Monday, 9 April 2012

What a difference a day makes

What A Difference A day makes
24 Little hours
From the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain.

Just over a year ago a simple event acted as the trigger to series of events that have, quite simply, changed my life. The event in itself was quite traumatic at the time. It was a Tuesday. I know this because on a Tuesday I would pay my landlady. So I tripped merrily down to the nearest ATM on High Holborn to draw out the pennies before heading for the mire of the Piccadilly Line.

But there was a problem.

My card didn't come out, the machine locked. Oh. Now I had two cards, but could only recall the number for one, which is a bit of an issue. So whilst I considered what I needed to do I popped in to the dirty fried chicken place next door to take on comfort food.

As you do.

Time passed and I left, my mind having moved on to other things. But something stopped me in my tracks. A simple thing, somebody was using the cash machine. The broken one. The one that was dead and locked 20 minutes earlier. Oh feck... I'd noticed one tiny oddity, I really didn't think much of it at the time, the slot was black plastic looking. Now it was grubby metal. I ran.

I almost never run.

I needed to block my card, which meant I needed internet access to get the number. So back to the office, mildly panic stricken, finally the machine booted, got the bank number called and... There had been a withdrawal from the Barclays ATM I could see from my office window over yonder. By the time the call had gone through I'd already transferred every penny from my account out, just less the £300 already lifted.

The good news was the block was instant and the amount would be refunded. Which was good. Apparently it was something called a Lebanese Loop. I'd never heard of such a thing. I felt sick to the core. What really wasn't helping was that I had maybe £1.50 to my name, couldn't use my other card as I'm an idiot and can't remember numbers.


Broke. In London.

I'd been told that I could get cash out over the counter, but that was a problem for tomorrow. By the time I got to Hammersmith I was a gibbering, tearful angry wreck. I received a text from an old friend (the one of the champagne incident last Sunday) explained my predicament and he called with words of comfort. Really I should have gone there instead, but now now I'd had more than enough. I wanted to crawl under my duvet, shut off the world and never come back. I hated everything.

I was at rock bottom.

The next day was glorious. I spoke with my bank, ordered new cards and popped along to the High Holborn branch to hand over my passport and other ID to draw out some cash the old fashioned way. I'd again had a “you won't break me” moment, you hit the bottom and bounce. This was a good thing. Meanwhile on Twitter I was the wrong side of bonkers. I only drew out a small amount to tide me over to the weekend, but goodness having the cash made things seem better, I could interact with the world.

Sometime during that day I actually started chatting with a relatively new follower. We'd exchanged tweets before, but nothing much. But today was different. A time for change. A time to meet somebody new. Which will be why at 6PM I waited in Bloomsbury Square with two bottles of chilled pink wine to spend a reckless couple of hours chatting with said follower.

Nobody told me I would also be meeting my best friend, confidante, soul mate and, eventually, flatmate. That wasn't the plan. I never did like plans!

As the lyrics of the song extol, what a difference a day makes. In truth I had no idea then the significance of the evening, but I do remember boarding the train at Waterloo thinking I'd met somebody that would be a firm friend. In that single 24 hours I'd gone from a rolling existence, hit rock bottom, bounced and ended up meeting somebody that would be so important in my life.

Fortunately not every 24 hours are like that. But when things are difficult I reflect on the fact that life can change dramatically in a very short period of time.

And sometimes, with a dash of perfection, things change for the better.

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