long queues on Monday mornings

It’s ten o’clock on a Monday morning at the post office inside the mall. Most of the people queueing are either planning to go shopping after, or are waiting for someone who’s shopping. I’m only here to send a parcel off to Australia, though I’m not averse to the idea of getting some ice-cream on the way home. I glance at my number again: 2043. On the small LED display two numbers flash: 2014 and 2015. A long way to go, then.

It’s a tiny post office with four counters and one is only for collecting packages. It offers all the services the larger post offices offer, though, from renewal of driving licences to sales of commemorative stamps, which accounts for its busyness. The heavy-set man standing beside me has what looks like a vehicle registration card—probably here to renew his road tax, then. Half of the people queueing are likely there to pay their bills. I sigh to myself and wonder why they’re resistant to doing that online.

The seats are full, so I pop out of the post office and head to the stationery shop beside it. The woman at the counter greets me with a cheerful hello, but I can’t tell whether it’s because she’s noticed me from my frequent visits to the post office or it’s just because she’s a cheerful person in general. I duck into the section hosting the paperback novels and find nothing new—the same old copy of Dan Brown’s Angel and Demons that has been there since the start of last year is still there. I do the usual circuit and look at everything on display: the wrapping paper (mostly new) and glitter pens (probably not new) and head back out with a rueful nod at the woman—I can’t be the only person who comes in and doesn’t buy anything. She nods back, smiling.

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things I like: an incomplete list

  • the sound of rain as it hits the awning
  • the smell of dust after rain
  • I am the Doctor by Murray Gold, from the soundtrack of Doctor Who
  • Doctor Who, especially Series 5
  • Amelia Pond, aged seven
  • the cat, and how he curls up on my stomach, like there’s nowhere better to be
  • mathematics
  • books, physical ones I can hold and flip through, even though they take up space and pile up unread and threaten to topple over me
  • The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
  • and the rest of the Lymond Chronicles, also by Dorothy Dunnett
  • also Dorothy Dunnett generally, because I want to be her when I grow up
  • fanfiction
  • the sea and all its glory
  • Final Fantasy X
  • milk tea done right, not too sweet and just creamy enough
  • Bastille (the band)
  • the soundtrack of Person of Interest by Ramin Djawadi
  • Person of Interest, because it might just be the best show you’ve never watched
  • that moment when your code compiles without problems and your program actually runs
  • hexagons and English paper piecing
  • new fabric
  • Scotland
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
  • new notebooks with crisp, unlined pages
  • puffy white clouds in a blue, blue sky
  • Ikimono-gakari
  • the Large Hadron Collider
  • particle physics explained in small words
  • someone purchasing something I made on Etsy
  • the wind rustling through the trees
  • morning in the mountains before the mist disperses
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • also Howl’s Moving Castle, the anime adaptation by Hayao Miyazaki
  • the stars, especially from dark beaches
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day, especially when it features star clusters and galaxies
  • rain lilies blooming the day after the rain