Now Playing: The Prisoner of Zenda, starring Stewart Granger as Rupert of Rassendyll, and James Mason as Rupert of Hentzau. Brilliant.
Thursday: Wake up determined to weather the storm, post apology on blog, go to work.
While at work get told to fuck off x 12, called a dickhead x 5, punched in chest x 3, shoved x 2, kicked x 3, and told repeatedly by manglement that any extra unpaid time I spend on projects is a treat that I must earn by attending pointless extra (unpaid) training days on subjects in which I hold no interest.
It's what you'd call a difficult day.
Ruin things further by telling them 'don't fucking bother', which is hardly textbook manglement, but which seems to work: I don't have to do any extra training, any extra projects I'd offered to do are cancelled in revenge, so I don't have to do unpaid extra hours, and Peachykeenyboyboss (who's temporarily NewBoss since I refused to be) is suffused with silent resentment at how I managed that one.
Sheer negativity makes me join in the Resentment Huddle that occupies a corner of the Coffee Area daily, and which I usually scuttle past in case they infect me with their impotent rages. Joining in makes me feel self-righteous, brave, and ultimately negative and shit.
Wander out of work at four to find my car has been wheel-clamped. Uh-ohh.
There's no parking regs on that street, but it was parked right next to some roadworks that had a 'no parking here' sign last week, it was parked halfway on the pavement (but that's the general way of doing in Lewisham, it seems - so are all the other cars), and the tax is out of date.
There's no sticker on the window or phone number on the clamp, and thus begins an hour long hunt to find out who clamped the thing, so I can pay the no doubt few hundred moulah it takes to get it unclamped, and quick, before all the authorities go home at quarter to five.
I could walk home I suppose, but I'm wearing T shirt, jeans and flip flops, it's intermittently pissing down with grey icy drizzle, and a storm is brewing. Plus I need to find out what time it was clamped, so I don't overrun the 24 hour rule that sees it towed away.
My one advantage - I have a phone.
At least I thought it would help, until I try to remember the number of the new Directory Enquiries service. 118 118, isn't it? I seem to remember a fairly odd advert employing gym teachers from the seventies with it emblazoned across chests.
Gullible Twat: Hi, I need the number for Lewisham Council parking department. The main switchboard number will do, though.
118 Monkey: Lewisham Council. There isn't any number for them.
GT: Yes there is, they're the borough council. Of Lewisham. Try London Borough of Lewisham.
118 Monkey: Aha, yes, here we are, London Borough. The council of Kent.
GT: No-oh, Lewisham is in London. Kent isn't. London Borough of Lewisham. It's the local council.
118 Monkey: Ah. Hold on. Okay. (adopts patronising tone)There is no Lewisham Council. There's only one council in London, you know. I've found the number of London Council for you. Shall I put you through?
GT: No. There is no such thing as London Borough Council. There's only different boroughs who are councils within London. Not London Council.
118 Monkey: Oh. I'll try again. Here: Borough Council of Lewisham?
GT: I'll try that, they should be able to redirect me to the right extension.
118 Monkey: shall I put you straight through at 9p per minute?
GT: Er, ohk-- (blip)
Complete stranger: Hello, ******* School, Borough of Morden, here. How can I help you?
Thankfully, the nice lady school receptionist in Morden, Surrey had a phonebook to hand and found in ten seconds the number 118 118 had taken five tries to fail to get. She also told me the real, BT service is 118 500. Phew.
Cue a million referrals through Lewisham's phone system to the bins and waste control department, who were getting heartily sick of me, till someone offered the info that the DVLA clamp cars if the tax is out of date.
DVLA it is. They pass me on to a Clamping unit in Thamesmead, and tell me I'll have to book them to unclamp it, except they've probably all gone home by now (it's an hour later, five o'clock), and if I leave it till morning, it'll be towed.
Oh joy. I try my best Sarf Eest Lahndahn accent, crawl my way into everybody's good books by being craven, and extract a promise that the car will be unclamped at least within the next three hours, at worst, by midnight.
All I have to do is wait in the area. It costs me #80 fine, and #120 deposit, repayable if I collect it from Kent in person within 14 days, showing my up to date tax. Compared to Tower Hamlet's on the spot #200 parking fine if you're ten minutes overtime in a bay, it seems reasonable, although I'm not going to be shopping anywhere better than Lidl anytime soon.
It's cold,the locals (who all know me from my job) are larffffing at me, and sympathising in that 'but I'm not gonna get you a cup of tea, you fucker; payback' way, and I haven't eaten since yesterday.
I wander back into work and do some more.
I get a train down to Bellingham, get some money out, and eat some chips, then walk back.
I pick up a paper, sit in the car reading it in the rain. Chat to passersby.
Come ten o'clock, six hours later, it's getting dark, the area's not that salubrious, there's an impromptu teenage motorbike rally up and down the surrounding streets, I'm starting to think about the three different yellow murder boards in the neighbourhood, and trying not to read the SubStandard's scarifying reports about a Catford rapist at large who preys on his victims at nightfall from his motorbike.
The bloke who eventually unclamps my car is wordless, doesn't meet my eye or return my greeting.
He unclamps, then runs back to his car. Only when safely locked inside does he risk a parting wave and eye contact. I have to dash out of the car and flag him down to ask him where I have to go with my new tax disk to reclaim my deposit.
He winds the window down to a large crack - enough to pass me a note with the address on, but not enough for me to grab his neck or clothing or to punch him. Not that I would, but shit, what a hairy scary job he has that he has to take those precautions.
I get home fifteen minutes past bedtime. Know what I'd been going to do tonight? Take myself out to dinner, construct an elaborate date with myself in a transparent attempt to feel better.
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: He's Welsh, You Know
"I have a recurring anxiety dream in which I get the opportunity to work for Radio 1 legend John Peel. I suspect the pay would be miserable, but I would drop everything for the opportunity. However, in this dream, John eagerly asks me to book for Maida Vale my "mate from the pub" who sings an amazing rendition of the gospel tune "Salvation on Faith."
"That is such a beautiful song. I really look forward to hearing your friend's rendition of it," John says excitedly in his gravel voice.
"Oh fuck," I immediately think to myself.
That's just a song my mother used to sing to me when I was a kid. I've never heard anyone sing a particularly stunning version of it. Then I wonder if perhaps I had at some point drunkenly bragged to John about having a friend who does a sterling version of the song. Because I would do something stupid like that -- tell an all-out lie just to garner the attention of John Peel."