You've got to hand it to bureaucracy. Who else makes you call them to set up an appointment to have the right to pay more taxes, tells you the rules have changed, but wait actually no they haven't and we unilaterally decided to change your appointment time without telling you and now it's for tomorrow morning that's not going to be a problem is it? And you sit there and take it.
So I found myself in an alley behind a sprawling mosque in Whitechapel, loaded with reading material, queued up and waiting for a National Insurance official to call my name. I was shuffled from one waiting area to another, and when I was finally seated for my interview, my internal whining monologue was barreling ahead at full force.
But my interviewer was a trainee, and he was, frankly, awful at his job. He was as easily confused and flustered as a 12-year-old boy at a sorority party. His supervisor, who was walking him through everything, kept making fun of him and giving me apologetic glances while his trainee's brow was furrowed and the steam was coming out of his ears.
"Is 'high street' one word?"
"What? Are you sure you can handle this?"
Nothing like someone else's utter haplessness to set you at ease.
Oh, and unilaterally deciding to take a half day at work for my appointment made it easier to handle, too. That's not going to be a problem, is it?