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Thursday, May 14, 2009

A test of patience.


No time can be truly happy when you know that you have to visit a Spanish post office at the end of the day.

I have tried to develop a hard cynical exterior to cope with the mindless muddle; the witless waiting; the resolute rudeness and the surrounding stuffiness that characterizes the places.

As with supermarket checkouts, so in post offices I seem to be in the queue which has the Fatal Person behind whom stasis is enforced and whose enquiry necessitates the attention of everyone behind the counter, phone calls to the Office of Circumlocution and bemused scratching of heads.

When I arrived to get my ticket there were few people there! Getting the ticket is an essential part of the process. A colleague went into an empty post office and was ignored and then refused service until she had got a ticket. She was then seen. There is a young lad behind the counter (usually on position 2) who is viciously punctilious about painstakingly following the bureaucratic procedures to the letter – and both of us would, quite cheerfully slaughter him.

My ticket was B200 and the electronic indicator board was actually showing that somebody with B197 was actually being served. I sat down (following the advice of Kings) and composed myself to wait because, as I have said before, time is a tricky companion in Spanish post offices. Numbers B198 and B199 were seen in short order and then of course, numbers with the prefix A were seen, then E and then C. I was particularly impressed by this as the machine only offered three alternatives of which E was not one. Presumably there is some further refinement of pressing the button on the machine which, like the wardrobe in the Narnia stories will take you to another universe in the post office version of reality.

When my number eventually came up I had, of course, drawn the obnoxious youth who demanded to see my Spanish identification document which is now yellowed with age and crackles when it is opened up as if it is an ancient document written on ancient desiccated paper.

I suppose that all the effort does make the actual receipt of what has been sent to you much more of an achievement going through this ordeal!

Weather today has been of the soul sapping variety where overcast clouds of such colour draining vapidity make it seem impossible that sun will ever shine again. And it rained. And it was muggy and that encourages the mosquitoes.

As I have been typing I have notices a massive mozzie blatantly relaxing on the ceiling at just that sort of height where you just can’t quite reach the blood gorged insect for the killer blow with a rolled up newspaper. He looks so fat that I have begun to check myself for puncture marks because it really does look like one well fed insect. I fear a chair may have to be pressed into use for this particular execution.

No, with a copy of The Week that particular mozzie has gone to its appointed afterlife. It must be time to start plugging in the electronic anti-mosquito devices. These do not really work, but, as they are gadgets I have a vague faith in them.

I am looking forward to going to Andorra at the weekend for a night in a hotel with use of the spa – all meals included!

I have been told that Andorra is a shoppers’ paradise, but BBVA, with their characteristic callous indifference to the needs of their customers has mucked up the delivery of my new Switch card, so I will have to be content with window shopping.

Ah well, such enforced parsimony fits the Crisis I suppose.

And it’s Friday tomorrow!
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