.

“Done what?” I replied.

“I’ve left my laptop at home. Can you bring it for me, to save me driving all the way back there?”

So much for my lie in, I thought. Tonto had struck again. The worst part of this is that it is not the first time it has happened. On other occasions, she has had to make a 46 mile round trip to retrieve her laptop. At least now, she could avoid that.

Tonto must have been chuckling away at another triumph but he saw another opportunity to strike. I had only ever been to Mrs PM’s place of work once, so I was unsure of the exact directions.

“Bloody hell! “ I moaned. “Alright – I’ll bring it in. Can you give me directions?”

“Bingo!” said Tonto.

And this is another area of his expertise – destroying Mrs PM’s sense of direction. To be honest, Mrs PM was frustrated at her own failure, so she was a little flustered. She barked a set of instructions to me and I wrote them down.

Now this is where Tonto had his moment; instead of following my instincts and looking up the directions using Google Maps – or even using the navigator on my phone to get a set of clear and concise directions to her place of work, I left the house and set off with just a few hastily written directions.

I was tired and Tonto had exploited that.

Suffice it to say, the instructions were not quite correct. Mrs PM had mentioned a couple of roundabouts, with the instruction “go straight on to the NEXT roundabout”. What she didn’t tell me was that in order to get to the next roundabout, I had to turn left; I carried straight on.

And I got lost.

I have to say, dear reader, that my language in the car, when I realised that I was lost, was the deepest shade of blue I had ever experienced. I was using expletives that I didn’t know existed.

When Tonto strikes, it infuriates me. I am enraged by my own stupidity for not double checking directions, for listening to and trusting Mrs PM when she has packed something, rather than just checking for myself.

Lost in deepest darkest Cheshire, I had to turn around and retrace my route until I worked out where I had gone astray. How I managed to find her place of work I will never know – it was trial and error all the way until I spotted the roundabout when I tried the left turn I had missed.

By the time I pulled up outside her office I was apoplectic. I picked up my phone and dialled Mrs PM.

“Where are you?” she said.

I’M OUTSIDE!” I yelled. I then launched into a massive rant about forgetting laptops, a lost chance to have a lie in, bad directions and getting lost. My soapbox was buckling under the strain.  Anybody who was watching me as I rocked back and forth in the car must have thought that I looked like a caged animal.

… AND ANOTHER THING …” I yelled before stopping abruptly mid-rant.

“Wait a minute,” I continued. “Are you LAUGHING?”

“No,” lied Mrs PM audibly chuckling.

“You ARE laughing,” I yelled. “Come down and get your BLOODY LAPTOP!”

A few minutes later, Mrs PM was at the car and I handed over the laptop with a look of fury on my face. Mrs PM didn’t dare speak; if she had she would have collapsed in a fit of laughter.

“Thanks,” was all she could say. “Tonto sends his regards.”

I didn't say a word - just allowed steam to come out of my ears.

I drove back home, gradually calming down. By the time I arrived back in Manchester, I was smiling to myself and cursing Tonto.

There are other examples of Tonto’s mischief and I will tell you about them in subsequent posts.

Suffice it to say that Tonto is a thorn in our side, particularly as we like to travel to places we don’t know.

And when Captain Paranoia, Captain Chaos and Tonto combine, the effects can be terrifying – but funny.

Over to you, dear reader.

Do you have your own manifestation of Tonto? Are you a scatterbrain who forgets things and gets lost?

I swear that I could claim that I didn’t have Tonto in my life until I met Mrs PM. And now he stalks me relentlessly.

Or perhaps I too and getting forgetful in my old age.


Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no sense of direction, have actually gotten lost in an 1100 square foot apartment I had lived in for several years. I have to think carefully before determining which is right and which is left...I navigate by landmarks, so if I haven't been somewhere in a while and they've torn a building down or re-painted something, I'm screwed. You so don't want to ask me directions to anywhere - not even the bathroom in my own house!

But, no I rarely forget things; am rarely late for anything. Before I leave the house I go through my mental check list. Then again I have gotten 1/2 a block from the house and gone back to make sure I locked the doors...

Elephant's Child said...

My youngest much loved brother has a wife who also shares her life with an aussie tonto. So my brother completely ignores any directions given to him by a woman. I do have a good sense of direction. On one never to be forgotten occasion I was directing my brother to a shopping centre I wanted to go to. He ignored me, I made amendments to the directions, he ignored me and drove triumphantly to the WRONG shopping centre.

River said...

All I have to say is that if I'd forgotten my laptop once, I would have never forgotten it again! Ditto book, phone, lunch, whatever. My life is 99% routine, things are packed and checked in readiness for getting to work the next morning, the last thing I do before leaving is get my sandwich from the fridge. Thank goodness Mrs PM has you to help keep her on track.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

I think part of Mrs PM's problem is that she "switches off"; while being aware of stuff, she enters "the zone" (her own little world). Another example is driving half way to work on a Sunday, when all she wanted to do was go the shops.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I mostly ignore her directions. If we are going somewhere unknown, I make her drive and I navigate - because I know we will almost certainly get lost if it is the other way round.

BTW - the wrong shopping centre story sounds strangely familiar :0)



Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

It is a constant source of frustration for her. She knows what she's like and, mostly, compensates by actually writing stuff down.

I have managed to get her to make a list for holidays, for example, something she never used to do but does so religiously now.

Tonto's influence is decreasing - but it is sadly, still there.




MedicatedMoo said...

I'll raise my hand and proudly say that I too, am Tonto.

Having to turn the map upside down in order to follow the actual direction we're going, missing turns 'Um, it was back there... I think' and generally vagueing out when I should have been looking at street signs - I've done 'em all.

Ironic, then, that I always get stopped and asked for directions and can always help them!

On a different note, I've tagged you for a meme -

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Sounds just like Mrs PM - except - she can't give people directions - and she wouldn't want to either.




I shall have a go at the meme in due course.


Anji said...

I think that Tonto's cousin must be in league with my hubby, Rob. He can never find anything, sometimes papers disappear within seconds of him putting them down. Guess who has to look for them?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

Ha ha - yes - I know the problem well.

Mrs PM and Rob must be kindred spirits.