Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I never would have believed it....

...if it hadn't actually happened to me - that's how letters to mens' magazines start, don't they? However if that's the sort of encounter you're hoping this entry will describe you'll be most disappointed. Instead, I'm going to tackle the 666 chestnut - a set of numbers that's generated more excitement, column inches and feverish nail biting since the Y2K countdown.

Today started off like any other day. I farewelled Sapphire at school, drove to work, unlocked the office and generally got on with things. By 11am, I was feeling peckish and not prepared to wait until the more acceptable hour of midday in order to eat lunch and run a few errands.

It was then that the 666 syndrome started to kick in. Maybe it took that long because Satan adheres to Greenwich meantime, or maybe it's because he likes a decent sleep-in. Anyhow, I strolled out of the Post Office into the cold winter sunshine and straight into an Aussie CSI scene. No deaths (sorry, Satan), but the bank next door had just been robbed. I felt pretty foolish: there I was, not 10 metres away, wasting my energy on deciding whether to buy the 'Australian Wildflowers' or 'Soccer in Australia' stamp sets whilst Ned Kelly and his mate Mudguts were terrorising the State Bank staff!

Luckily, no police officer apprehended me as an accessory. As I crossed the road to the shopping centre, the TV crews had also arrived. At the chemist, the staff were looking red-faced and angry. "What's wrong, are your life savings with the State Bank of Magill?" I asked, in a pathetic attempt to cheer them up.
"No, the stupid, effing computer is down. No-one in IT is answering the phone (oooh, there's a surprise), we can't type out prescriptions or look up prices and instead we have to write everything down." She looked close to tears which made me regret my thoughtless attempt at humour even more. "Er, well, it is the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, you know," I said, smiling weakly and shrugging my shoulders.
"I know that," she snapped, looking past me. "NEXT! Can I help you?"

Feeling like a chastened child, I made my way back to the university. There was a tinny, rolling sound as I was about to walk across Brougham Street. What sounded like an old-fashioned rubbish bin lid rolling around was actually a hubcap, rolling in perfect arcs right down the middle of the street. My head swivelled in every direction: was there a car smash that I hadn't heard? Some kids goofing off? Film students recording the emptiness of the suburban ideal? Nope, just me and a hubcap that continued on its merry way down the sloping street. Very weird.

My stomach was growling by this time - ah, that would be the famine part of the general 666-End-Of-The-World scenario, were my thoughts as I inhaled my smoked salmon roll. Whilst doing this at my desk, an ant ran across my keyboard space bar. Truly. This diverted my focus away from food long enough to discover that there was a bunch (crowd? herd? flock?) of ants having some sort of get-together in my finance tray. My efforts at brushing them off caused a old, long-forgotten morning cup of coffee to spill all over the desk and drip mockingly into the recycle bin.

Having the gents' loos right next door finally had a positive side: loads of water and absorbent toilet paper for cleaning up spills. I rushed in and ----"Oops! Omigod, I'm soooo sorry!" and backed out again, blushing. Who knew that fellas still used those ancient steel trough things?

It's nearing 2pm, and here I type, sitting at a sticky desk surrounding by gleefully feasting ants. I'm about to walk over to the other side of the campus to see how the builders are going on the floor we'll be moving into, sometime in Julember. If I don't trip over, have something accidentally stuck to my arse or get splattered by a bird turd, I'll be pleasantly surprised......

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