Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I had no sleep last night.

And I had to meet David this morning.

So before leaving home, I downed some sugary coffee and tried to transfer some money into my current account, blearily got my own details wrong three times, and froze myself out of my own account. I had to set it all up again with questions and everything. Urrrgh.

Then I visited the bank's branch in town to draw said funds out but, as is usually the case, there was no money in the cash machine.

This used to happen to me at ANZ in Howick all the while. Eventually I'd gone in and filled-out a suggestion form, pointing out how simple it was to create a procedure whereby someone just checked the ATM at the start and end of each day. I like to assume that ANZ did just that, as afterwards I never had that problem again.

Here in the UK, I've suggested the same thing too many times to remember, but the bank's cash-machine is still usually without any money. Yes, usually. Not always, just usually.

This morning I was too tired to argue, so I just asked for the money at the window where they regularly had to employ someone to deal with all the people who couldn't use their empty cash machine a few feet away. But today there was another problem. One pound was missing from my account. The girl at the desk couldn't tell me what it was. She told me I'd have to phone up their helpline.

I couldn't get my head around that. This was a bank that refused a human employee the authority to talk to me face to face about my account, but did grant it to another human employee in a faraway callcentre. Call me old-fashioned, but isn't it usually the other way around?

So I rang the callcentre, and they told me that Amazon had taken a pound out of my account just to test that it worked.


Probably realising that it would cost the bank more than one pound to explain to me why Amazon had been able to take my money without my knowledge, the girl on the phone just credited my pound back again.

Back at the window, I got my pound out, and my other pounds too.

Train. Sit down. On my way. Phew. If all went well, I might only be reasonably late.

And then we stopped. The driver's voice came over the tannoy that, a little way ahead of us, was another stationary train with... somebody lying under it.

Oh... dear...

Presently we slunk forward just to the next station, which meant I could change lines, and pray while waiting. A fast train charged through, that really could have stopped to pick us up in the circumstances. The next one did stop, so I caught it, and a few minutes later at last rendezvoused with David.

Sugary tea at caféteria. Then a bleary trudge over to an abandoned film-editing suite. It's been empty for years, and it's being cleared-out this week. David had already befriended the workmen, and convinced them to let him save a few reels, but most had been thrown in a truck to be destroyed. And that's why he'd invited me here today, with no sleep. The instinct to save old recordings is written deep in my bones. I can't explain it.

The workmen weren't at the site, so we headed into town to have lunch while we waited. David wanted a proper meal. I knew I needed a Subway for the starch. So I bought one, and took it with me to eat opposite him at the café. It was kind of them to let me do that.

Back at the site, the workmen were present and chatty, and kindly said we could take whatever we wanted. We found ourselves picking through the meagre wreckage that had not yet been incinerated.

The place was an absolute state. Nearly everything had gone, and now all that was left were some wooden boxes, a lot of earth, a ton of electronics, and a locked safe that hadn't been opened for a very long time indeed.

I found some mag tracks, a big cart, a gigantic computer disk, (even bigger than the ones I used at school in the 1980s) a few film cans with handwriting on them that I actually think I recognise, and a big walk-in safe that hadn't been opened since who knew when.

I found a bleached newspaper, dated in the late 80s.

I found a Polaroid photo:

Producing black rubbish sacks from my brand new 24p Tesco rucksack, we saved what little we could, put it in a box, and hauled the box away onto the bus.

Leaving David at his place, I heaved my sack onto two trains, and fell asleep, quite literally hitting the sack. Surrounded by rush-hour commuters, also going home.

At the terminus, I hauled my sack onto the bus. Nearly home now.

Then I remembered the road-diversion currently in place.

Due to about 50 metres of pavement works, we literally went on a ten-mile tour of the surrounding towns for an hour. My whole life flashed past me. No, really, it did. There was that office where I had temped before leaving for New Zealand in January 2004, there was my old school, this hill was where I used to begin cross-country runs, the park, the Thames, locations where I'd been filming... this list could be much longer.

Eventually back home, I finally fell into bed and slept like a log.

The day had not been good or bad. Yet I felt that I had expressed a part of my character that would have lain dormant behind a desk in an office chained to a job-description.

I had done what I had done because it was who I am.

And I felt good about that.

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