Almost daily diary!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Wednesday (part one)

I am the last person in the waiting room. There is a biting draft blowing around my ankles caused by the two inch gap between the ill fitting front door and the stone step beneath. Outside it has started to snow, though over three hours ago, when I was queuing outside, the sky had been blue and the day held such promise.

When the doors opened at 9.30am I was given a card with the number 13 on it, there were two more people behind me. By the time we had all passed through the doors into the chilly room, all the seats were full and someone was occupying the floorspace near the only bit of wall without a door in it.

I stood

The atmosphere was tense. Everyone in the room needed attention, urgently. There were 10 appointments and 15 clients.

Within a few minutes a man came out of the office to address the whole room, explaining the system; a five minute interview with each person in the room to identify need and then an interview to deal with the problem, if you were lucky...

Number one was called, an older man, with the look of an 'Old Sea Dog' about him, large misted eyes and possibly hard of hearing, he stood and entered the interview room.

I went to sit on his seat and waited. I read the posters around the room, domestic violence, help with debts, racial violence, teenage pregnancy... It was a depressing place. The tears stung my eyes, and rolled silently down my cheeks as I fished for a tissue in my pocket to hastily mop them up.

When the old sea dog emerged from the interview room I offered him his seat back, it took him a while to understand me, but he refused my offer, I was glad I had offered.

Number 2 was called in, a large woman, very large. She waddled towards the small room. I wondered how much of the room she would take up with her vastness. The sea dog sat in her chair.

The room was still full, and twitchy. In the corner was a radio blaring out the local station, lots of jolly tunes in such juxtaposition to the mood of the room. It wasn't until sometime later that I noticed the thick chain that secured it to the radiator cover. Above the radio was a clock on the wall, it said 9.30 am, the time that the doors had opened, when I left four hours later it still said the same time in the waiting room. . .




18 comments:

the eternal worrier said...

My god! Where were you? I cant wait to hear the rest.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Suburbia, my thoughts go out to you. You describe the scene with such clarity yet I imagine the thoughts going around your head must be pretty jumbled. Chin up. Things will get better - I'm sure of it! H xx

Steve said...

What a thoroughly depressing place... sounds like the reception to hell.

French Fancy said...

What was it all for? Income support or something to do with the mediation? Whatever and wherever it was - it sounds like salt in your current wounds.

Things will get better - it's just a question of marking time until you get out of the middle bit of the U and begin climbing to the top again

Linda said...

I felt tears welling up reading this account. I could slap him for putting you through this! He is such a bitter and mean person which will eat away what good he has left within his soul. I'm praying for him to change his behaviour and do the right and honourable thing. Keep looking for all the positives Sub, they are all around you, especially Sprog and Tall Girl♥ Big hugs to you {{{hugs}}} Linda xoxo

nick said...

CAB or similar by the sound of it. Demand must be colossal at the moment with all the extra problems from the recession. I imagine the wait wouldn't be so absurdly long if the place was properly funded but no doubt there are "higher priorities". I hope at least that you got something useful out of the ordeal.

Elizabeth said...

Yikes! This sounds horribly grim and Dickensian.
So sorry for you
oxoxo

Maggie May said...

I wonder if it was CAB? (Citizen's Advice Bureau)
Can't wait for the next bit.
It sounded awful.

Nuts in May

Chic Mama said...

Great description of such a depressing place. xx

Furtheron said...

What a horrible place - I hope it got better

The Dotterel said...

Gah... and they say 'time stands still' eh? Hope the interview - whatever it was about - was worth the interminable wait.

Akelamalu said...

You must need whatever it is they're offering to sit through that. :(

Rose said...

Sounds like such a depressing place, Suburbia. The clock that never changes time seems like the perfect symbol of this scene. Will wait to hear the rest of the story...

UAReport said...

We hope for better and waiting to read the rest.

tattytiara said...

Doesn't sound like a place I'd like to spend four minutes.

Fab, feisty and fifty... said...

l have recurring nightmares on this theme, packing unpacking, looking for a room....FEAR..

l understand you know.....l just thought l would be helping you through this.....not actually doing it myself too....

love you lots.

saz x

Kitty said...

When one is in need amidst others who aren't, it's totally different than being amongst others who are.

Hang on in there. xxx

Hullaballoo said...

Oh dear, how very grim. I hope that you got what you wanted after your long wait.