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'Hitting the Fan'
As any schoolboy will tell you... Letís start again.
As any schoolboy used to be capable of telling you; every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Putting this simply it means that if you whack something then thereís an identical amount of force (or energy) being applied to the whacker as to the whacked.
This story concerns not me but my daughter. Just like so many other students of her age she was supplementing her meagre funds by working as a waitress in one of the hostelries local to her. One of her duties (letís call my daughter Rosalin here for the time being shall we? It is her name after all), as I was saying one of Rosalinís duties at the end of each session was to recover the left-over contents of the little individual ketchup and brown sauce table bowls. Yes, I know itís disgusting and not unusually this particular establishment doesnít care to enter such details in the glowing terms it describes itself in its promotional blurb "The ***** Hotel, offering four star accommodation, cordon-bleu cuisine, complete with second hand sauces containing human hair, skin cells, perhaps a bit of expectorant mucus and the occasional dead fly."
Anyway, I digress. This particular duty of Rosalinís at the end of each shift involved tipping the contents of dainty little earthenware bowls back into their corresponding, very large and heavy stainless steel catering sized containers. So that the sauces could be 'recycled' for consumption by the establishment's next batch of victims. Rosalin, an exceptionally sweet girl and at the time fortunately shielded from some of the worst excesses of human nature (naive) hadnít up until that time actually given too much thought to the repugnance of what she had been instructed to do. Thus it didnít enter her mind that there was anything untoward in starting this disgusting ritual before all of the straggling customers had left with their full stomachs (along too most probably with a little touch of Salmonella).
A group of diners had not uncommonly determined to try and sit it out in the corner of the conservatory until, we can only assume, they were either forcibly evicted or the landlord issued them with rent demands. Rosalin by this time had worked her way round all of the dining areas in this rabbit warren of an hotel. With fingers now dripping in a goo of tomato ketchup and brown sauce, desperately clutching at two large stainless steel containers, each brimming under a weighty burden of pungent sauce, she started her trepidatious approach to the far corner of the conservatory.
The floor was constructed from trendy but Ďslippery when wetí quarry tiles. The dozen or so late diners were huddled around a large circular table in the corner. As Rosalin approached their table she felt her tired grip begin to fail on the slippery sides of one of her containers. She hoped that she would be able to reach the table in time to put down her insecure load. Sadly this was not to be and the brown sauce container bid its farewell from her grip about a metre before the edge of the table. With a resounding crash it hit the solid and unforgiving quarry tile floor with base square on. Faithful to Sir Isaac Newtonís Third Law of Motion, the combined kinetic energies of the heavy container and its contents immediately conspired to combine and make egress of just the contents in the opposite direction to their former generally downward trajectory - that is up. The whole messy goo evacuated the container violently and in a generally upwards direction.
Rosalin, meanwhile, had been unable to arrest her own hurried forward progress in sufficient time. Her slightly forward inclined upper body thus arriving at exactly the same time directly over the ascending fountain of sticky brown sauce. She later described the sensation of being assailed from beneath by two litres of smelly, warm, brown sauce. This was slightly less interesting however than her description of what happened when the remaining sauce that hadnít covered her from waist to forehead came into contact with the exceptionally large ceiling fan rotating above the table. If only for once someone had not had great presence of mind and switched the fan off about ten seconds after sauce impact then perhaps the splattering would have been limited to just the four walls, the entire floor and the twenty or so people still ambling around the periphery of the room.
The fan stopped rotating quite quickly. Terminating the coriolis effect (centrifugal force to the layman) meant there was no longer any physical phenomenon present to persuade the surprisingly large amount of sauce still left clinging to the fan blades to remain attached. It is also perhaps unfortunate the way people usually react when instructed not to look at something.
Rosalin and the dozen seated diners were no exception to this rule when the person switching off the fan, instinctively anticipating what might happen immediately after the fan ceased rotating, yelled -
"Don't look up!"
Iíve finished spinning now.
For the day anyway.