Today is Maundy Thursday, the start of an especially intense period in the
Christian calendar, focussing on the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion
and resurrection. I have to confess that I'm not exactly in the best frame of mind
for this holy season right now. This morning we had a staff meeting to discuss
extensive changes to the organisation I work for. The mood of the meeting was a bit
pugnacious. The CEO wasn't there, so people felt a lot more confident to ask
awkward questions which have needed asking for a while. The finance director was
giving the presentation, and after several of these awkward questions he remarked
something like 'Keep going - I'm quite enjoying being crucified.' This witty
remark was illustrated by him flinging himself back against the wall with his arms
spread in the manner of a crucifix. No-one found this very funny, because the man
has no comic timing and a very unhumourous demeanour. I found it especially
insensitive, given the time of year.
So I wasn't in the best of moods, both from the tenor of the meeting and the
crassness of the remark, when the time came for me to attend today's service. I had
previously decided not to serve today, but I felt that it might after all be better
if I did. Otherwise I would sit quietly fuming in the congregation and not enter
into the spirit of the service. I put on my robes and the service began. I carry
the processional cross, which for some obscure reason is veiled at this time of
year with a purple cloth. The overall effect is to transform this rather fine
devotional artefact into something that looks like a big purple kite on a stick.
As we paused before the altar, I was distracted by an unexpected movement from one
of the other servers, and crashed into the sanctuary lamp hanging overhead. This
nearly gave me a heart attack, as the lamp is effectively a nightlight hanging on
a chain, and I could easily have either set the veil of the cross alight or poured
hot wax over myself. Fortunately neither of these things happened, but I was
pretty rattled all the same. Although the rest of the serving went fairly well, and
the singing was much better than it has been throughout Lent, the experience still
wasn't what I'd hoped for.
After the service I met a friend who had various
love-life difficulties to tell me. Then back to the office, although I didn't feel
at all like focussing on my work. I called my bank, to pursue my now long-running
complaint against them. They hadn't got any explanation of why I hadn't had a
letter from them within the time they'd said I would. The phone was initially
answered by one woman - let's call her A - who listened to what I had to say, and
then passed me over to a colleague - let's call her B - who'd written to me before.
B then told me that a new letter was with their boss's 'EA', waiting to be signed. I
asked what an 'EA' was, and was told that it meant 'Executive Assistant' - and
that A was the boss's executive assistant! A had gone off to a meeting in the mean
time, and couldn't be got hold of to tell me what was in the letter. I think they do
it on purpose.
Addendum: I eventually got a call from the bank at 7pm this evening as I walked home from the station. The first paragraph of the letter was read to me, and it turns out they've completely ignored some important and obvious details in my original letter, and are trying to avoid blame. Bastards. Do not bank with the Royal Bank of Scotland. I mean it.