They say bad things come in threes. And I've had such a bad run of it over the last week I'm hoping this is my bad-luck quota for the year well and truly filled.
Two Mondays ago I lost my job. It was hardly something to be upset about - I was working as a door-to-door findraiser and while my colleagues were great, wandering the far-flung streets of suburban London in the cold and the dark only to have doors slammed repeatedly in my face was hardly a joy. Besides, the company was new and shakey, so when they folded it nobody was suprised. A job is a job though, and between rent and food and my travel fund I was beginning to think I'd be stretched a little thin. Luckily I'd got that original job through a recruitment agency, and they set me up right away with some new work. Unfortunately the London job market isn't exactly booming, so the only work available is the jobs no-one else wants. Like, for example, street fundraising. You know; those painfully happy people you see in the city and who, no matter how hard you try to look inconspicuous, latch onto you and guilt you into paying out for a charity you'd never even thought about until about 30 seconds ago. Yep. That's me.
Believe me, I understand how annoying street fundraisers are. I can't say no to save my life, so I am the perfect target. But no matter how many times I'm asked, no matter how little money I have, no matter how guilty I end up feeling, I am always polite. It's just a job, after all. Apparently, though, not everyone is quite so considerate. I felt like crying for two days straight after I started. Being sworn at, yelled at, ignored or shoved aside for eight hours a day is hard work. I started on Tuesday, and by the afternoon it was all I could do not to slink off down a side street and weep for self-pity. My teamleader came up to me around five and all he could say was "Shannon, why do you look SO sad?" Well no, that's not entirely true. He also told me that people are mostly all cunts. And while I don't actually believe that, it's becoming a lot harder to refute.
By Friday I have to admit I was honestly enjoying myself. The sun was out, I was getting better numbers, rude remarks had quickly become like water off a duck's back. The people I was working with were fun and great company. I was in a good mood. Exhausted, but happy.
And then I went out and got hit in the face. Again.
Never in my life did I think I would have to say that even once, let alone two weeks in a row. I left the club because I was tired, had drunk enough and needed to get some sleep before work in the morning. There is a 24 hour bus to my house from the station nearest the club, so I went there. But it wasn't coming for ages, so I figured a taxi would just make my night that much easier, and would only cost me about a tenner. That was a mistake.
I hailed a black cab and asked the driver what it would cost to get me home. He told me £15. Admittedly a bit pricey, but at 2:30 on a Saturday morning it still seemed reasonable. But when we got to my road he tried to charge me £10 extra, and when I got out of the cab having only given him the original amount he followed me, threatened me, and then hit me. Unlike last time I was alone. So I ran. I literally turned around and legged it. Not exactly a hero, me.
Anyway, I woke up the next morning with a bruised nose, and fat lip, and the strangest feeling. Even though I was hurt worse this time around, I didn't feel as scared as the first time. My friends railed, and I rallied. I just didn't think about it. I thought about my friend Laura, when she had a fat lip. I thought about how, despite my landlady's assurances that London is a mean place, this could have happened anywhere. About how I still love London. About how this bad thing had happened, but I didn't have to let it have far-reaching consequences.
Really it's just a run of bad luck. But sometimes bad things are just the forerunners of better things. I lost my job, but got a better one. I got hit in the face, but I'll be stronger for it. On Tuesday evening, right at the end of the day, my teamleader came up to me again, to tell me that he didn't really think people were mostly cunts. Maybe he just didn't want to be the one to ruin my bright and shiney outlook on life, but it's true. Sometimes people are rubbish. But in the end, people are mostly good. Or at least I will continue to resolutely believe so.