18.2.70 [two aerogrammes, both handwritten]
Well, well, well, the order of things in this world does change rapidly. In my last letter I said that I’ll think about getting a new job tomorrow, meaning, in the future, but someone pulling the strings has taken me up literally, and the day after that letter, I was informed of what I’d already heard from Rumour’s mouth ˗ that the powers-that-be wanted some changes made. Examples: two in the pay-box all the time, instead of one, ten more hours work for a pound a week more money (!); complete change of rota, so that we’d be working through from afternoons till the end of the show (instead of just evenings) or from the morning till later than we do, and starting earlier. So after saying I’d let him know next day, I gave him a week’s notice then, and started on the great job hunt.
Well, I tell a lie there, because in the post on the day of the news came a notice from the telephone exchange saying that they now had a vacancy for a part-time telephonist, but, since that pays only £8 or so a week (on which I’d die) I inquired about full-time work: anything between thirty-six and forty-three hours a week, at about $16-10-0 gross (goes up when I’m twenty-five) (plus another £2 or so a week when I ‘qualify’. I’ve got to train for, I think, six weeks in the day time, and then will work evenings and nights (overnight sometimes ˗ that’s when you work fewer hours a week). So I’ve got the job ‘subject to all my filled-in forms being sent to Enoch Powell to see if I can be allowed to work for the British’ ˗ or somesuch! I start on Monday (as long as my great-great aunt wasn’t a Chinaman) and they seem to think I’m bright enough to work in their International Exchange ˗ when I come out of school. Heaven knows how dumb some of the people tested are (as dumb as the tester who insisted I try and read a chart without my glasses even though I told her I couldn’t see a thing glassless. There was a guy at home when I went for my driving test who did the same thing: only there I had to look down some long funnel thing; I haven’t found out yet what was at the end of that!) because it was all incredibly easy; the form-filling-in was considerably more difficult. The tester-lady seemed quite surprised that I should know so many British place-names so well, and eyed me with some suspicion, I felt, when I said it was because I’d read English books, and had seen English films.
About the new management ˗ as I said before it’s all drearily staid, but gentle. The fact of the £1 extra pay for ten hours is that apparently Mr Neilsen had been paying us the total rate already (I’d always thought it high for a part-time job) and the extra hours have nothing to do with it: we ought to have been working them anyway. But it doesn’t matter ˗ I am fed up with the place ˗ Margaret is the only one who has any life in her, much ˗ and I’m also fed up with the people in and the general monotony.
So!! I don’t know that I greatly care for the eventuality of working all night but it may be interesting ˗ there will shortly be no time in the twenty-four hours that I haven’t worked! It’s all experience cont...
P.S. Good Grief; don’t buy a David Copperfield: £3.50 [or possibly this was meant to be $3.50] is far too expensive. Hope we’ve sorted all these out now; sorry to have confused you.
And I think it may have the advantage of finally giving me a job which I can actually fall back on! 1970 may yet turn out to be the year at least when I finally set my life in order. It is fitting that it should be done in my (good grief) 25th year, isn’t it?
Have you started your new Rite of the Mass yet? Our Parish Priest said Mass this morning and we had bits left in and things left out and he seemed to know as little about the whole proceedings as anyone. He’s left the Offertory Prayer out a lot lately which means that you have half the congregation waiting for it and half ignoring it altogether. I rather like it all (but as you no doubt know I’m rather prone to change!) though the depleted Confiteor is a bit disquieting just yet, and only saying, ‘Lord, I am not worthy’ once is positively upsetting ˗ I always said it several times more anyway because neither the Good Lord nor I have any illusions about my worthiness!
We have a new guest in the flat (and when he leaves will have Chris, Angela’s sister, back!), called Andrew Tansley ˗ seventeen, and a very pleasant young guy. Recommended to us by Hazel with whom he’d worked. He’s there till he finds a flat, and is working in a new mystery play (with Anthony Quayle) as a props man. [The play was probably Sleuth.]
I went to see some Ionesco plays done by the Tower (amateur) Theatre on Sunday night. This is the group Ian and Angela and Rod are all associated with, and their standard was surprisingly high. After the plays, on the way back Ian and I got into a discussion which eventually lasted till two in the morning (Ian is out of work, again, just now ˗ oh! these artists) and in which we tried to reconcile his argument that he puts up a barrier to protect his ‘inner’ self from new relationships and mine which was that hiding oneself in oneself is not as much use to one as risking getting to know people better, quicker ˗ even though one may be hurt. There’s always the chance one may be helped. (Sorry about the preponderance of ‘ones’ but I’m not allowed to use ‘you’ once I’ve started, so I’m told!) We did reconcile it all eventually (with help from each of the others as they came and went ˗ to bed), after covering the same ground about fourteen times; because I still put up my own barriers (though I’m getting past them more quickly) and Ian knows that what I said has its own value if he cares to apply it.
I have this crazy urge of late to know everybody ˗ properly, not just superficially the way I often have before. And I think I’m even going to the extent of appearing to pry ˗ I hope not, as I don’t really intend that.
Kingsley came up for lunch on Sunday (dinner, I mean) and seemed all right when he left. Now he had something on his mind, and while he told me a lot that surprised me, and interested me, and showed that he too as matured (and has a Lenin-style beard!!) I couldn’t somehow get past the barrier?!!?
On this Sunday Mike is coming up with one of his innumerable collections of ladies, Mickey, by name, and guess who? Kevin Rowlands! And Mike knows him apparently. So that sorts that out!!
Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you what time I’m starting at the Telephone place. 8.15 am. Love (yawn), Mike.
P.S. Still nothing further from CIB ˗ you can have an unlimited number of tries for the price of one! (I think ˗certainly more than one; after too many goes I should think they’d advise giving up and doing something else!!)