Monday, 17 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Working at the Bank' by Sarah Mosedale

Come out of the right exit at Bank early Friday mornings back in 1978 and there she is. Not always the same exit. So you can’t plan to avoid her. The bosses used to send someone round to check up on her and sometimes that person got irritated trekking round all those exits looking for her. But she is soon appreciated for the rare pearl she is, someone who is actually giving the job her all. No need for checking up. It’s a lot cheaper to just give her the Employee of the Week bullshit from time to time, it seems to be all she needs, if she even needs that. Inconceivable that she doesn’t need anything. She’s either very stupid or some kind of nutcase. Anyway it’s exactly the sort of stupidity or nuttiness they need so it seems everyone’s happy.

She’s got a broad grin and a momentary flash of full, friendly, eye contact for everyone, you’ve taken the paper she’s holding out to you before you know it. It feels rude to do anything else. And the paper’s OK, it’s just some kind of entertainment guide, there’s no scam involved, it’s harmless and there are litter bins everywhere that you can dump it in anyway.

You might think someone handing out free newspapers in the cold London dawn would make you feel guilty as you hurry past in your suit to your important finance job. But there’s no way you can feel guilty about her. This is her real gift, the sharpest tool in her kit. She’s enjoying herself and you can see it. If you only knew it she feels sorry for you, chained to your hamster wheel, running your rat race. She’s stoned, immaculate. But you’d never imagine that.

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