Opposite me are six men in suits. They are grey and weary  and joyless. Having said that, I am pretty joyless right now too.  I wish they would stop holding these conferences on high floors. It’s just tempting fate. Either I’m going to jump or I’m going to push someone. Though, as it’s a voluntary sector conference I’d have to navigate around way too many soapboxes to make it to the window and I’m lazy.

After the first three syllables spoken by the keynote my brain of its own accord switches off like when they stick a knife in the cerebral cortex of a Terminator T800 model to stop it rampaging.  I know that my work husband is bored too because out the corner of my eye I can see he is mauling his pen like a hungry cocker spaniel chewing on a bone. This is a dead giveaway that he is either thinking or bored. In this case I opt for bored because there’s nothing to be thinking about other than how to make it to the windows and he has just reached for his stash of Rennie and popped one which means he is bored and frustrated. Join the club. I wish he had something stronger I could pop. I gaze out the window and see the tower of the Truman brewery and sigh audibly.

Four days suddenly seems like a very, very long way away. As in, about as far away as the paleozoic era looking backwards. It feels like we’ll have colonized the moons of Jupiter before I get to hand over my security pass.

In truth I am feeling very ambivalent about four days’ time, because in four days’ time life as I know it ends. Maybe I’m institutionalised – like the guy from the Shawshank Redemption who gets paroled and finds freedom all too much so hangs himself. At least I’ll have a soapbox to stand on. I’m reminded all of a sudden of a Malcom Tucker line – It’s like the Shawshank Redemption, though we’re burrowing through more fucking shit and there’s no fucking redemption. He could have been describing this conference.

I wasn’t this freaked out before childbirth. I was so ready for that.  So ready in fact that at 8 months I was sharpening the knife and preparing to give myself a c-section I was so done with waiting. This however, this stepping into the realms of the unemployed and possibly insane, this I’m not ready for at all. I have no idea how I’m going to feel on Friday when I wake and realise that I don’t have to go to work. The place that after home is where I’ve spent most of my time in the past 8 years and which has occupied way too much of my brain space. Mostly I’m scared about who on Friday I’ll be.

I will be me of course, but I’ll be a different me. I will not have a title for one thing.  I am starting to understand why Princess Di fought to keep her title in the divorce. One grows very fond of such things. If I’m not Head of Projects what will I be? I try to list all the other things I am known as to make myself feel less of a nobody – mummy mo (to the bean), sugarplum (to a select few), Lardarse (to my brother – this doesn’t make me feel better strangely), Blossom (to my dad). Once I was called a MILF by a random stranger…that does make me feel better.

Where am I going with this? I know this is classic psychotherapy material. I must rid myself of ego and all that but one thing at a time. I need to rid myself of my security pass first and that’s going to be a big enough challenge.

Then I wonder what other things might change come Friday other than my bank balance, my alarm setting and my freedom from conferences that make me want to commit suicide. I wonder whether certain character traits I possess might disappear along with my business cards. For example what will happen to my perennial impatience, intolerance of stupidity, cynicism, sarcasm, brusqueness and flaring nostrils? Will they vanish too?

Yeah. Not likely. I hear you.

I’ll keep you posted.

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