Friday, February 13, 2015

Waiting, always waiting

Tall stack of papers and files

It is one of the great instincts in modern people that they know when someone is going to be trouble.  Not, of course in a ‘private life’ sense – people seem to make a habit of latching on to those who are woefully unsuitable, just look at the divorce numbers.  No, not in terms of life partners, nothing so trivial.  I am talking about those troublesome people who ALWAYS get ahead of you in a queue.
            Yesterday I had to go to my bank to replace the little device which lurks behind the rear view mirror and which gives me instant electronic passage through the pay stations on motorways.  I parked the car in a space (something worth writing about because these spaces are at a premium for most of the year and are only available to casual parkers in the off-season) and started across the road to the bank when, to my horror, I noticed a woman walking with intent and clutching a sheet of paper in her hand and making for the same door.
            Spain is one of those post-dictatorship countries which, in their democratic version have kept the unholy regard for bureaucracy which is such a shaming mark of the totalitarian, making copies of everything in quintuplicate, stapling them together and stamping the photocopies with official looking marks, demanding other documents to support the documents to support the documents and . . . well, you get the idea.  And all of this takes time.
            She got there first.   Short of running and barging, there was no way that I was going to be able stake a previous claim.  Inside the bank there were two tellers and a gratifyingly small number of people waiting.  The person being seen to was a hapless woman wandering around with a card and bewailing the fact that the machine had not given her any money.  The Woman with the Paper gleefully claimed the other teller and that appeared to be it.  She positioned herself, slumped confidently on the counter and seemed to have settled in for the duration.  The Card Woman left to try the machine again, whereupon the teller who had been dealing with her promptly disappeared into another room.  People arrived asking as is our wont, ‘Ultimo?’ so that they could settle down and do what we all do worst in these situations, wait.  More people arrived.
            The Card Woman reappeared looking lost and waving her card is a pathetic manner.  The other (remaining) teller then left the Slumped Woman and went outside to deal with the Card Woman.  More people arrived.
            The teller reappeared and opened up the back of the hole in the wall machine and returned to the Slumped Woman and promptly started talking on the phone.  More people arrived.  At least I had a seat.
            The other teller reappeared and both tellers then tried to get the printer to work properly.  More people arrived.  My patience had, by this time, become as thin as beaten gold – and let me tell you that can be mere microns thick!
            Eventually, amazingly, the second teller decided that the press of people in the bank needed something to be done before we re-enacted the horror of The Black Hole of Calcutta.  I leapt to my feet as soon as she looked vaguely ready and my business was transacted in bloody seconds.  Truly amazingly she did not ask for documentation as we swapped devices.  And then I was done.  The Slumped Woman was still there.  I left.

Lunch was with two members of the Poetry Group one of whom has agreed to do some drawings to accompany the ‘Autumn Trees’ poem sequence in ‘Flesh Can Be Bright’ (publication October 2015) while I am more than grateful that Caroline has decided to do the drawings I am acutely conscious that I have given her awesome power until they are produced!  I trust her not to abuse it!  We had an excellent lunch and then went for a swing.  And I got high enough on the swing to get to the ‘bumps’ – ah memories!

The poem on frustration is not getting any nearer to completion, which I know is quite ironically poetic, but I am not finding the feeling is feeding into the production of something coherent and in lines.  But it will come.  Probably.  If it does you will be able to read the draft at together with my other recent drafts.  ‘Flesh Can Be Bright’ is where the final version of the poems will be and it will be instructive, I think, to see the differences between the drafts there and in the finished book.

But before then, there is the question of the next TMA which Must Be Done.  Soon.
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