Monday 16 December, 2013:
Last night I quickly finish up the post, and go to bed. I haven’t been in the zone with it the last couple times. It’s like my words won’t come out right, and the story’s getting told so slowly. However, I stick to the schedule like glue. I have this drive to do it, which is coming to the fore, regardless of anything else.
So I feel almost casually heedless of my usual internal censor, which gasps, ‘Oh! What do you think you’re doing?’
‘Writing the post,’ I say carelessly back at it.
I can’t stop trying to communicate now – it’s like something’s been unleashed and I have to run with it. The blog… and heck, I may as well get those papers submitted as well, why not? I don’t think they’re great – but then I don’t think the blog’s so great either, and I’m just putting it out there anyway. I feel like I need to do this stuff more now, not less.
In my heart, something tells me to just keep right on going (the way I used to tell Alexander and Dimario to keep right on going).
Tuesday 17 December:
Tau texts me off an unknown number before the Winz meeting, to say he lost his IRD number. Lucky I wrote it down a long time ago, and I manage to find it – so all is well on that front.
But when I pick him up, he doesn’t have his bank statement either, or the Winz forms (which he filled out so laboriously last visit). Sheree has thrown them all out, he tells me.
“What – lost them?” I ask. “Or do you mean actually chucked them out?”
“Nah, chucked them out, she’s been chucking out heaps of stuff,” Tau replies, with a little sigh. “Been having big domestics at my place. Everyone’s been arguing. And we only got one phone left.”
“Oh,” I say. “Have all the other phones got lost?”
“Got smashed…” is what he replies. And then, “Fuck, my mum’s being a bitch, and so now I don’t have the papers, Miss – what should we do?”
I think about this. “Um… we’ll just go anyway. We have time to get another bank statement. And as for the Winz forms – we’ll just do them again!”
Tau sighs again, but in a resigned and almost relieved way.
“Won’t take long,” I add, somewhat untruthfully, and he snorts, then grins at me.
We get the bank statement, then arrive at Winz at precisely the appointed time, even getting a carpark right outside (much to my surprise). Hop in the queue, but when we get up to the front desk, the lady tells Tau he doesn’t have an appointment. Apparently it’s not displaying on her on-screen list.
Of course the appointment paper has also been thrown out in Sheree’s general round-up. But I sighted it with my own eyes, last week – so I have to persevere. I take a little breath and try the ‘softly softly’ approach with the receptionist (the front desk often proving the unbreachable pass at Winz).
“Sarsha made the appointment for Tau last week,” I tell her. “She printed it out and gave it to him, but his mum’s…. mislaid it.”
Tau gives me a little look, as if to say – ‘You go, Miss.’
“So maybe you could check with Sarsha, if you wouldn’t mind?” I enquire, in a tone that attempts to combine deference with hope. “Cos it was definitely for 10:30, wasn’t it, Tau.”
“Yup,” Tau replies at once. I pick up that his vibe is quite settled, despite the hold ups.
Off she goes to run this by Sarsha. Tau and I stand by one another at the counter, and Tau says encouragingly, “Thanks, Miss.”
“S’okay,” I tell him. “This kind of shit always happens at Winz.”
“Hard,” he comments, and we can’t help laughing at the predictability of the hassles.
The woman comes back and busies herself at the computer, with a couple of ‘hmm’s’
“So… it’s all good?” I venture.
“Have you got your forms filled out?” she asks Tau, and he gives a rueful shrug, turning his head to me.
“You’ve done them though, aye Tau,” I say reassuringly, and he nods. I add, to the receptionist, “But his mum’s put all his papers somewhere.”
“Oh!” she says. “Well, we can’t do anything without them – you’ll have to complete them again and make a time to come back in.”
“It’s ok, Tau can quickly do them again right now,” I say. “He’s pretty fast with the paperwork.” Tau’s eyes shine with amusement, as I keep the patter coming: “We’ll just get it done while we’re waiting, we don’t mind.” I see her wipe a couple of strands of hair away from her eyes, and I go on, “It’s such a hot day outside… at least it’s nice and cool in here, thank goodness.”
To be honest, I’m expecting to be turned down (my planned next manoeuvre is to be an appeal directly to Sarsha), but the woman goes and gets us the forms. She hands them to me, saying, “There you are.” I think she can see that I’m going to be one of those ‘persistent’ customers.
So we go and sit on the seats, and fill out the paperwork all over again. Tau actually is quite quick, this time. He’s done these forms many times before.
As he writes, Tau tells me a bit more about things at home. It doesn’t sound too great. Domestics, money worries – and just before Christmas, too.
“Then it’s gonna be good, getting your beni sorted today, huh?”
“Good for you, Tau,” I murmur, wanting to just… praise him.
Right then, Sarsha appears in front of us. She’s come over to let us know that she’s been pulled off the floor to do processing today – otherwise she’d be able to see Tau herself. She’s going to write some notes on his file though, for whichever case worker picks him up.
After that, everything gets sorted fast. The caseworker checks the paperwork, and does a couple calculations, and tells Tau that he’ll be getting paid just as soon as his application is processed: 48 hours max.
And then we part company for the day. Later, Tau texts me to thank me again for helping him out. Anytime, I tell him.
Tuesday 24 December:
I post my next installment (number 19) on the blog, right on cue. It isn’t easy today though, sticking to the schedule. I frustrate myself with how limited my story-telling powers are, and how I struggle to make this whole tale (which is true), cohere as something which can be only communicated through revision (of a kind).
It fascinates me how the concrete and very specific written record of events needs this kind of revision – not to falsify things, but to emphasize and illuminate particular conjunctions of them. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I didn’t know that until I started trying to write things down. I mean, I’ve always noticed patterns. But I didn’t realize – and this is hard for me to explain – that you need to actually create the shape or form in which they can emerge. I’ve never really understood that until now.