annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Rambling but good pics

It's Tuesday so it was art class today (which is a misleading opening sentence as I never mention it again). I was well up for it (art) when I went to bed last night but this morning I had an email from BT that sent me straight into the bonkers place.

It has been my great good fortune thus far in life to have only had dealings with major corporations via fabulous individuals so that no muddles have ever escalated (although despite four years intermittent attempts, I never managed to get my Virgin bills paid by direct debit, but nothing developed from it). Over the years I've heard countless stories of poor bastards embroiled in tangles with faceless organisations, tangles that cost them money, month after month, year after year - you know, that whole Kafkaesque, scary nightmare? Well, that was what I thought I'd got into (and I may well be right), all through my stupid addiction to TV and the internet.

Not a good start to the day - lots of crying and pacing about the place, imagining the rest of my life spent on the phone being passed from one poor, underpaid, overworked, unmotivated bastard in a call centre to another, always having to start at the beginning, with my date of birth and mother's maiden name and listening to that same burst of tinny Mozart on repeat while they read my notes before asking me some question that I can't quite make out due to the crackly line and/or the mumbling, heavily accented voice, round and round again and again, getting nowhere while the money drains out of my account until there's none left and I'm on the street, pacing about, still talking to them on my mobile and getting nowhere, on and on. Oh yes, I can catastrophise like a pro, given half a chance.

But that way madness lies, so I phoned M, who answered on the first ring, which meant she was working, but she caught the vibe at once and reeled me back in with a magical, quick-acting combination of love, professional training and having been close mates for over twenty years.

Sudden flash of memory: the phrase 'she's my best friend but I hate her,' originally uttered by me, aged four, but surviving into the 21st century via family usage. The girl I was referring to was the only other girl in the street around my age (between toddler and school), and she was a nasty little bully who threw big tantrums and did mean things, but we kept on playing together because there was no one else.

I remember her getting me to help her open the lid of the coal bunker, which was HUGE, then somehow persuading me to look down inside and lean further and further over until my hands were in the coal and taking all my weight and BLAM! She let concrete lid drop on my legs, laughed gaily (this was the 50s, we laughed gaily then), and she went home, the fucking little cow, and left me there crying with my head in the coal until I managed to wriggle right down into the bunker and push the lid up.

I ran inside, still wailing, and Ma was LIVID. With me, at first sight, not interested in my tale of injustice, not listening, just furious with me.

In all the times this story was resurrected during Ma's lifetime, I never added that detail. The story was always about how nasty the girl was, and there was always a bit of 'poor Anna, getting stuck with no one to play with but her, so I never said, 'And Mum, you were really mean and hurt me when you were washing me crossly in a cold bath.'

And even if I had, she probably wouldn't have pointed out that what with having a baby, a toddler, a teenager and a husband to look after as well, the entrance into her house of a wailing step-daughter, covered head to toe in coal dust (which sticks to everything) did not bring out her caring side, and hot water wasn't available just like that in those days.

And something shifted in me, when I suddenly, just now, saw it from her side, something about asking for help when in distress.

You see, this is the kind of thing that happens when you write and let it go where it goes.

And even better, I knew I had a picture of me and this girl, because I posted it on FB ages ago, so I went in search of it

and finally had cause to open a folder called 'old stuff'. Fucking hell, it's not old like childhood stuff, it's all my old folders that I thought I'd lost, like (the first one I opened) pics of me and Son in Trafalgar square, listening to Nelson Mandela launching the 'Make Poverty History' Campaign(!!!!)

so I'm off to browse and to remind myself that I've had an amazing life. Because I have, and I'm not done yet. These are the lean times, but maybe the times they are a changin'.

Laters xx

10:55 p.m. - 07.02.12


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