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Tuesday 27th May 2003

Another 3000 words written, just over 8000 to go. Yet even though I finished a chapter, IÂ’ve accidentally created need for a new one. So thereÂ’s three chapters left. 8000 words isnÂ’t going to be enough. So itÂ’s probably still more like 15000 and some editing. But itÂ’s going to be OK. I can see the end in sight. ItÂ’s going well.
ItÂ’s annoying though. Now IÂ’m applying myself itÂ’s all gliding out of me, and IÂ’m making up some great new stuff. Which is annoying because, why couldnÂ’t I have done this three months ago? Why can I only work when I know that my final, final deadline is definitely approaching, where my failure to get the work done will result in other peopleÂ’s lives getting messed around.
Imagine how much I could do if I could work like this every day. How good that would make me feel. When will I finally accept that this is just the way things are?
Enough writing about writing already.
ItÂ’s all IÂ’m doing.
There must be something else.

I popped into the new Marks and SpencerÂ’s food hall on Balham High Road on my way home to get a low calorie microwave meal (I must be feeling better about myself). They were just about to close and the check-out ladies were in party mood, that slight hysteria brought on by knowing that your tedious job is about to finish for the day. I mean that in a nice way. They work hard and itÂ’s not an easy job to be faced with essentially the same repetitive task for eight hours.
There were only two check out ladies left. One was a middle-aged white lady and the other was a young black girl. As I arrived they were bantering about which check outs they would rather work on. “How about Harrods?” the girl was saying. The older woman rolled her eyes, but in a fun way, joining in.
“Yeah, that might be too much too soon. Somewhere like Selfridges or Debenhams, would be good. Debenhams would be a good place to work, don’t you think?”
She was asking me. So I said that it probably would be.
“She just started working here this week,” said the other lady, “She was working over there before.” She pointed with disdain at Sainsbury’s across the road. Good to see even the staff of Marks’ look down on the ordinary supermarket. They know they’re more classy.
“She’s already moving up in the world, then,” I noted, “And it’s good to look ahead and have aspirations.”
“That’s right,” said the younger girl, smiling, “You’ve got to have aspirations!”
Looking into her eyes you could see she was just passing through. She was going to work her way up to the finest check-out in the land. She was only 18 at most, sheÂ’d leave this old lady satisfied with simple old Marks and SpencerÂ’s behind. She would be secretly laughing at her contempt for SainsburyÂ’s. DidnÂ’t she understand that to this young gun, MarksÂ’ was as laughable as SainsburyÂ’s?
At the rate she was going, by the end of the year sheÂ’d be at Harvey Nicks at least. By the end of the decade, old Mohammed Al Fayed better watch out.
Genuinely her enthusiasm was inspiring. I came home, drank a mini-bottle of champagne I had purchased from this girl and finished my chapter.
If I get the book finished I know thereÂ’s soon going to be a vacancy at MarksÂ’.

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