Not all as it seems.

Talking about being uncomfortable in community hubbubs.

Years ago when Leytonstone High Road was a tramps’  highway and a fire station existed and it was safe to walk over Dyers Hall Bridge  at any time then I worked in a chicken shop: “Box O’ Chicken.” Now the couple who ran it were nice people, very homely, very family and they employed me for I too was nice and willing to work with a smile like they did. You know when you go somewhere and get in the front door and something tells you not all is as it seems. You know something’s afoot, amiss and something’s not right. This particular afternoon there was no sign of my husband and wife team, only a bod whom I presumed was area manager or franchise owner. Turned out the couple has schemed and run off with the weekly takings. They’d absconded.  I was surprised but not shocked. The fact that they’d kept all their plans from me made me feel neglected and stupid for I thought we were a team. Phew. Mercy me, eh? Nothing really astounded me at any workplace. I’d worked in companies where if I slept with  the boss I’d get freebies. It was the early seventies, Jimmy. I was more worried about my getting my wages intact since the money had gone from the safe. Don’t remember anything more except dragging my weary feet over Dyers Hall Bridge at midnight.

And so I feel in déja vue land as I go along to an arts venue and the staff clam up, shiftily eye each other, don’t eye me at all and keep me very uninformed despite I ask to be updated. I haven’t a clue who’s in charge. What I thought was the secretary is in fact the director and she needs to learn manners. At another charity community venue the whole caboodle of staff look suspicious and have those tight false smiles and slime ball eyes so that if Aliens are really around us then they’re all in that nasty office . At another place I have to summon courage to even enter their world of gushy awesomeness and overflowing positiveness as though the outside world of deprivation and austerity is nowhere near their fabulous oil-paint smudged fingers. Surprisingly and refreshingly for me, it turns out that others feel the same about theses venues and more. They just stop going.


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