Monday, 5 September 2011

One pound fucking twenty

For the first time ever I find myself without an office to go to. This means all sorts of things. Primarily it means I don't have to attend meetings. And meetings about meetings. It also means I don't have to run the gauntlet of : "How was your weekend?" 50 million times before I get my first coffee of the day. I also don't have to write my name on my food. I don't have to look at signs that tell me when water might be hot or how to wash my hands. I don't have to fix a rictus grin of cordiality while talking about tedious minutae when all I want to do is run screaming from my battery hen existence.

It also means I don't have access to a printer.

This blows. I mean, obviously, I'm neither advocating nor suggesting that I have at any time in the past or will in the future, conducted my personal admin while at my place of work. Nor am I suggesting that I have ever used company paper, pens, staplers etc for anything other than their intended purpose. I'm just saying that I like printers. And I don't have one.

(Mind you, the things I've seen people do. I saw one woman frequently print out multiple copies of, and then laminate her child's 'congratulations at swimming 5m' certificate things using company materials. So that makes me feel much better about never ever having printed out stuff for my own use. Just saying.)

Anyway. So. No printer means I have to, well, figure out what people without printers do. I mean, I have invoices to print (actual proper invoices - so exciting) and complicated Inland Revenue forms to print out and shit.

So I went down to my second favourite place in the whole world - the library.

I love the library. I adore it in fact. It's even better now because you don't even have to speak to anyone. You can go in, get books (up to TEN BOOKS. For FREE) and then check them out at the computery things that have replaced the human who used to stamp the books. And then you leave. It's marvellous. Although it does make me a bit sad. When I was little, that was my main career aspiration - to be the lady who stamped the books with that pen/stamper thing. I even painstakingly 'stamped' my (rather massive for a five year old) book collection so I could practise for the day when I became a Library Assistant. Halcyon days indeed.

Anyway, I may use the library lots but I have never ventured forth into the using the internet malarkey there. Turns out you have to book a slot and then hang around glaring at people till they feck off, log in to the computer and then it counts you down for 30 minutes. I mean, there's an actual counter going backwards. And, when you get to five minutes to go, it ticker tapes across the screen with a big count down clock like it's going to explode.

It took me five seconds to realise that everyone, without exception, in that library was using their precious half an hour's free internet access to look at Facebook. I shit you not. Students, writers, randoms, kids, old people, all of them. Just clicking on Facebook. I was appalled and yet comforted. After all, it felt JUST like every office I've ever worked in.

I printed off four pages, paid £1.20 for the privilege, and then checked Facebook for the last ten minutes. I felt right at home.

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