You always hear about authors finding characters for their books in public places: trains, planes, stations, shops, restaurants. And I fully understand how! This morning, I was sitting at Stockport Station, waiting for my train to London. Next to me where 2 really poshed up ladies, probably in their late 40s . Upon closer inspection, the number of labels were even evident to me, the untrained eye. They oozed money. Versace coat (the label was on display when she took it off and hung it over a chair), Armani Scarf (the name “Armani plastered all over the scarf, supposedly as part of the motif, but I think it is just so everyone knows you’re wearing Armani), Cloe handbags. Hair coiffed, and coloured. Not long afterwards a train arrived from London, and they were joined by a further 3 women – all a bit older, probably in their 50s. Ooooh, and now we had a fur coat, big diamonds and prominent jewellery. It all seemed a bit surreal really. Of course I didn’t want to eavesdrop (okay, I did!), but unfortunately my train was going to arrive any minute, so the only part of the conversation I heard was about someone who tried to come and visit they one woman at home, but she had forgotten to arrange security clearance for her.
“And you know how tight the security is at ours. They just couldn’t get past the front security. Later they rung me to tell me how ridiculous it all was that they couldn’t actually pop in for a visit.”
Who lives like this? Who wants to live like this? And then I realised. I am actually quite satisfied with my lot. Do I want to be dripping with money, and in such a way that I feel the need to put it on display at any opportunity? Would I like to be out of touch with reality – how real people live? Would I like to have the need to guard myself and my belongings in such a way, that I have to build barriers between myself and those dear to me? Would I like to be on permanent display?
And then I realised the answer is a resounding “NO!”. Yes, perhaps I would like to be able to fly business class on long-haul flights, and perhaps have a modest beach house for holidays, and work a little less than I do, but all in all, I am lucky and happy. I have everything I need, I have a loving family, fantastic husband, cute cat and even a job for the time being (let’s see if I sing the same song after my contract comes to an end in January …!). I am surrounded by great friends, good company and even love my neighbours, my neighbourhood and surroundings (save for the weather). Tim and I are both healthy, we have good holidays and we’re financial secure (for the time being). So all in all, I am going to count myself lucky.
Back to finding interesting characters: I met a granddad in the queue at the coffee shop. It turns out he lives just down the road from us in Hale Barns. And what a lovely and interesting man. As he tells me, he is old enough to get a discount on first class tickets on the train, so unfortunately he was sitting in the posh bit on the train, where I was back in cattle class. But that is when I remember that that is one part of my life that is a bit empty – it’s the bit of my brain that it set aside for enjoying old people’s company. I really love old people! I know some people find them difficult and/or tiresome, but I just don’t have that problem. I have been thinking about adopting myself a granddad or grandma, but it is easier said than done. We live across the road from a Nursing Home. I have been over there a couple of times to try and speak to someone about perhaps visiting someone there who doesn’t have family, or doesn’t have family close by, but the place is like Fort Knox! And no-one comes to the door when you ring the doorbell. It might be because I normally go after work, but surely at a place like a nursing home would have staff around the clock.
The other way I could get my ‘old people’s fix’, could be to go down to the Club Theatre bar in the evening. The theatre is run by the grey hair brigade and 90% of the members must be over 55! I just love it! The only thing I am short of though, is time.
Now in fact, I am writing this blog on the train. I am on my way down to London again to deliver another training course. It is the last scheduled course for the year. I am sure I might need to go down again, but not as frequently as I have been going down the past few weeks. They are all fleeting visits though: Train down, get to the office, deliver the training, have a few other meetings, then train back up. Even the shorter days feel long though. Today I left home at 9.30 and hope to be home by 7.45 pm. However, I think there is a serious risk of me missing my train, because I think it has been too tightly scheduled. I do enjoy getting out of the office though, and it is great meeting other people other than just the team that I am in.