Yesterday I went into central London to Soho, to meet some buddies I used to work with. It was a drizzly, grey nondescript kinda day, but still I felt cheery. I rarely get into London much anymore and when I stride through Soho, it feels like I am walking in a life I lived many moons ago. I used to work at various TV companies dotted all around the area - and frequent the bars and cafes for long boozy lunches/dinners justified as 'expenses' in the good old days when TV companies had money. One street always takes me back to my first ever date with my Husband - in a cafe in possibly the campest street in London. He was getting the eye from manys a cute boy when I arrived... all those years ago. Other places take me back to our dating days - double cinema dates at the Curzon Soho, endless thai meals at Busaba, dinners at Cafe Boheme... Days felt long and full of possibilities.
Mainly it reminds me of my single days - stumbling from one bar to another - blagging my way into member's only haunts, and creeping down dark stairways to late night lock ins... It all feels so normal - I feel myself again - and then I remember I am boring Mother in the burbs these days.
The gang I met yesterday, I started to work with in 2008. My second career - whereas for them, mainly this was their first. So that makes me that bit older than them all - that bit further down life's track. Sometimes I feel like the freak girl who is trying to be this good mother at home - and then with them, I guess around anything job wise, I'm worker CM. The holy grail is trying to marry these two states. I listen as they talk of exciting new jobs and experiences - all of which are so foreign to me (I know virtually no one in the drama industry here) - I couldn't possibly take jobs that they have with all my commitments. So it is strange - on one hand I envy their ability to just have themselves to think of, while I juggle playdates and baby stuff, school activities and all the after school malarkey - and feeding and raising two kids - and on the other I know that at some stage I will be out of these woods and be able to jump into work again.
I listen to myself and my only interesting gambits these days are child related - because that is what my life is filled with. I am turning into the person I never wanted to be - the woman who talks only of her kids. Maybe that isn't true - I can comment on trying to put a gypsy curse on someone even though I am no gypsy; gossip about ex colleagues; predict a winner on the X factor and throw in some opinions on various tv shows... But the thing that bound us together - work - is no longer in my life. Sometimes I wish they all had kids and could advise me how to juggle it all - but maybe by the time they do it they'll be well off enough to afford nannies and big houses, so they won't contend with the trivial issues that keep me awake at night.
It was so good to see them. For years they were my day in and day out family - I spent more time with them than anyone else. I was devastated when I had to leave them all last year - and beyond anything, they are fun. They make me laugh and rip the piss out of each other (and oh yes, me lots) and there isn't really a dull moment when they are all bantering away. I wonder if in my life I'll ever work with a team I love as much again. We had gathered as one of them is moving back to Oz with his lovely wife. It feels strange to think that he won't be around, even though I don't see him that often.
Yesterday as we left the restaurant where we had scoffed scones and tea (rock n roll baby) I spied some women at the bar necking martinis. For one second I remembered myself in a similar pose, all those years ago (1999/2000). My heart kind of sank because I will always miss those days - presenting kids tv until about 4pm (which meant larking about with my mates in front of camera and getting paid for it in all honesty) on Tottenham Ct Road and then sauntering either up to Noho or down to Soho, then hitting the bars, still caked in the on screen make up that would take 5 wipes to get off. There was no curfew, no worries about pennies in the bank - sure that's what overdrafts were for. Life was so carefree. When I walk those streets I remember myself, the bit of me that feels the most remote at the moment. Maybe one day, Ill be back...