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I am domesticated

  Fri 12th February 2021

On Thursday I was alone in a courtroom, controlling the technical side of an online application hearing, which would normally have been held with all parties present in that room.

I get an email, which was sent round to everyone in the Court, from the post clerk. "Could whoever did this" -- and there was a photograph of an envelope I'd addressed to Helen in Norway, sending her my change of address card -- "please be careful in future. This was very nearly missed. Air mail must be clearly marked as such."

Coming down back into the open plan office, where every error is public, I was hot with shame. By the way she muted her normally perky chatter as she spoke to me, I knew that one of my colleagues had recognised my handwriting and had reported it.

I bade as cheery a good afternoon to everyone as my reddened face would allow, and resigned by text the following morning. I sent a separate message to my manager. "I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience this has...", then re-wrote it as "...I have caused." She was magnanimous. "It's alright, just as long as you are OK. Feel free to ring me for a chat."

But I wasn't going back, the photograph of the fraudster's envelope having been circulated as courtly samizdat.

It felt liberating, and as for work, there's plenty of cleaning shifts at the hospital, and I'm still working at The Big House. It's a liberation. Lettergate only hastened a decision to leave which I had planned anyway. I only wish my colleague who had found me out had just had a quiet word with me, instead of betraying me.

My family have been so pleased for me becoming a civil servant, which they see as an elevation into a respectable and ordered class, that I haven't told them that I'm back scrubbing toilets -- for an hourly rate inferior by ten pence.

On my first shift back at the hospital, as I was cleaning a sink, a patient said to me "this canula's still leaking." "Oh right OK, I'll tell a nurse." "Oh, sorry, I didn't realise you were a domestic." No, neither did I.


Me and Mel went to the new flat. We bumped into some of the other denizens of the block, all maskless. "Can I introduce myself? My name's looby and this is my girlfriend Mel." Nods and smiles all round. We stood about while Billie, perhaps the unofficial concierge, told us of the improvised social programme now that the landlord has forbidden us from using the capacious communal lounge. Those that like society meet up on Wednesday afternoons where the corridor turns a right angle outside her flat.

"We do a raffle and have a cup of tea and a biscuit. If you want to join in you can buy something yourself or you can give me a fiver and I'll get the prizes." I wondered about the "cup of tea", suspecting that the odd small sherry might form part of our games of chance.

Pleased at the opening account we gave of ourselves, we left them to go to the flat, where we ordered pizza and a bottle of wine. There being no carpets, nor a bed, Mel had to stand up to get her dessert.


But at the moment, I'm still sharing a house with Cath, who was enthused by reading the other day that people in our sub-postcode are encouraged to do "surge testing" -- so under her cosh, yet another bit of retching on a twisting cotton bud, cooking up her anxiety catnip for her, fuel for her evangelism of worry.

9 comments »

9 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Damn it, Looby, you should always get me to write on your envelopes - this would have saved your embarrassment, if nothing else.
Dreading the day someone tries to shove a cotton bud up my nose.
Sx

Fri 12th February 2021 @ 13:57 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Your envelopes are beautiful. Yours is balanced at the moment on the top of a Sheffield-brewed bottle of ale called Tart.

Fri 12th February 2021 @ 15:00 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Dessert is a dish best served standing up… you sly fox you.

And this work is a strange bit, i mean i’d much rather do nothing all day but society seems to frown upon that, at the same time i’d rather do something i relatively enjoy rather than slave away at something i despise only because it pays a higher wage. I quite enjoy my gig now that i’ve got the hang of it and know how to work the system… seems i’ve always had that knack and today in the middle of a winter storm warning i delivered to and elderly lady who was so happy that she got her groceries she was beaming, told me she was increasing my tip and i told her she didn’t have to do that, but she was ecstatic and we chatted for a minute and it was gratifying to bring that much joy to someone, paycheck be damned…

While i understand the prestige thing i’m sure the “domestic” ;) gig is much more laid back and relaxed than the civil servant bit, seeing the pay about the same i know which one i’d be inclined to, what the family doesn’t know won’t hurt now either will it? Shite i have long comments. STFU already kono!

Tue 16th February 2021 @ 01:27 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Hey kono, you rattle on me mucker. Ity’s never boring, so you’re allowed :)

Really glad you’ve found your covid métier and I’m sure you’ll charm the elderly ladies out there who are probably really desperate for a bit of chat and company, even of only for a few minutes.

The hospital cleaning is better than the job in the Court. I’m not tied to the 9 to 5. “9 to 5, what a way to make a living / Barely gettin’ by, it’s all taking and no giving / They just use your mind and you never get the credit…” Dolly Parton nailed it.

And it did bother me that I was signing writs to evict people from their homes. OK, some of them might have been thoroughly objectionable people who made a lot of trouble for others, but some of them were people who have fallen on hard times. It was *my* signature on the writ that authorised the bailiff to go round and chuck them out. Not fucking doing that!

Wed 17th February 2021 @ 13:06 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

I used to know a clerk in Islington who, for a small consideration, would make an error in the eviction notice, which could be appealed, thus delaying Justice. But things are probably more professional now.

Wed 17th February 2021 @ 17:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

The trouble was all my work was checked by a superior.

Wed 17th February 2021 @ 22:11 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl [Visitor]

So you are moving in with Mel, great! I’ll need to read a few more of your posts to catch up a bit (I had a problem accessing my blog reader which suddenly seems to have resolved with no help from me), but I’m glad you seem to be much happier than the last time I was here.

Sun 28th February 2021 @ 17:03 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh God, typed my comment, lost ir. All Eleanor Oliphant’s fault.

Anyway it was just to say that me and Mel aren’t co-habiting. I don’t want to live with anyone. I just wanted to introduce her to my society. She made a good impression, as she would anywhere.

I clicked on your EO link because it’s been on my to-read list for a bit. The fact that it’s got the Shiels endorsement moves it up a couple of places. All the best Eryl and nice to see you round here.

Sun 28th February 2021 @ 20:18 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl [Visitor]

It’s nice to be here.

Sun 28th February 2021 @ 21:12 Reply to this comment


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
Jeremy Wagner

La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
George Szirtes

Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
John Whale

One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

The Comfort of Strangers

23.1.16: Big clearout of the defunct and dormant and dull
16.1.19: Further pruning

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