Everyone has them. Mine: cockroaches, dentists, jellyfish and anything to do with tax, banks, pieces of illegible paper demanding money.
I'm a law-abiding person, very honest, (my old accountant said, far too honest . . .) and try my best to keep our money affairs in some order, or rather Mark does mainly.
a couple of days ago one of those incomprehensible letters appeared from an arts organisation I belong to. I didn't want to belong to it, but like so many things in France, you have to belong to it, sign a several tree worths of papers, and then pay charges, in order to have the right to show some pictures in a possible gallery, which in this current climate is as likely as finding the Holy Grail in your woodpile.
We looked at the letter, or Mark did while I trembled pathetically. He then wrote an email, this is incredible in itself . . . being able to send an email to any quango like this is usually impossible. He pressed the send button in total confidence that it would then sit in someones inbox for seven years and we would here no more about it.
In fact someone phoned me the next day: a humourless voice told me to go to the TAX OFFICE . . .uh!! It's OK madame, it's very simple. They may only remove one of your arms, have no fear.
I managed, through whimpering and pleading, to get Mark to go with me and we arrived in the newly painted office, nice and early the next morning.
The boy, he looked about fifteen, took the letter and gave me some forms. Seeing our non-comprehension, he gave us a supermarket queue style ticket and told us to wait for the controller.
The ticket said: estimated time of wait: zero minutes: number of people waiting: zero. We sat and waited fifteen minutes, looked at a sort of charter type poster that stated that all staff would be friendly and talked to an old man who said that the tax system was all bollocks.
The controller arrived in a floor length leather coat with two drooling Alsatians and a tool box . . . Not really. He was brown suited, chubby and mighty pissed off at having to stop having a coffee break, or perhaps he hadn't been able to park the Mercedes close enough to the office. Anyway he didn't like the look of us. When we falteringly asked him what to do, he pretty much told us to piss off while shaking his head and clucking like a deranged turkey. How dare we soil his pristine office with our arty fartyness. If Dickens had ever written about an angry French Bureaucrat - Monsieur Taupe bof-legrand, this man would have been the book plate.
P.S Mark just looked up phobias. There are some quite surprising ones. How about — Peanut butter sticking to the roof of mouth - Arachibutyrophobia