The Little Pool

I’m on the tube. To my left I have a man who smells of rice and has paint on his jeans, and to my right I have a lady holding a wet umbrella. The umbrella is dripping on the floor and making a little pool of water which jiggles as we shunt along. I can’t stop staring at the pool of water; it’s hypnotising me as my body is rocked by the motion of the train. The pool is holding itself firmly in a rotund jelloid oxbow lake, like a capsule with an invisible skin. Every time the train jerks, the pool threatens to break and spread out into thinner rivulets, but does not. I want to see what happens. I’m invested in this little sucker now.
I’m in a bit of a trance because I’ve just come out of a meeting at the BBC for which I felt overwhelmingly unqualified. The development team liked my play and wanted to meet me and when someone at the BBC likes your stuff and wants to meet you, you ruddy go. It was a bit of a shame that I got stopped and frisked by a big security dude on the way in for having a weapon, my trusty Swiss Army knife that goes everywhere with me, but then I suppose it’s good to be kept on your toes. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a terrorist on your way into an important meeting; it’s very energising. Maybe even better than two red bulls and an espresso chaser like that other meeting I went to where I spoke really fast and then thought I was having a heart attack in the lift.
I’m in this trance because when you go to a meeting and have to talk about yourself it’s quite hard. You have to answer questions and have thoughts and formulate it all in words that hopefully come out of your mouth in a stylish sensical fashion. More than anything you can’t believe anyone wants to know what you think about anything. And then when you leave you enter a fog where you recount what you’ve just said, and wonder which bits sounded dumb and which bits sounded alright, and then you get on the tube and because you can’t punch yourself in front of people without looking mental you do it in your head instead and then enter a little daze and begin looking at a pool of water gathering around a lady’s umbrella.
I suddenly feel very grown up. Here I am, on the tube, in London, on my own, without my mum telling me which line I need to get to get to where I’m going. Going from a meeting at the BBC to another meeting with two literary agents. Writing my column on my phone. I have a column. For a newspaper. You’re reading it now. Hullo. How did I get here? How did I get to be 35? What’s going on? Shouldn’t I still be rollerskating or something, or eating Wotsits in my Wendy House? Shouldn’t I be sat on the stairs eavesdropping on the babysitter or begging my mum for a perm? What would a younger me have thought if I could have had a little glimpse into this day? Into me having a knife confiscated at the BBC before sitting down to talk about my career in writing?
I think I would have been happy that life had meandered in a way that let me have a day like today. Even if it’s not quite eating crisps in a plastic house waiting for the Flintstones to start.
And the little pool broke at Kings Cross and trickled down to my foot and gently nudged my shoe as if to say “Yes. You’re doing ok.” and I smiled. 

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