The building society queue was short, a quiet time of day, and by the time I reached the counter I was the only customer. Time for a bit of a chat with the teller then, passing the time of day, sharing a few pleasantries, like you do. The peace was broken, with a sudden bursting open of the heavy glass doors, and a loud announcement:
I need a f.. pen and paper! Now! I need a f-ing pen and some f-ing paper. Pen, paper, quick, now, where is it?
Out of nowhere, extra staff started to appear. Slowly edging their way from behind counters and desks, into the middle of the room.
I need some paper. And a pen. F… . Where’s the pens?
The teller serving me shifted uneasily in her seat. I suppressed a giggle, and resisted the urge to turn and gawp.
My ex, he’s outside.
Like that explained it.
I need to write down a number. Quick, pen, paper 0113 22….
Someone must have reached her, and she suddenly seemed to become aware that perhaps she was being a little unreasonable.
Sorry, sorry, but I really need pen and paper. I need to write it down. Sorry. Quick though. Sorry.
She lowered her voice.
Have you got a piece of paper and a pen please? Before I forget this f-ing phone number.
The drama was over. By the time I was walking toward the door, she had disappeared into a booth, and had been pacified, supplied with the necessary stationery. One satisfied customer. One curious one. What was the ex’s role in this? Did she not have a phone she could type the number into? Were the phone keys defying her drunken fingers, as they have a wont to do? Who’s number was so important? Has she now lost that piece of paper and all important phone number, or will she wake tomorrow to find a crumpled deposit slip with illegible numbers on it, and wonder what it is? And will that number ever get called? So many questions unanswered in this extraordinary, ordinary little stationery emergency.