I started this Bank Holiday weekend in a somewhat celebratory mood, but God must have been a bit bored and kept poking a stick through the bars of my cage to see if he could get a reaction.
Would I sell a load of unwanted clothes on my eBay account for one girl who had no further need for them? No, sorry, but I would set up an eBay account of her own for her, so that she could do all the question-answering, listing, packing and posting, rather than sit back and wait for me to give her money.
"I'm not a retard, you know. I am quite capable of setting up my own eBay account - I just need you to show me how to do it, then I will be fine."
"That's exactly what I was going to do."
"When do you want to come round?"
"I don't. I want you to come round here."
"But I haven't sorted the clothes out yet - shall I come round late this afternoon?"
"Why don't you come round earlier with one article of clothing so that I can photograph it in good light before we set up your eBay account?"
"I CAN take my own photos you know. I'm not a retard."
"Ok, come round with one of your own photos late this afternoon, and we'll set it up."
"No, let's leave it for another time."
Then, a short while later:
"I've got another suggestion - I have about £300 worth of text-books which I will never use again. Should I sell them on eBay?"
"Shall I bring them round?"
"No. Bring one round and I will show you how to set up an eBay account, then how to post up photos or scans of the covers."
"I'm not a retard, you know."
"Anyway, I don't think that eBay is the best place to sell books."
"How about Amazon?"
"Maybe, but I hate Amazon - I would rather use Alibris."
"What's Alibris?" etc. etc.
It turns out that Alibris like Amazon - is a U.S. company which only uses credit-cards for buying and selling, and then it is in US dollars, even if it is based in the U.K. - this after about 10 text messages. Half way through me texting her again, and half way through charging my phone up, she calls me on it. Half way through that call, two things happen - an alarm that I set on it 2 weeks ago to tell me that the corned-beef I am curing in the cupboard is due to be cooked tonight, and I get cut-off from/by the girl.
Somehow, the phone goes dead just as I start to sound just a little bit impatient with the constant change of plans, so I send a text asking if she had slammed the phone down on me.
"Hell - How old do you think I am?!" (Actually, it was 'Heil', but I hope that was a spelling mistake) was the response, and I stop myself from replying with the number '12'.
Then late-ish last night, the land-line rings and the boy says he is stuck in Notting Hill Carnival without a mobile phone. Would I contact girlfriend and get two numbers from her, both of which should be sent to the number of the phone from which he is now speaking. 'I'll try', I respond.
Girlfriend does not answer phone, so I send her a text with all those numbers, including the boy's, just in case he wants to block his own phone, it having possibly fallen into the hands of someone who will clock up a £1000 bill for him by tuesday.
15 minutes later, we receive another call from him, but this time on a different phone. He wants those numbers sent to him again, because he has lost them already. I ask him if he would like his girlfriend's number so he can speak to her direct. 'Good idea'. It was too, wasn't it?
He lost her number as well, and I receive a text from her asking me to give it to him so she can speak to her direct, at the same time as getting another message from him saying that it was very urgent that she gets the last number as soon as possible, because the owner of the phone he is using is about to go away. He repeats the number very slowly, and I write it down next to all the other numbers. He asks me to repeat the number I have just written down, at the same time as he triple-checks that it is correct with the owner of the phone who is standing right next to him, in the heart of the noisy Carnival. I do this.
Then I carefully text girlfriend the wrong number.
15 minutes later, girlfriend sends me the text, "That was HIS number, but I sent the other numbers to it anyway!"
Suddenly I became very tired and went, almost immediately, to bed - with my phone switched off.
I am having a break today by going to work.