Sunday, November 9, 2008

Audrey Hepburn and an unusual week

Audrey Hepburn graced our house yesterday and she brought Marilyn Monroe with her! Audrey stood atop a pile of beautiful red cakes, iced with glittery white icing, on a splendidly baroque cake stand, surrounded by white and red feathers. The cake my mother made for Flora's birthday party was the highlight of a week that has been somewhat unsettling and much more momentous than I expected it to be on Monday.

First of all I've had to deal with the physical impact of giving up my beloved Diet Cokes. Amazingly after a few days of the most awful headache, I feel quite well and don't crave the silver monsters. Then there was the job situation. For some time now I've suspected my position was vulnerable and there was a position going at work which I knew I was partly qualified for but might be something of a challenge initially. In a move that was very unlike me - I hate change - I put myself forward for it and am now starting a new job.
Whether I will like it and whether I'm actually up to it remains to be seen but for the moment it's better than being made redundant. Two people have told me this week that I was on a 'hitlist'. I wasn't suprised to be honest as I know my job was marginal at times, costing the company and mainly dispensible. Nevertheless I found it slightly wounding and unsettling after my years with the organisation but it was a stark reminder that no one is indispensible. Yet the very word 'hitlist', even when told to you in the context of it not being personal, sounds awful and aggressively final.

Towards the end of the week I attended an awards ceremony with work colleagues and it did feel odd sitting there knowing I had been on this 'hitlist'. My manager is relieved because she says it saves someone and allows them to keep their 'little family' but I'm unconvinced that any family would behave as a business does - not unless they are dysfunctional at least!

So do I feel optimistic? Not entirely as I'm your typical glass half empty merchant but at least I've taken some control over my future and that has to be good. As if to finish off this strange week with something of a flourish, I walked straight into my ex-husband in Sainsbury's today. I don't see him for weeks and we barely communicate. On the rare occasion we do speak he's usually uncommunicative at best but frequently unpleasant and challenging. Despite the shock of bumping into him, I managed to say in a breezy, friendly voice 'Ah, you're seeing the children later. What time?' and then walk off as if I hadn't a care in the world. I didn't even flinch when he joined the same till queue as me (Why did he do this? There were loads of other queues he could have joined).

I was amazed by my equanimity, sang-froid - whatever you want to call it (balls?), in the face of a situation that eighteen months ago would have seen me reduced to a quivering wreck. Time really is a great healer but I think the two-minute silence might have helped too. All the shoppers were asked to observe the silence for Remembrance Sunday and it gave me a chance to collect myself by the cocoa powder. Yes, I know I should have been thinking about the fallen but I'll give them two minutes another time. I hope they'll forgive me.

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