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Friday, March 07, 2008

I took this photo yesterday morning outside a café in North Laine...

Keeping it Wheel
That sums up Brighton perfectly. You want to pop out for elevenses, you don't want to walk, there's nowhere to park, so what do you do? Obvious - you take the unicycle and leave it chained up outside.

But anyhoo, when I'm not wandering the bohemian part of town, trying to remember my way to the Alzheimers Society shop, I'm visiting JobCentrePlus (all one word) (apparently) to sign on for the last time. Obviously I've now signed on for the last time about three times, but I'm still waiting for the hospital HR department to confirm that I'm not a terrorist, and it's all taking rather longer than expected. Frankly if I was a terrorist I'd have blown myself up by now.

Anyway, yesterday's visit was, naturally, a delight. Having walked through the door, I handed my booklet to the man at the desk, he looked at it, glanced at his watch, looked at my booklet again and said "Oh. You're a bit early. It says ten thirty here". At which point he refused to do anything and told me to take a seat instead. I panicked, assumed I'd misread the clock, and felt intensely embarrassed for having arrived at completely the wrong time. Whereupon I looked at my watch and found it was 10:29 and 45 seconds.

But the good news is, having made me wait until I was five minutes late for my appointment, I was eventually allowed to see the signing-on lady. She's very nice. I particularly remember how friendly she was last time when she told me she didn't have time to check my jobsearch record because she was "rushed off her feet". An excuse which would have held more water if I hadn't been the only person there.

This time she welcomed me with a smile and told me she's been in trouble for not getting through her appointments quickly enough. She felt it was an unreasonable complaint, so I sympathised and decided not to mention that I'd sat there six weeks ago while she chatted to a bloke about her new kitchen for five minutes. She then said she wouldn't be checking anyone's jobsearch today either, because she has to give everyone a letter, and there wouldn't be time to do both.

I looked around, wondered whether to mention that there was no one else waiting (again), decided to keep quiet, and took receipt of my letter. It was an 'IMPORTANT NOTICE' reminding me of my responsibilities, advising me to arrive ten minutes early for all my appointments, and warning me that I must complete my jobsearch diary because they'll be checking it every time. I was so disgusted I nearly fell off my unicycle.