Day Thirteen of My 500 Words

My 500 Words - Day 13: Talk About Your Day

Marie Cooper Actor My500Words blog image of cold hands holding warm coffee

Today's #My500Words challenge is to talk about your day. And oh boy, what a day for the task to fall on.

Thursday started well and proceeded to roll downhill from there, at increasing velocity with a few positive bumps along the way. Unfortunately not enough positive bumps to keep the overall trajectory up, where it had started in the morning, when I still had a spring in my step, but an overall plummet, all the way down to wanting to set the world on fire. So here I am, quickly attempting to write this blog post in the hope that the electricity doesn’t run out before I reach the end of it. Because from that point I really don’t know what I shall do. I headed off for a job interview first thing. Sleepy, but content that things were looking up. Especially since, before I even managed to get home, I had already received an email containing the forms to fill in for my banking details and an email to say I had been conditionally accepted, pending my references.

Caffeinated Confuddlement

I sleepily, and in post-interview come-down, went to grab a coffee on the way home. In my over-excited state, I somehow managed to ask for a latte with room for milk. At this point, it is important to note, that my brain hadn’t in fact registered that at all. What followed was about a minute of confused conversation between me and the Barista, well mostly me being confused. You see, in spite of my hazy self, having asked for the seemingly impossible, the Barista attempted to appease the crazed ramblings of her customer by supplying just what I had asked for. But she needed some prior confirmation of how exactly she was to provide me with a latte with room for milk.

So she asked how I would like that. And proceeded to explain that my drink is usually made up of two shots which is then, itself, topped up with milk. Was I asking for just one shot that was topped all the way up and leaving a little extra room for milk, or did I want the two whole shots in with less milk so that I could top it up….or something like that. Well, you get the picture. You see, I still hadn’t registered that I had asked for a Frankencoffee.

I was now under the impression this was some strange, new coffee-shop process that I had somehow missed the memo for. So I replied with something like… I‘m sorry. I don’t know….um….I’ve never been asked all these questions before. She said it was fine. She was probably thinking that she was dealing with someone who had some kind of ‘issue’ and she was very kind and patient with me as she attempted to explain once more.

It was when she mentioned the word latte again that the penny finally dropped. I realised that in my indecision about whether I could afford a coffee at all, my heart had wanted latte, my head had sensibly said, NO! Cheaper option, Americano, with room for milk.

However, what had actually come out of my mouth was ‘Latte with room for milk”. Whilst I wanted the whole world to open up and swallow me, the Barista looked relieved that she was not actually dealing with somebody with mental health challenges afterall and, how we laughed…. awkwardly….

DWP be Damned

When I got home, I found a letter from the DWP saying that because I had done an acting job last week for which I will be paid fifty whole pounds, they have paid me almost that much less this week.

I am unlikely to get paid the money for the job I did for at least a month, which is what I told the job centre when I told them I had done the work. But they took the money out of my benefit payment immediately anyway, leaving me with considerably less money than I was told I would be receiving. Leaving any attempt at being able to budget in pieces. So much for honesty being the best policy. That virtue is not filling me with warmth right now.

After paying my landlord £100 for the rent arrears I am in, because the benefit system pays claimants in arrears, it will leave me £31 for two weeks. I have to choose whether to pay for my phone and internet, so I can keep jobhunting, or pay for my electricity and gas, but then if I don’t pay my electricity there will be no internet or way to charge my phone, so no job hunting anyway, and my freezer will defrost and the food will be ruined.

But I also need the gas because, otherwise I have no way of cooking the food or showering. But then I won’t be able to afford to buy food. In a panic, I dug out the camping stove, but it warns against using it indoors. I regret buying a coffee as it might have equated to a day or two's worth of electricity. Wondering why I am getting depressed about having indulged in a coffee and why I am so poor and cold when I am an intelligent, articulate, Master’s degree educated woman in 2018, in the fifth richest country in the world, trying to find a job.

I filled in the forms for the organisation I interviewed with this morning and sent them over before my access to the internet went dark. Once the panic was over, and I calmed down a bit, I remembered that I could use the emergency credit on the electrickery-stick-thing so my laptop won’t die, at least not yet…

I remembered that I had promised to call a fellow actor back in the afternoon. I didn't feel very 'telephony' but I'm so glad that I did. The call was just perfectly timed and lifted my spirits again as it was a laugh having a chat about performing.

Another downer as I realised I could see my breathe in the air indoors and I went to put the washing on and realised that I wasn't sure that I could afford to do that either. I was looking forward to rehearsal in the evening, because of the added bonus that I wouldn't be using any electricity or gas whilst I was out of the house and it’s cosily warm in the rehearsal venue. Sad when I realised that when I returned home to a cold house, I would have to try to decide whether it was more economical to boil the kettle or saucepan of water for a hot water bottle. I Googled it. It's actually cheaper on the hob apparently, less efficient, but cheaper.

So, my first paid work since leaving uni has put me further in arrears with my bills and I'm typing this sat, wrapped in blankets with a hot water bottle on my knees like a geriatric caterpillar. I had a great interview in the morning, lovely and uplifting chat with a talented and experienced actor in the afternoon and yesterday would have been a great day, if I wasn't stuck in governmental bureaucratic, ideology induced hell. On the plus side, I was totally stuck knowing what to write for Day 12 of the writing challenge but thinking about the DWP filled me with inspiration.

Word count = 1229


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