Saturday 15 October 2011

It’s the only life I know

There is a basic system to queuing system at Fallowfield Sorting Office, where you have to go to collect your parcels. It only really kicks in if there are more than four people there, for four and under (people) there is a pretty laissez-faire attitude to how and where you stand; as long as you stick to getting served in the order you arrived in the waiting room. There are generally more than four people there – think about it, it serves Fallowfield, Moss Side, Rusholme, Didsbury and Withington. People in these areas are generally not around to accept parcel deliveries: they’re at work/committing crimes/attending lectures/in bed and don’t want to get up/shopping and in some cases they’re at the Sorting Office collecting a parcel they have missed previously. In short there’s generally more than four people.

Up to about ten people and standard queuing convention kicks in. Single file, ordered chronologically (in terms of who has been there longest at the front) from the front around the room. After that we start to get a little bit crazy. I have drawn a diagram to help out at this stage – yes: it’s going to get ruddy complicated.

Once the office is full there is a continuation of the queue outside on the steps – and in crazy season (eg Christmas) this may continue on to the street and around the corner. The first time you are involved in one of these queues it can be a little bit intimidating. You’re going in the door but then you have to walk over – practically to the front of the queue – to the back of the (inside bit of the queue). It’s fine if people obey these conventions – they do not.

This morning SEVERAL people came inside when there was not enough room – it’s a one-in-one system, these shits were coming in three or two-for-one. They are unabashed at the lack of space in the queue inside and and up standing in (what I have called) the zone of confusion on my plan (I would say what the colour was but I don’t know what the colour is: mong eyes). I did my best not to tut/shake my head at people doing this, but I definitely failed on three of the five times I tried not to do it (by doing it). I don’t think any of the perpetrators realised, though, who would think anyone was petty enough to become slightly furious at people mis-queuing BEHIND them in a queue? Advantage me.

I know what you are thinking: you are thinking ‘you did well not to go over the edge there, Philip – I would have attacked someone with a brick.’ Well I had an ace up my sleeve – enjoying music. And the Sorting Office have Magic 1152AM piped in..and Streetlife only came on didn’t it? I bastard love Streetlife (the song). Some songs have that added something that makes them be better than just ‘very good’. Streetlife (the song) has it – when it ups tempo on one of the choruses (it might not be a chorus, it could be a middle-eight; I don’t know what a middle-eight is though, which hasn’t stopped me saying ‘cracking middle-eight’ upwards of seven times in my life) it proper becomes better than ‘very good’ for me.

But Streetlife (the song) saved me from a rage that could have ruined the next hour of my (partner’s) life. As it was, I didn’t even get to mad at being served by some kind of retard who took a good 300% longer than the other person on the desk. Well, ok, I did a bit: she had already been gone long enough for the other person to serve two people when she came back holding something. I knew it wasn’t mine as it was clearly an album, or a 12-inch single. She for some reason checked it just before handing it me and only then realised it was not for me. I have no idea why she had thought it might be for me or realised it wasn’t at that stage but she did. She then disappeared again while the other person, who I was calling ‘The competent one’ in my head served another person, then another and another before my packages appeared – being carried by the person clearly struggling with the organisation of parcel storage and retrieval.

Still though, I was just a bit ticked off, and not properly mad. And that disappeared as I treated myself to a McDonald’s breakfast after collecting the parcels. That is in no small part thanks to their hash browns, they look horrendous but taste really nice. I have always enjoyed the taste of things that I think are really nice, and see no end to this ‘enjoying nice things’ fad I seem to have been on for most of my life.

Thanks a mill’

Philip

Sorting Office Plan

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