But grumpy people of one form or another are always likely to infest your life. And the problem is, grumpy people do not understand that by being grumpy, they'll make you grumpy. So then you'll vent to someone about how shit it is to be grumpy, and in doing so, you'll make them grumpy. In the end all you have is just one great big old grump-fest. Which sucks.
I try to start every day with an open mind and a positive attitude. Sooner or later, though, someone or something will mess it all up. It could be someone moaning and complaining about something at home, in the street, in the shop, at work, or wherever, or it could come in the form of a letter from the Dept. of Work and Pensions. The DWP. What a bunch of bureaucratic bumholes. Let me tell you a story.
I applied on June 14th for Job Seeker's Allowance. I used the 'online application' method, because this was supposedly 'faster'. I received a phone call 2 days later telling me that if I could come in for an interview on the 20th, that would be great, oh and could I bring with me my birth certificate, driving licence, all the payslips I had ever had, my CV, and since I was living with a single mum with 4 kids, could I please bring all of her stuff too, plus about 15 pieces of mail, her ID and the fingernails and DNA samples of all the people she had ever come into contact with if it wouldn't be too much trouble thank you kindly.
And of course, I accepted this.
I duly went in with about 4 mailsacks full of info to prove
- who I was
- who she was
- who her kids were
- where we lived
- my bank info
- her bank info
- the length of my wedding tackle
- how much benefit we were both receiving and why
- the names and breeds of all the pets we had ever owned
- and above all, what it was that had caused me to even BE unemployed anyway.
Generally speaking the people I came into contact with at the Job Centre (well, it used to be called the Job Centre back in the grim grey days of the 80s when I was fresh out of school - nowadays it's called JobCentrePlus! because it's hip and happening and now and fresh and they're all down wiv ver kids lingo and all dat shizzo. Aight?) were quite nice and friendly. They were all very understanding and I was assured that once they had processed all the information that we'd supplied on the convoluted forms in which they needed to know the ins and outs of a monkey's arsehole, a decision would be made about precisely which benefit (and how much) I would be entitled to. In the meantime I had to keep coming in and signing on in good faith that eventually they would get their fingers out.
Time went by.
After a few days my girlfriend started to get a little concerned about the fact that we hadn't yet heard a word from the powers that be. I assured her that this was perfectly normal, I'd done this last year and it usually takes a while for them to notify you by mail.
Time went by. I signed on again. I said, "I say, chaps. I haven't been informed about my rate of benefit?" to which I was told, "All in good time, sir. All in good time. Fret not."
More time passed. Now we were getting seriously peeved. I called them and after waiting for ages with Vivaldi on a loop I was transferred from pillar to post and even though everyone I spoke to was nice and polite, not one of them could see on their computer screens what the holdup was, though all concurred that yes, this was taking a long time, and normally an application is processed within 11 working days. They did say, though, that the processing centre for the Kent region had been moved from Ramsgate (in Kent), to Stratford, in Greater London, and that that may have something to do with the delay.
Cut to July 7th. I went in to sign on. Again. The very nice lady whose desk I sat at was having an awful day. The printers were against her. Nothing was working right, and of course SHE didn't know why I had no idea how much benefit I was going to get, or when, or even IF I was going to get it.
On the Friday I called again, and finally they said, well, we see here that a payment is being put through to your bank, covering from the 17th of June (apparently the first three days of a claim are not counted as they are what is termed waiting days) to the 7th of July. Finally. However, this was on Friday, and the money did not show up in my bank till Monday morning.
The next day, Tuesday the 12th, I got what I had been waiting for - a letter from DWP saying how much I was entitled to per week. Great.
Today, Saturday the 16th, I get a letter saying that they will not be able to pay me JSA from the 17th June 2011 because I am receiving Tax Credit. They knew I was getting Tax credit, because that was on one or two or a half dozen of the multiple forms I had supplied them with at the outset. It had just taken this long for a flunkey to notice it. This is basically saying, "We paid you but we made a mistake. Can we have it back please?"
Sorry. No can do. Spent it.
So am I grumpy? Hell no. It's probably only a matter of time before they write to me again, saying, "Sorry, we made a mistake. We can pay you now." By which time I will have a job anyway. Me? I'm as happy as a pig in poo.
So - what's next?