Almost daily diary!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last Wednesday (part two)

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.

When she reappeared from the interview room, she took four paces forward, towards the seat she had occupied earlier. She shuffled forward again and stood, almost toe to toe, with the Old Sea Dog. She stared at him in silence. The tension in the room rose, a pin could have dropped and crashed to the ground. I could see the poor mans confusion. It took him a while to realise what was going on. Eventually he stood, gave up his seat, and walked to the centre of the room as she sat down heavily, filling the seat as before.

I wondered to myself if I should ask him if he would like my seat again, then person number 3 was called. Obviously the third seat became vacant, but the Old Sea Dog remained on his feet. One experience like that would be enough for anyone in this less than comfortable environment. I felt the tears again. There was no kindness in the room.

Then another man, sitting two seats down the row from where I was sitting, stood and motioned to the Sea Dog that he should take his seat instead. I had noticed this man earlier mostly because his mobile went off every few minutes, sending a jolly Middle Eastern tune, or perhaps it was more 'Bollywood', around the waiting room. He was a short stubby man, dressed from head to toe in black, I couldn't make out the language he spoke into his phone.

The Bollywood ring tone man gently insisted to the Sea Dog that he should use his seat. The Sea Dog gratefully accepted. The Bollywood ring tone man then sat in the seat belonging to the person in the interview room. Woe betide anyone who expected that seat back again!

The right thing had been done. There was kindness in the room, it wasn't totally a 'dog at dog' world.

We sat in silence, the rest of us, avoiding gazes, only the occasional mobile phone conversation added interest to the icy room. One by one the seats became empty, people moved on, the tension drained but the coldness remained. Outside the snow fell.

Was the wait worth it? No, not really. I learnt nothing new about my position. No financial help was available. Joint funds mean no help, despite my low income. I am lucky, I guess, to have any savings at all. It's still a tricky 'on the edge' type of existence alone though. When I am penniless I can live rent free. I hope it never comes to that.


BS5 Blogger said...

Hello Sub',

You're a kind hearted soul to focus on the kindness in a tough room.

Happy days to you soon

BS5 x

Chic Mama said...

I have had a day of hell....basically if you have 'something' it means everything but gets you nowhere, I really am thinking of you, and everyone else inb a similar situation. I promise if I can do something about this I will. Take care.xxxx

Rose said...

This situation is true in the US as well. To qualify for most assistance you have to be so poor that even the aid you get is not enough. I meant to say on your last post that your description of the scene was almost Kafka-esque--you could just feel the despair in the room. At least you and Mr. Bollywood were kind enough to reach out to help someone else.

I hope things get better for you soon, Suburbia.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh Suburbia - this sounds so tough... and how lovely of you to worry so much about other people at such a time. Hugs galore. xxxxx

Steve said...

What a depressing place. I feel very angry about the arrogance of Mrs Large - the seats don't belong to anyone! How nastily superior. I'm amazed you stuck it out. I think the atmosphere alone would have sent me running.

nick said...

What a wonderful game of seat-swapping and social etiquette! A shame you didn't get anything positive out of the long and dreary wait.

Furtheron said...

What a rubbish experience all round.

The bit I always like in this stuff is if you have anything you get no help but if you have nothing you get all the help... the scale just always seems too divided for me

Akelamalu said...

This is so unfair, especially when it's in the papers daily about immigrants getting houses, money and everything they need without ever having paid anything in!

I'm sorry you're having to go through this. x

Maggie May said...

I recently read about a single woman with kids (quite a few) living in a mansion in London and was getting £7000 per month in handouts from the State. How do these people do that? Course she isn't English.
It sounds very dour your situation. I really feel for you.

Nuts in May

Eternal Worrier said...

I’ve been to the same place Sub and I know it feels like the bottom of the barrel.

Working Mum said...

When you are married you have no separate assets. What's his is yours and what's yours is his. It just takes lawyers to split it all up. Hope it gets sorted soon for you and you don't have to go on living in limbo like this.

Liz Hinds said...

Just catching up onposts, suburbia. Hang on in there through the tough times. It WILL get better.

If you want to us to meet up again, just give a call!

French Fancy... said...

What a shame that joint funds preclude you from any extras. I hope your solicitor does make it better for you than envisaged at the moment.