A Cautionary Tale

15 Nov

This is a true story about something that happened to me on twitter a couple of years ago. It certainly made me feel differently about how I tweet and the idea that it’s “only twitter”.

A Cautionary Tale

I had a strange experience on twitter the other day.

We had a visit from a window salesman. They had cold called us and it just so happens that we need some work doing, so we made an appointment. He was 20 minutes early, but I left my wife to deal with him. After about 15 minutes she called me to come down and look at what he was offering. It was all very thorough and informative but I really felt I wanted to get back to work. When, after about half an hour, he started talking about his mobile phone coverage I made my excuses and left. 

Being a twitter addict I immediately tweeted:

“There is a man in my house. He has been talking about windows for 45 minutes. I have discovered I am interested in windows for only 10 mins.”

Then, in a spark, as usually happens with me, I saw the comedic potential of the situation and begun to spin a yarn which involved me mucking about like a school kid behind his back. It ended up with us all dancing and then him giving me a dead leg because he’d known all along I had been mocking him (thanks to a suggestion from a follower).

It was all fine and I felt it was amusing enough, a few people commented, business as usual. By now another half an hour had passed and I looked out of the window to see his car was still there. I felt a bit guilty for abandoning my wife and tweeted to the effect that he must be lonely. (I have since deleted this tweet and have no record of it)

I also wrote:

“Seriously, there is a man from XXX here, and he’s very nice. But when he started talking about his mobile phone coverage I bailed out…

and left him with Karen, saying I was very busy today, lots to do sorry about that etc. As you can see.” Making the point that I was arsing about on twitter, as usual.

I didn’t write XXX, though, I named the company he was from. Oh dear. The next thing I saw was a reply from their company saying please follow us we want to DM you. I suddenly felt a surge of panic. What had I said? Had I defamed them in some way? I immediately followed them and a few moments later received a DM from them saying:

“Thank you very much 🙂 Been reading your tweets with interest, could you ask our Rep to call HO on xxxxxxxx. Thanks.”

Fuck. The phrase “with interest” struck chills in my heart. I couldn’t quite understand the implications of what I’d written, only that I had probably been pretty cruel about one of their reps and they wanted to talk to him! It also occurred to me that they might have been pissed off with him for some reason – possibly taking too much time, talking about his mobile phone coverage… who knows? I thought I had completely dropped him in it.

I immediately DM’d a series of apologetic tweets, pointing out that it was a complete fiction and that he had been charming, informative, exemplary, etc., offering to delete the tweets and issue an apology – which I subsequently did (but not before copying them!) as well as asking them not to mention it to him.

I have to say that they were exceptionally nice about it and said “we found it highly amusing to be honest, if you would to say something positive [sic], then feel free. No obligation. Many Thanks.”.

By this stage I was completely shaking. This was a huge relief. He had only just left, Karen had got wind of what was happening and was understandably furious with me for being such an idiot.

* * *

Ok. Some hours have passed now and I’ve looked back at the tweets. Actually they are pretty harmless, and there is nothing particularly damning of him. It was clearly a fiction, and later I felt he had genuinely outstayed his welcome as Karen and I had lots to get through, he’d been with us for well over an hour and a half.

What I hadn’t counted on was the reach of a national window company and their use of social media networks which actually enabled them to pinpoint a particular member of staff.

I do regret that, and I think that is why I have felt it necessary to write this; not as an apology, but as a warning just to be careful. They were good about it, but he may yet have been reprimanded for some reason and I would seriously regret that as he was a guest invited into our house and was a thoroughly charming gentleman doing his job very well. Hence I haven’t named the company again, it doesn’t matter.

Nevertheless, here is the story as it took shape. I think it’s pretty clear almost immediately that reality has left us fairly early on in proceedings. Please enjoy it in the spirit in which it was intended (typos & all). I hope this is the end of it.

* * *

There is a man in my house. He has been talking about windows for 45 minutes. I have discovered I am interested in windows for only 10 mins.

He is talking to my wife now. I have got up to stretch my legs. I am standing behind him miming fellatio.

I have put a small piece of paper in his hair. I don’t think he noticed.

I am now leaning on the back of his chair. I have a whistley nose. I am gradually crouching lower so and puffing it into his ear.

Soon I will start whispering. I make lick his ear. I have found some fluff in my pocket. That’s going in his hair too.

He is still full of the wonder of windows. I am stroking his hair. “Lovely hair” I say. “Who is your stylist?”

The window talk continues. He is ignoring my bad behaviour, very nobley, so I am now sitting in his lap.

I have put some fairly heavy dancehall on my sound system and have invited him to bogle. He is pointing to a diagram of a trickle vent.

Fucking hell, he can move!

We’re all up, bogling round my living room. This is amazing! I highly recommend XXX windows. Superb stuff.

I’m down. I’m on the floor in agony. He has given me a dead leg. Made it look like an accident. He’s a bit tasty with the knees actually.

My wife is giving me sly kicks now. This has turned. She has put on some of her favourite gabba tunes. I definitely don’t want uPVC.

I’ve pulled the plug on this. Showing him out. As @GlennyRodge pointed out, he saw my mimed cock nibbling reflected in the window.

Despite everything he promises a fair price, so the day is not lost. Furthermore, I’m going to google windows with renewed interest.

Ok, there’s nothing to see here, people. Move on please. The show’s over, move on please. *wipes sputum off laminated window diagrams*

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