So, this week, I received a letter from my local bank. They were kind enough to remind me that I had the princely sum of £8 sat in an account and that – as the account had not been used for some time – they had made the account inactive. If I wanted to continue using the account, or close it, all I had to do was pop in and they would sort it.
In the end, I decided to close it as it wasn’t going to be used again. However, the decision and the action I took provoked a surprising reaction within me. You see, this was my first ever “grown up” bank account and one I was forced into setting it up when I was 16ish. Without it, the company I was working for couldn’t pay me.
When I left school, I fell into a Youth Training Scheme. These were a UK initiative and took school leavers and threw them head first into a working environment. You didn’t get any formal training as such, just a very basic weekly training session as you worked – How this was supposed to teach you “life skills” I do not know.
Anyway, closing this account brought back a lot of memories that I had forgotten. memories, for example, surrounding my “pay day blues” – which you may think is a bizarre concept. However, in a world where mobile phones, internet, gaming consoles etc did not exist, most spare time after work would mean spending time in a pub.
The pub would be equipped with a pool table and a seductive gambling machine. Perhaps not as sophisticated as you see today, but the outcome would be the same i.e – 8 times out of 10, you lose your cash. I was paid weekly for my YTS, £44.89 was my first payment and that first celebratory Friday night left me with around £10 to last till the next payday a week later.
You would have thought I would have quickly learned, but part of the perks of living at home at the time, meant I didn’t have to worry too much about money – but the fact remained, budgeting was not my skill. Gambling my money away certainly was.
Back then, the working environment was very much different to what it is now – looking back, it was a world away from what today’s generation walk into. Memories of my first office day and the “banter” that went on, which would not be classed very “PC” in today’s world, came flooding back.
I remember instantly “falling in lust” with the older girls in the office environment. The pencil skirts, the see through blouses and watching them interact with the male colleagues was eye opening to say the least. Most were married of course, but for many, this was how they got through the day.
I had a very brief encounter in a store cupboard with a girl, also on a YTS and not married – you know, I remember the kiss, but not the name of the girl – strange how the mind selects what to remember and what to discard. Strange how easy it was to get a girl to kiss you in work time – It was much harder at school!
I spent 9 months in an office environment and from there, my YTS took me into a warehouse environment. As a 17ish year old, I was so unprepared for what was in store for me. The goings on there could fill 2 rambles, but again, all old memories triggered by one action of closing a bank account.
Another memory that was triggered this week was surrounding my father after some sad news from someone I consider close. I learn more about myself every day and I am not sure I like it all. For example, I am now quite far away from March 27th, yet I chose to focus on another memory from that night and lock my father’s passing away.
I also refuse to think of either good or bad times I spent with him and I cannot look at a photo. I refuse to cry and I refuse to speak about my feelings with anyone – even those close. At his graveside I sit and write but do not speak.
What does this tell me about myself. Will this be the new normal for me. I have no answers and I guess the coward in me doesn’t want to hear answers, he just craves more distractions. I continue to ponder and just when I think I am closer to “something” – I let go and find myself back at the beginning. I know that doesn’t make much sense to you, not sure it does to me.
Anyway, we are another day closer to Friday and London will soon be awaiting. Until then, thanks for sticking by another ramble and enjoy today’s offering – Back to the office girls in my YTS days and PULP – I think Jarvis Cocker may have had the same interactions in his first job. This is “Pencil Skirt”.