Not all bad

I left you yesterday at the point where I was about to dash off and join the morning rush to work. I had intended to go in by bus and reached the stop just as the 214 hove in view. I saw it was crowded to the point where people were jammed in the space beside the driver. This is illegal, of course, because it blocks the driver’s view on the left, but drivers seem to tolerate it during rush-hour. There will be a nasty accident one of these days as a result.

I ignored the 214 and decided to go for the 43 instead but on the way I thought “What the heck!” and went to the tube station instead. I had tried the middle of the train and found it packed, so on this occasion I tried the rear of the train. It was packed. The trick is to try and get into the aisle between the seats. There is usually a little more space here. I can only assume it is because people are afraid of getting stuck and not being able to get out at their stop so they stay near the doors with predictable results. Being in the aisle also gives you a better chance of getting a seat when someone gets off.

Today, I didn’t bother with the buses and went straight for the tube. I had tried the middle and the rear, so today it was the turn of the front of the train. It was packed. I saw that another train was expected in one minute, so I waited for that. Guess what: yes, it was packed. So I squeezed aboard and found myself crammed against the doors but at Old Street I shoved my way to the aisle and at London Bridge, got a seat. Not the most comfortable journey but it got me there.

The work was as boring as ever and after lunch I was seriously in danger of falling asleep. In fact, to be honest, I think I took a couple of involuntary “power naps”. I removed my pullover to cool me down and went for a toilet break to wake me up. When I came back I made a strong black coffee. Chatting with one of my colleagues and having a giggle at the funny things people write also helped.

What really woke me up was a visit from a staff member from HR. The P45* I had given them was out of date (it was practically an antique) and they wanted me to fill in a P46 and bring it up to them as soon as I had done it. “Up” was the operative word: HR resides on the fourth floor. I could have taken the lift but I was too proud for that. I even forced myself to job nonchalantly up the concrete steps. On arrival, I took a leaf out of John Wayne’s book: “I spoke low and I spoke slow”. This helped me avoid gasping too obviously.

Strangely enough, the day didn’t seem too bad, even though the hands of the clock crawled around the dial with abominable slowness. I found myself repeating my mantra to someone (“Never again, never again, never again”) but in the back of my mind there flickered the thought that, well, perhaps I might do it again as long as it wasn’t too soon after this time.

*For non-British readers, a P45 is a form given you by your employer when you leave the job. It contains details that allow the new employer to link you up to the tax system. The P46 is a form you fill in if you don’t have a P45 (or it’s out of date). Nice to know the government is so interested in everything we do.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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3 Responses to Not all bad

  1. Chris says:

    Surely by now such things as the P45 should be obsolete. Where’s all the fingerprint or iris recognition technology we’re always hearing about on the news? And will the paperless office ever become a reality?

  2. athinkingman says:

    At least if you go back to work again, you will now have an up-to-date P45. One little less thing to divert you.

  3. SilverTiger says:

    I doubt whether the paperless office will become a reality any time soon. The company I am working for thrives on paper. Ton(ne)s of it. Every evening we solemnly put our folders and the files we are working on in the massive fire-proof safes. Everywhere you look there are heaps of papers and stacks of boxes containing… papers. Downstairs there is a library but not as we know it. The shelves hold brown-paper bag-folders, each containing a complete project, consisting of… a heap of papers. The photocopier rivals the coffee machine for frequency of use.

    As for the P45, I don’t mind being diverted. In fact, a diversion is a positive boon in the job. More diversions, please… PLEASE! 🙂

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