Friday, May 30, 2008

Position Number 4, please

There's little time left to blog before lunch.
It takes ten minutes to buy a paper in the newsagent because people are pratting around buying lottery tickets and lucky dips. (Some people scratch the cards off at the counter and then buy another one if they haven't won). Do you remember how quickly one got served before John Major introduced this elective tax on the poor?

Then to the Post Office.
Until recently I could have just whacked a first class stamp on the envelope. But it's an A4 envelope so it has to be measured and weighed and a premium paid.
That's if I ever reach the counter before nightfall.

People have brought bags full of parcels of stuff they've sold on fucking EBay. The laborious process of weighing, labelling and certifying postage is interrupted for a discussion of the contents of each package. Say what you like about car boot sales, they didn't impinge on anyone else or clog up the nation's Post Offices.

The elderly now have swipe cards to draw their pensions. But that means they need pin numbers and most of them can't remember what day of the week it is, let alone a fucking pin number. So it's try every relative's birth date and house number, followed by your old RAF number and the bus numbers that used to take you to and from school.

And Post Offices, as the anti-closure campaigners keep saying, are an important part of community life.
What this means is that old farts and fartesses, oblivious to the queue behind them, can tell the staff that little Wayne has started at nursery school, that Monica's funeral was a lovely service and did you see that girl on Britain's Got Talent last night......did I give you that airmail letter?......it's not in my bag.......must have left it on the sideboard.....what am I like?
Several of us bite our lips in response to this question. Not only would 'pain in the arse' be disrespectful but somewhat short of the truth, for a pain in the arse does not emit a stream of inconsequential twaddle.

I finally reach the counter. Not having the right glasses on, I fumble with a pocketful of small change and drop some of it on the floor.
I start to leave, but it's a clever dummy move and I return to the counter to ask for a certificate of posting, forcing the fuming man behind me to return to the queue.
"Is that PO Box 745 or 145?" says the clerk.
"I'm not really sure", I say. "I haven't got my reading glasses with me. If it's a 7, it'll have a line through it like the French do. I used to work for a French company; that's why I write sevens like the French do. It's one of their more sensible ideas. But now you mention it, I'm sure it was PO Box 145, not 745. What am I like?"
The man behind me bites his lip.
I've become an irritating, time-wasting old fart myself.
But, as the French say, je m'en fou.

4 Comments:

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Tim Footman said...

I suffer from a chronic pain in the arse that emits a positive Niagara of inconsequential twaddle, not to mention inane babble and banal wittering (the last of which is a small village in Suffolk, I believe).

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

That's no way to talk about Mrs Footman.

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Semaphore said...

I think I was born an old fart, especially when it comes to grammar and spelling and manners. For the record, I'm nearly twenty-one.

A liberal old fart, though, which I suppose is something.

Perhaps we could have a system like in the supermarket where they have FIVE ITEMS OR LESS, BASKETS, and TROLLEYS. You could have IN A RUSH AND JUST NEED A FORM, PROBABLY GOING TO TAKE A BIT LONGER BUT STILL RELATIVELY SPEEDY, and I LIVE ON MY OWN AND WOULD LOVE SOMEONE TO TALK TO, AND DID I MENTION I'M MOSTLY BLIND?

I think this would save a lot of angst.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

semaphore: unfortunately, small Post Offices like mine have only two staff serving, so your suggestion wouldn't work (and my title was rather misleading).

Someone under 21 who cares about grammar and spelling?
Incredible!

 

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