‘You’re not stepping off the escalator Sarah.’
‘No, you’re jumping off a cliff.’
That doesn’t sound like something I want to be doing. But I don’t want the panic to show on my face so I reach for my glass and laugh loudly whilst swigging back the contents in two gulps.
I’m having lunch ( wine, wine, some more wine followed by Galician hooch that is making my eyes water in much the same way as cheryl cole’s dress did) with my ex-ex-boss. He’s like the Oracle. When he talks, I listen. When he used to chuck things at my head. I ducked. Now the only things he’s chucking are metaphors I can’t unravel.
I’m not sure about the cliff jumping – it doesn’t sound too safe. Or sane. I prefer the escalator metaphor. No one has killed themselves jumping off an escalator. That I know of, but I’m scared to google and find out. More importantly it’s far easier to step back onto an escalator. Not so a cliff. That would involve climbing. If I even survived the fall onto sharpened rocks below. But maybe he has a point. Somewhere in the fog that is my brain, I’m sure he has a point. Thing is , I can’t actually figure it out because I have managed to drink away the fear. And with it all my memories of what else the oracle imparted about the cliffs and the nosedive I’m taking off them.
In the cold and sober light of my office that afternoon, I recall that by saying I was jumping off a cliff he meant there was no way I’d want to come back to London to a similar job. That opportunities would arise and I’d end up somewhere completely different, doing something completely different. So long as that other place isn’t Gregg’s in Glasgow, that’s fine.
As well as feeling faintly nauseous and head spinny, I also come away from lunch feeling inspired and filled with self- belief. The kind of belief that only alcohol can fuel. My self-belief is as up and down as Danyl’s at the moment. One day I’m completely fanatical about how everything is going to be amazing and wonderful. I look at John and tell him how brilliant it is and how I am going to make a living wherever we are. I will find some hidden talent and we will make enough money to live on the beach in a bohemian dream (with no Kaftans but maybe some hareem pants), we’ll school Lula somehow (via the cbeebies website) and fly home a few times a year (or maybe we’ll just skype to save our carbon footprint). It goes all blurry at the point I have to think about what I’m working as to make this vision complete. Then the next day I’m in the depths of despair turning to John every five minutes for reassurance that everything is going to be ok, (see just like Danyl must be doing with Simon Cowell every minute of every day – and just for the record it’s not going to be ok Danyl, Olly is going to win or the twins, not you).
I’m also reading Shantaram. Have you read it? It’s good. I didn’t like it at first because I found it a bit too self-satisfied. But the story is pretty gripping. It’s based on the author’s own experiences – he escaped prison in Australia, made his way to Mumbai, started working for the Mafia, extra-ed in Bollywood movies, lived in the Slum working as a barefoot style doctor, smuggled passports and all sorts into war zones, smoked a lot of dope, got the crap beaten out of him in an Indian prison, rode a horse into Afghanistan during the war with the Russians to bring black market contraband to majahadeen fighters. Just a few of the things then that we’ll be doing on our travels. Reading Shantaram is making me feel calmer and more confident. I figure that if he found work, then so can I. Though I can’t ride a horse. And my Hindi needs some practice.