Yesterday was a bit of an experience.
I had to go into Skobieville with two objectives in mind. I just wanted to open a bank account and then get some documents signed by Social Welfare.
I decided to get the easier one over first. A bank should be happy to receive my valued business so that should be straightforward, whereas the Social Welfare Office invariably meant long queues and then being shunted from one window to another.
We all make mistakes.
I marched into the bank. I promptly hit my head off a furry microphone a bloke was waving about, and was blinded by a spotlight. It seems I had wandered onto a film set. Being somewhat immune to them after my Disney experiences during last Summer I marched through their set and told them to carry on.
There was a bloke standing there with his hands in his pockets watching the filming. He somewhat abruptly asked what I wanted. I told him. It transpired that I had found the chap I had my appointment with. He mellowed a bit. He brought me into his windowless phone-box of an office and we set to work.
An hour later I walked out without my new account. Apparently I hadn’t enough documentation, despite giving him my driving licence, Social Services Card, a utility bill, a letter from my solicitor and a letter from Revenue. He also wants a statement of my current account for the last six months, and another six month one for my credit card. He also wants a marriage certificate and Herself’s Birth Certificate. He cheerfully told me that I had a messy time ahead of me once the account is set up, transferring all my details from one bank to another and the my pension would probably get lost in the process. On the upside I get a small rebate on an electricity bill from a company I’m not with.
I left with my head in a spin.
The Social Welfare Office was directly opposite the bank which was handy. Except that it wasn’t, as they call it the Civic Centre or something and it’s a whole mess of glass and concrete buildings on different levels with dinky little “plazas”. I got lost somewhere between the theatre and the cinema. I found a tiny map inside one window so by squinting hard I managed to make out where I was and where I was supposed to be heading. I walked on down another couple of levels. I rounded a corner and there was the Social Welfare Office ahead of me. And as expected there was a large mob of Skobies and Skunkheads all dragging on their rollies while the Young Wans were all holding prams while chatting on their phones. Then I realised that I was actually at the Court House and these were Skobieville’s Finest, presumably waiting for their cases to be called. The Social Welfare Office was behind them so I marched in.
There was one customer there being attended to and another window with a happy looking woman sitting there. No queues? What the fuck? The woman waved me over. I showed her the documents I needed stamped and she stamped them with a smile [well, with a stamp, but you know what I mean]. That was that. She assured me everything was in order so I left.
Now all I have to do is find Herself’s Birth Certificate.
Assuming she has one.