Abseiling into a new life

OMG, I’ve got a job. Well actually not a job, not a real job, not one that pays me to do things. There is no contract, but the paperwork was worse than the interview.
It all began in the summer last year, my friend and I, why do we use that term, makes you sound like the Queen, my friend and I, I mean you wouldn’t say that, would you, but grammar dictates that the correct form should be used. Actually, me and my mate were wombling around the town centre when we stumbled onto a book shop. A real one, you know the type, one of those that smells of over processed pulp. Where all the books are on the shelves and anyone with OCD would have a night mare. I know that it’s easier to search for books if they are in the right categories and organised by authors surname, but I just wanted to throw all the books in a big pile and then put them back with the biggest to the left working my way down to the smallest on the right of each shelf. My nightmare is when they make books that are landscape not portrait oriented and they don’t fit the shelf. I wonder if those who have OCD and read Arabic want to start with the largest books on the right. The mind boggles.
It was like opening up a candy shop in my street and telling me I was going on this new sugar free craze. Honestly, sugar free, are people mad? It’s Sugar, one of the best forms of energy around. My hairdresser tried it. What a joke. It turns out that whilst at home both were really good. The only fruit they had was blueberries and they even shunned bread because of the teaspoon of sugar per 2lb loaf that was bad for them. However, I know for a fact that she had a hobnob or two. He it seems was partial to the odd Fredo.
It lasted about a month.
So there I was, faced with the prospect of only buying three books, that’s what it said, you can take three books. I thought it meant that you could only buy three books, or that there was a three for two offer. No, I could take them, just pick them up, and walk away, Scot free, no purchase involved, not a penny need leave my purse.
“What, nothing?”
“No, we don’t charge for the books, we do ask that if you can afford it, that you make a donation.” The young rather good looking man handed me a leaflet.
It was a charity book shop. The idea is that you take up to three books and make a donation and then bring them back. It was the last bit that was of concern, the bring them back. I didn’t take books back, never, not ever, they are mine, all mine. The last cull of my book shelves, yes there are many, yielded three for the charity bin. Three. And even that was painful.
Making my donation I ran away, quickly, in case there had been some mistake. What if this guy didn’t actually work there, what if he was just some young prankster that thought it would be funny, funny to see me being chased down by the fat security guard in his, ‘I’m not a copper, but I can’t pretend’ Uniform.
Running’s not my style, but walking very quickly is, and I stuffed the leaflet the man had given me into my pocket without a second thought, and trotted away smartish. My friend was in stitches. Free books don’t happen where I come from. Free anything doesn’t happen, there’s always a price to pay. I was scarpering, before they changed their minds. We stopped to have coffee and I totally forgot about the leaflet.
The Sun’s coming out, have you noticed? It is, not much, but enough. Enough for those of us that wear super oversized, space designer, thermal, long line, quilted coats all winter, enough to change to, dare I say it in case I jinx the good weather, Lite Wear. Casual Attire. Not skinny white uber tight shoe string cami tops, IT IS NOT THAT WARM! (That was a shock announcement for all those women who feel the need to expose vast amount s of fat to feel sexy, just because the temperature has risen two degrees. IT IS NOT SEXY!!!!) Glad I got that off my chest.
The reason I mention the change of attire is because last week when I went to my brothers I got out last Summer’s jacket. Last Summer if you remember, wasn’t quite warm enough either, FOR PARADING AROUND IN NOTHING. Calm down Jen, calm, OMMMMMHHHHH…..
The leaflet was still in the pocket and when I drew it out a thought struck me. “I could do that.”
Volunteers needed
I rang the number last Saturday, in between Tractors and Horse Boxes and Dinner. The lady that answered was wanting me to turn up there and then to start, but I had to explain to her that I was 180 miles away. Now usually you get time between enquiring about a stupid idea and executing it. Jumping off a building for instance takes time to plan, at least an hour. Now that was funny. I was in a pub when I was younger and a good friend of mine and I, there’s that perfect grammar again, don’t expect it all the time, wouldn’t want you to think I was good at this writing lark, anywho, we were in this pub and some bloke got fresh, cheeky arsenal, he thought I would be interested in him. After being as polite as I could be I went for the throat, actually I aimed a bit higher and went for his mouth.
“I wouldn’t go out with you even if you paid me, for a start I’d recommend you sort out those bloody rotten teeth of yours and that bad breath.”
Well that had the gathered audience that was listening sniggering in their pints. Strange what people find funny after a couple of drinks.
“Go jump off a building.” Was his weak wimped comeback.
“That’s a bloody good idea,” cried Tony.
Ok, let me explain Tony. He was over six foot, young, intelligent and an adventurer. Abseiling was one of his many hobbies. He also had a habit of pissing off the police as he cycled through the town and had been stopped several times for crashing through the speed limit on his racing push bike. He called it Thor, as it was a Viking. Each to their own.
A few drinks later we were abseiling down the front of the tallest building in the town and yep, there at the bottom was the police. The real deal. It took a lot of explaining and back then a telling off was all the police did. Was it worth it. Oh yes.
But I’m older and wiser now and I like to plan my impulsive decisions.
I arranged to meet Lynda at the book shop on the following Wednesday.
Well, I met her, she apparently liked me and I am starting next Thursday. Only one day a week, I’m going to be working in an old Library, giving away books. Giving them away, not selling them, giving them. I am allowed three books a day for myself and I can keep them or bring them back. It’s OK, I have this covered. I have been to Ikea and ordered two new book cases. We can do this.
There might be one problem though, you know how I like to tell you my stories, well it doesn’t just start and stop with writing them, I’m known for being, what you might call exuberant, in other words, loud, obnoxious and crazy. Yep, crazy is a good word for me, in fact if you were to ask anyone that knows me, that’s the first word that they would use to describe me.
We sat at a coffee table and she gave me the forms. Lots of them, the first was a sort of application. She’d already offered me the place, I won’t call it a job, it’s more like one of those school placements you used to get when you were in the six form. A getting used the work environment position. I took mine at a retirement home. We had this one guy there who use to steal everyone’s false teeth and hearing aids, but that’s another story. The application had the usual questions, Name, Date of Birth, Address, Next of Kin, and Work History.
Work history? I looked at her, “Really, do you know how long ago it was that I worked, I mean really worked?”
“That’s Ok, just put down your last two positions.”
I began with the name and address of the last place I worked at. ‘Dates from and to’. I just wrote what came to mind.
‘About 2002, I think not sure’
Reason for Leaving: ‘Got bored of nine to five.’
I looked up again.
“Anyone that you can think of that you know.” She smiled, sort of.
I wrote in my brother and my friend who was a receptionist at the doctors and put her address as the Surgery, not I might add the new surgery, that looked impressive.
I signed and went to hand it back to her before she took out a six-page document. “We need you to do one of these for us.” The dreaded CRB. “And can you drop in two forms of identity before you start on Thursday.”
The inquisition over, I felt drained, poked and prodded. I had been interrogated and marked as Safe. I knew the CRB would be Ok, I had one of those done for the Riding School, but what a bloody palaver. I was going to sit in a book shop for six hours a week and I felt as if I had just been given the keys to my first DB9, and was to become the new Jane Bond.
It will be worth it. It won’t be as exciting as jumping off a building, or getting caught for stealing books, I’m allowed to take them. But it will mean I get out of the house one day a week. New home, new life, now a new post. Not a job. At least I won’t be able to get into any trouble, will I?

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