I’m spending the night in a hotel somewhere in South Essex, one of those chains that appears to be the most upmarket place there is, but that is not saying much, believe me. Had to do a late presentation and it was 8.30 or so before I got here, starving and with an adrenaline rush. The restaurant is across the entrance, another building, and outside there are clusters of smokers, all seem to be early twenties or younger, Essex guys and girls, jeans and jumpers, loud but enjoying themselves having a night out, or as part of a working party, perhaps staying overnight in the hotel as I do. I edge my way into the restaurant clutching my notebook, a book and my bag with telephones and other essentials. I order a salad and a large glass of wine, which I think I deserve at the end of this very long day when we presented the outcomes of that report that I’ve been writing all over Easter. My two colleagues, one of them my boss in the hierarchy of things, are quite chuffed because it was a good show and our client expresses his satisfaction with what we have delivered, saying the report was ‘excellent’. At least, even if I don’t do much creative writing at the moment and my stories and novel are suffering from neglect, I am getting some kind of consolation recognition for what I do instead.
Around me the tables are occupied by young couples, a group of college students and then a couple of groups of heavily tatoed young men, one of them scratches himself almost nonstop and I wonder what on earth I’m doing here of all places. The answer is that I have to carry on into Kent tomorrow for another interview for another job and then I can go back home for the weekend.
Time to go to bed and read some more Charlotte Mendelson (When We Were Bad) – the story of the Jewish matriarch who has a dysfunctional lifestyle even if she is a rabbi, and I cannot find a grain of sympathy for her, just a kind of wonderment why on earth anyone would find her amusing and worth of veneration, as her whole family seems to do. Mind, they are just as dysfunctional in their various occupations, or non-occupations.