Monday, December 12, 2005

The Waiting Game

I arrived in work on Friday feeling pretty good. Afterall, it is the last working day of the week and I was looking forward to getting stuck into the sausage and cheeses I had bought at the market the day before. It's becoming a little tradtion now to pop into the market at lunchtime and grab a bratwurst and a beer and enjoy the rich pickings of conversation between co-workers.
Alas, this was not to be so as I had forgotten about a training course I was to attend, only reminded, as I sipped the first cup of coffee of the day, stretched and sat down at my desk, by a co-worker telling me he was off for the very same course I had shoved to the back of my head and dismissed. Dammit.

I still had the bean flavour in my mouth as we walked quickly along the bustling streets, rain coming down and somehow finding its way into your face despite your hood covering most of your head. We walked past the building twice before we noticed it tucked off a side-street. That's the thing about government buildings. They do not want to be found. They blend in with their surroundings, only becoming obvious when you know it's there. They should dress soldiers up like government buildings and send them out onto the battlefield. Before they knew it, the opposing force would have forms filled out in triplicate and be paying tax for the wrong side. "I thought I was going to win something!".

Anyway, we shuffled into the foyer and were greeted by the receptionist. Another thing is that receptionists in archaic government buildings are male and they are never seen answering a telephone. I suspect the number is ex-directory and you can only find it in small print on any documents, half way through an Appendix regarding income support. We recieved our official passes and were told to go to Room 3 on the third floor. We pushed the button for the lift and it arrived with unexpected expediency, a noisy beep emitted as the door opens which, I imagine, causes much chagrin first thing in the morning and may in the past have caused someone to spill their latte, as the outside street as no less than 5 caf├ęs.

I wont go into the detail of the training as it was quite possibly the most boring time I've ever had looking at an overhead projector [as if there is ever a joy to be had looking at a powerpoint presentation]. Needless to say, it ran longer than anticipated/my mind could perservere. By 5pm I was ready to jump out the window and run down the street.

I decided to pop into Argos because a) it was right beside where I was and b) I saw a Xmas present I wanted to pick up there. When I walked through the doors I was greeted by the faces of 20-30 people who had been waiting for their item to arrive from the warehouse in the back. I really hate these places. I think it's the waiting combined with the fact that the item you want is always out of stock and they have to give you an item of equal or greater measure. I flipped through the catologue looking for the item and keyed it into the machine half hoping that they would not have it in stock and I could leave for another time but I knew this was the best opportunity I had. It was indeed in stock and after filling out the slip I joined a huge queue where customers were being directed to their cashier by a voice operated machine. I finally reached the top. "Customer to cashier 8". That's me!
"Excuse me sir, the item you have requested is out of stock and an item of equal or greater quality will be give to you. Is that OK?"
"Uh, yeah."
Every. Fecking. Time.

I was assigned #500, collection area B. The depot was being ran by 3 millies who shouted out your number in true gipsy style. I was worried because my number never appeared on the monitor. After 15 minutes standing around getting anxious I heard my number being called. Sweet Jesus, let's rock and roll.

Several minutes later I was in the Garrick and had a pint of Guinness in front of me. Our Business Centre work party was being held there and had the bar not been accross the road from me, I would have been half way home. Besides, the drink was free and only an idiot or a tee-totaller would have turned it down. The place was packed with people I had never met let alone seen in the building and several ladies had made quite a considerable effort, everyone else in normal work fatigues. I made my excuses and left.

Lou was on her work do that night too and Colin and myself settled down to watch The Electrfying Conclusion - Guided By Voices last ever gig on 31st December 2004. A lot of beer was drank both on DVD and in my living room with a little singing at the later stages. It's sad that they have ceased as a band as Robert Pollard's solo efforts have never been up to the same standard as GBV releases. Nevertheless, perhaps with the onset of age, the lack of touring and the label requirement to put out releases, the quality of output will rise. From A Compound Eye is released next month, so we will see.

Hope you had a good weekend. Catch you tomorrow!


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