by Michelle Ann King
A lot of people wish they lived in a different time, although most choose the future. They want instant teleport, robot housekeepers and Google implanted directly into your brain.
Not me. I’d choose the past; the days of Jane Austen, when people spoke in complete, grammatically perfect sentences and an insult was a carefully constructed witticism rather than a torrent of obscenities and spittle.
In Jane’s time people would say, ‘I am fully sensible of the honour that you do me but must regretfully decline,’ rather than, ‘Piss off, bitch.’ We would ride in a handsome horse drawn carriage rather than a filthy tube train stinking of stale beer and half-eaten hamburgers.
And if Pat started going on at me again, calling me a stupid cow that needs a good slapping, the man opposite us in the carriage would stand up and say, ‘Sir, I must object to your damnable behaviour towards the lady. Desist this instant, lest the rules of chivalrous conduct force me to intervene.’
But Jane Austen’s been dead for nearly 200 years, and the man opposite us on the tube just goes back to the Evening Standard and turns up the volume on his iPod.
Michelle Ann King lives with her husband and stuffed penguin in Essex, England.