This morning was set aside to get a few small things out of the way. Run a few errands. Should get them out of the way in an hour, two tops. 4 simple enough tasks. 3 particularly basic, elementary ones. Back home then to work on the book. Easy. Could I get them all done within an hour? Ok, go…
11.00 – Arrive at the tax office. Need to sort out a few issues with an upcoming tax payment. Won’t answer their phones. Had to call in, need to find out info for one question only.
11.05 – Figure out which department I must talk to, take a ticket. #502. Wait.
11.20 – Wait. Now serving #498.
11.30 – Still on #498. Wait. Not sure the person being served speaks English.
11.45 – Now serving #500. Must only be even numbers. Keep waiting. Not sure this person can speak any language, only grunting. Slow grunts.
12.05 – Calling #502, wuu. Get up to the desk. Told that they close for lunch at 12, come back at 2. Are you serious? Grunt “Yes”.
Not going to plan. Time to try out task number 2: Get a new battery for my watch. Drive around and around and around, find a parking space. Find a jeweler, hand the watch in, come back in half an hour. To be safe, I told them I’d be back in two? Two hours is perfect, see you then. Looking good. I decided to kill the 3rd bird before going back to tax land. Drive around some more circles looking for parking. Find a spot. Triangular distance from the tax office. And the shop. Where I was going. To buy gel. A tough task.
Heaven or Gel?
I actually have gel issues. Not really a fan of wearing it, but sometimes it is needed. Once in a blue moon I stumble on one that I like. However, whenever I do run out of it, the brand I use always seems to be out of stock. And I get suckered in to buying a different kind, that I end up never using. False assurances that it is far more suitable for me and my gel needs. Sure it is. 10 sures later, I have a stock of unused and varied tubes of gel, paste, putty and sprays stacked up in my bathroom. I decided I would bring them along today, and give them back to the shop, so they could use them as testers. Only clogging up space under my sink. Might as well have my money, and their products back as well. Sounds normal to me.
Get to the shop, the stuff I want is out of stock, should be back in in about 2 weeks. The job. An assistant starts to help me hunt something else down. “Try this one, it would suit your hair perfectly.” She squeezes a lump of stuff into my hand. Smells great. Looks even better. In my hand. “Actually, this one would be better for you” another squeeze into my hand. Different colour, my hand beginning to look like an artist’s palette. 3 squeezes later, and I am now carrying a handful of assorted lumps of gel, like I might carry a platter of food, around the store. Nodding along about texture and what I don’t need it to do, while agreeing about the humidity issues. Like a fool.
In the end, I take a punt, and buy some paste concoction, great for short hair. Mine is long. I get to the till, and as I put the tube up on the counter to pay, I inform the lady serving me that I have other ones with me, that I bought before. Pulling them out of my numerous pockets, I start to put them on the counter, saying I’ve only used a bit out of each once, not going to use them again… before I tell her that she can have them back, I get cut off, told that if I used them once, then I can’t give them back. I think she thought I wanted a refund. This blurt cost her about a €100 worth of free testers. Gutted, I’m sure, if she knew. Her loss, my loss, all losers.
Almost 2 o’clock at this stage, so straight over to the tax office I go, laden with gel tubes and containers. Offering them to homeless people I meet on the way.
2.00 – Take another ticket. #1901. Puzzled by their number system. I am 2nd in line.
2.30 – Served. Get to the desk, how’s it going, ask them my one question. Get back one answer. Told I must come back tomorrow at 11.00. They only deal with that information before 12.00. Are you serious? “Yes, come back up to me tomorrow at 11.00, and I will help you then.” You’re actually the person who is going to be helping me tomorrow, and you won’t do it now? “No. Tomorrow. Next.” Look, how about I give you some gel, and you can say nothing, just do it now for me? The guy serving me was kind of bald. My gel bribe fails miserably.
En route to collect my watch, I could kind of get why people have road rage. They must just have so much annoyance and anger built up from other things, that they like to transfer them over to driving. Thankfully I get parking outside the jewelers easily enough. Back to collect my watch, is it ready? “Yeah, here, I couldn’t get the back off the watch.” No problem, front is fine, whatever you had to do, cheers, how much? “No, I couldn’t get the battery out, so couldn’t change it. Can’t do it. First time in 20 years I couldn’t do it.” Of course you couldn’t. Of course. Want some free gel? No, ok.
Driving home my brain was bouncing around in bewilderment. My morning of running errands, had turned into the majority of the day achieving nothing. I do not run marathons. I do not run a factory. I do not run an Irish branch of the mafia. More so than all of that though, I definitely do not run errands. That term would suggest that I am in some kind of control of the process. Bob hope. They run me. Into the ground. Seeing as I have to try to do them again tomorrow. Making me wonder if I have a mild form of some mental illness. Unable to accomplish simple tasks. And, while my brain was processing all this on the way home, I forgot about the last thing on my to-do list… Get milk. No, looks like I won’t. I got gel though.
Ring The Bell – Yacht