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I don’t just do blogs, you know. I’ve gorra website, me.

Or rather, I haven’t. My website doesn’t exist. It can’t do because the url is impossible. Or at least it was a few years ago. Despite the fact that I’d been paying good money for it and maintaining it for years, it couldn’t possibly exist.

Not that I can remember exactly where, when or whom, the facts is as follows: I’m sitting in a caff or a pub or at a gathering of some sort, when I tell some geezer, some portly, bewhiskered self-styled übergeek, about some of my shit and tell him it’s on my website. He asks what my site is called and I tell him: it’s Lucidity Limited UK, all lower case, lucidity dot ell tee dee dot uk.
No, no, it cant be that, he says.
Well, I replies, it is.
No, no, no, he insists, it can’t be, there’s no such second level name as ell tee dee.
Well, that’s as may be, I reply, but I seem to have one.
No x 4, that’s impossible. No such thing.
I try to be friendly and say maybe they stopped doing them since I bought mine about ten bloody years ago, but many noes later he insists that’s never been the case.

These days of course one could just whip out a smartphone or tablet and prove it, but then there seemed nothing I could do to disabuse him. His sense of certainty was overwhelming and I almost found myself doubting the name of the site I’d been using since the last minnellium.

What is it with these people who are so sure of themselves? Back in the 70s I drew up a set of ‘Lowe’s Laws’, one of which was that people were right in inverse proportion to their self-confidence. Maybe that’s just to compensate for my own lack of it; “according to Lowe’s Thrid Law, that means I’m probably right most of the time”. Yeah, right.

I hate the term ‘mansplaining’ for a number of reasons. Mainly because it’s just such an ugly verbal construct, with no deference to the natural order of consonant clusters nor to any basic rules of etymology. I don’t doubt the phenomenon exists, I don’t deny that it’s a symptom of an underlying disease of society. But what niggles me most is that I have been a victim of it so often, I begin to wonder if I might actually be female. I’ve even suffered it from females, ffs!

The very wonderful Rebecca Solnit listed a number of examples of patronising explanation she’d suffered at the hands (well, mouths) of men. With one or two, I’d take issue, and trot out my belovéd ‘to a man with a hammer’ line — in at least one case, the bloke had given good reason why he had a particular expertise that was not relevant to his having a dick. But the one that struck me most was a tale about someone giving her and a friend a long spiel about a book he’d read that put some topic in a new perspective. Every time she tried to interrupt or say, “yes, I know, because…” yer man was like, “ah, you think you know, but this book points out …”

It was some time, apparently before her less polite friend managed to stop the guy long enough to tell him that Ms Solnit did indeed know, because Ms Solnit wrote the fucking book!

And I recalled that this happened to me. I was without the helpful friend, but a guy where I worked, from a different department, gave me the same kind of lecture about a report he’d just read, regarding the implementation of some software project or other that shed very interesting light on yaddah yaddah yaddah. So it took me a while to stop him long enough to tell him I wrote that report. Even then, to maintain his assumed superiority, he probably managed to convince himself that, though I may have written it, I hadn’t also read it.

I am a repository of useless and arcane information, ‘a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’, I admit it. So I do know some silly things (though woefully few useful ones). But an assertive denial often has me backing away, politely (I like to think, though you might just say ‘cowardly’). At a party almost exactly thirteen years ago, when I should have been working to save the relationship with the love of my life, I got instead into a futile discussion with a student, when the word forensic popped up and I used it in its correct sense as denoting something done for the law or the courts.
No, said the beardy twat, it means ‘scientific’.
But I believe (I personsplained) it’s a derivative of the Latin word forensis, as in ‘of the forum’ or public space. Nothing I could say could bend him from his belief that it simply meant scientific. I should have thought to ask, in that case how could someone be a forensic artist? I should have asked our hosts for a dictionary or something (again, this is just before the coming of all-knowing smartphonery) but as usual I just backed away mumbling ameliorations.

Ah well, that’s enough examples (Ed). You probably knew all this already.

Whatever sex you are. Or I am.