Tax Disc is hard for me to say…

It won’t be long before I have to pay tax for posting this blog. Tax is salt and the government put it on everything. They grind it out of your wages, then shake it onto anything you want to buy, or use.

My road tax was up this month. So, just like last year I visited the post office with my papers and tried to pay for it. The post office – what a great pic & mix of personalities: Children swinging from the queueing rails. A foreign couple arguing with staff in half English. Five quiet pensioners shuffling through the line – I say quiet, but some of them do seem to hum constantly. A mail carrier wearing shorts, squeezing through the crowd trying to avoid eye contact. Two mums (who don’t know eachother), one of whom thinks the post office is a necessary place to discuss the following with the other. . . . actually, before you read the list, ‘discuss’ is probably the wrong word. It’s more like an indirect broadcast. She is looking at the other mum but is, in fact, talking to the whole room about:

– Where her child goes to school.
– Why her child is off school and in the post office.
– The nature of her visit to the post office and the full details of her “perfectly f***ing reasonable” complaint.

And me, me who just wants to pay my road tax and drive home. Yet, much to my surprise the woman behind the perspex said I could not give away my £165.

“You need your reminder letter.” She said.

“Why do I need reminding? I’m already here?!”

I don’t even like salt but I’ll put up with it if it’s already on my chips. What I’m not prepared to do is have someone tell me to have it on my cereal and even when I reluctantly agree (just to get them off my back), they take my Cheerios and my salt, only to ask me to present a particular spoon before I can ever eat cereal again.

I’m aware this metaphor may have been stretched a little too far. Of course there’s nobody in my life who determines what ingredients go into my breakfast. Hey, take the description with a pinch of salt! . . . . . .or just tax me for every desperate piece of writing I produce.

(If you do decide to tax me, please, just make it easy for me to pay)

Text Back

I remember the days when the abbreviation ‘tb’ would be tagged onto the end of a text message. It was not to spread awareness of any lung diseases, but to inform the person receiving the message that this particlar text required a reply (Text Back). These two letters not only took up two valuable characters (you pay as you go people know where I’m coming from) but they kind of seemed needy and desperate too.

As a result I think ‘tb-ing’ has gone out of fashion. Instead, there is a mutual trust between texters now, to text back as soon as they can. This mutual trust has formed over time because not texting back promptly enough could lead to disaster.

I’ve experienced this on a personal, almost silly level. For example when you have one of those days, when you just can’t remember if you shut the front door on your way to work. You text, your parent or spouse or sibling or housemate or dog to check. What if they don’t tb? Well, your mind begins to race – maybe they’ve been tied up and gagged during a robbery, has the dog escaped? Is the door open wide enough to see my novelty underwear hanging on the banister?

A new dilemma soon arises in situations like this. Do you send another text message? Because, somehow, it is perfectly logical to you that the phone company may have messed up and not delivered your message. Or did you even press send? Who knows? Check your sent items. Yes you did send it. Send it again, why not?

Well, I’ll tell you why – the pain and suffering you experience when not initially receiving a reply, doubles when you don’t receive one again. It only confirms your most ridiculous thoughts of kidnapping and runaway dogs. Before you know it you’re abandoning your job to check on a front door that is more than likely closed anyway – tb xx

Skipping Games

Now and again a skip is placed in your neighbourhood. There’s no way of telling when one will arrive, it just appears. An ugly, yellow, overflowing rhombus. Without fail, there will be a mirror in a skip. There always is.

This inevitably becomes the communal mirror. When I’m lying in bed I hear the footsteps of a 9 to 5 office woman in heels, knocking down the road, then an unnatural three second pause, before she carries on. This is her three seconds of shared mirror time.

It just goes to show that a mirror needn’t look pretty, a mirror’s job is to judge the prettiness of others and it can do that job from wherever it pleases. Including a skip erupting with brick-a-brack.

The skip on a whole, also becomes the communal bin: Finished an apple? Toss the core in the skip. Lucozade empty? Skip it. Football gone flat? Kick it one last time into the skip. The duration of a skip’s stay in the neighbourhood is unnerving. Cars avoid parking near it, parents warn their children to stay away but until it starts to develop that unique stench, it is the area’s guilty treasure.

I declare this day Skip Appreciation Day –

Skips, doing the hard work your wheeley bins can’t handle.