Visible details of the scene


When I reached the supermarket, an electrical pole stood burning near the parking lot. Firemen shot water at it while one of them gabbed with a policeman. I asked a security guard, whom I found watching, what had happened and he just reported the visible details of the scene.

“That electrical pole has caught fire,” he said, “Firemen have started spraying water on to it. A policeman stands next to them.”

When the firemen initiated spraying the water in bursts at the cables he said,

“Now they have started spraying bursts of water on the cables.”

As a second fire engine arrived he said,

“Now a second fire engine has arrived.”

At that point a squat lady, whom talking seemed to have drawn, rushed up to us and stuck her head under my arm so close she pressed against my ribs.

“Whoooodoooo weeeeeya!” she shouted. “Yeeeeeor! Them peoples cars going to get burned up, burned up! Woooohoooooh ooooheeeee! With the fire electricity! Wheeeeeooooooooooyeeee!”

What happened here? I didn’t do anything except to try to talk to someone in public.

Why did the security guy just report information that his interlocutor must already possess? Instead of explaining how the fire started (or speculating about it if he didn’t know), he seemed to respond as if I’d administered a test of his eyesight.

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