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The Twilight Zone

They say that a change is as good as a rest. The jury is out, to put it mildly. It feels more like purgatory. But at least I think I’ve earned some browny points on the ‘Being a Good Mother’ front. To say that I am a rabbit in the headlights is an understatement. The reason is this:

I’m currently queuing to embark on a bus. Nothing too unusual about that, except that this bus is parked inside an arena. The NEC in Birmingham to be exact. The bus has no destination and no windows either. It is big and black and red, with ‘Republic of Games’ written on its side in a jaunty prepubescent font. It is parked in the middle of the National Gaming Convention. The EGX.

I’m here because of my son, who happens to be into gaming and computing- again an understatement. I recently sold my beloved Freelander to pay for the parts of a PC for him to build. He talks in a language I don’t understand. I’m sure he’s turning into a cave dweller- I guess it’s good practise for male adulthood.

I’m silently praising myself for leaving Alan at home. I think it might have actually finished him off. I have instead continued my collection of ‘Good Mother’ points by suggesting that my ex-husband – my children’s father, comes instead. After all, he is the person responsible for giving Thomas this particular ‘gaming’ gene.

The Freelander thing was a bit of a Hustle moment to be honest. I sort of feel guilty. Almost. Poor Alan. He bought me a Freelander to pull my trailer and put it in his name. After a while I convinced him to transfer it into my name. He did. I’ve just sold it back to him for £1000 to buy Thomas these computer bits. The thing is my 13 year old car is about to fail it’s MOT as it’s a little bit rusty. I think I’ll need the Freelander back….

I’m surrounded by men and not the sort I am used to. Gaming men. I think they’ve branched off the Tree of Life and are running parallel to Homo Sapiens. They certainly all look similar. I think they all dwell in caves too by the look of their complexions.

Naturally the train was late- it took us four hours to get here. Four hours home too. Seven hours here at the NEC. I’m considering it a life experience- an extreme sport in endurance and stimulation-overload and noise and lights and general Hell on Earth. The life force is being sapped from me. What’s worrying me most is that Thomas wants to come next year too.

Hiding for a while in the extortionately priced cafe, I ate pizza and sorbet – £40 for 2. I survived for a while there until this bus thing called. I was the ‘queue girl’ whilst the others did ‘stuff’ and spent my money. I’m queuing and rocking and quietly shaking. My bladder is full and my brain is fried. It’s been 40 looong minutes standing in this queue. It’s on a promise for another 10 – I can’t wait. Roll on next year.

I think my finest hour today was the grandiose fall I did in the centre of the whole convention. Thank God I’d found the toilet first.

I’d lost the will to live after 5 long hours of intense screen overload coming at me from all angles. At that point I had no choice, I made my escape. Bolting like a fox from a covert for the comfort of a bean bag I spotted at 50 feet, I didn’t actually notice the raised platform. Oh boy was it a good one. Usually a fall like that is from the back of a horse. No, not I the dainty girl trip, oh no, it was the full-frontal, arms-flailing, lion-tripping-up-an-elephant type of fall. In public. In the NEC. With an audience. At least the Earth trembling vibrations I created were drowned out by the intense blaring of electronic music and technology – one blessing at least. Well that’s another high point of the day.

Anna has disowned me. I think I need to go home.

The joyous day continued with the train journey home. Remind me next time to not travel to Birmingham when Sheffield Wednesday are playing an away game there against Aston Villa. And all of Sheffield embark on the same train as the one we valiantly ran to catch. I think they might have won.

The day continued in the Twilight Zone of twisted reality when I received my first ever 1 star review from a customer who hasn’t actually been. She’s called Kimberley. I suspect Victoria Wood knew her. ‘I’m looking for my friend, She’s called Kimberley, have you seen her?’ is stuck in my head. Well no, actually I haven’t. As she’s not been. At all.

She booked to come for New Year’s Eve but has cancelled a couple of times, she’s rung up and she’s text too – and huffed and puffed, and was immensely put out by the £20 charge for her dogs. When I pointed out that perhaps she ought to find somewhere else, she was obviously and clearly most offended, and felt the need to share her hurt, her anger and her general dissatisfaction with several booking agents that she hadn’t actually used. Classic Victoria Wood material if you ask me. At least I saw the funny side. Almost. Perhaps today is just another one of those ‘Quantum Leap’ s for those of us old enough to remember the cult TV show.

Maybe the final straw of this alternative reality that I find myself in, was when I arrived home (at 10pm – a 16 hour day of the bizarre , the weird and the sadly not so wonderful,) to the revelation made by Alan, that in my absence a dear fisherman (as witnessed by my mother) had seen the need to take a shit in the narrow passageway that is part of, and leads to, my stable yard. My beautiful, clean, well kept area, my holy grail, my sanctuary. I think that this one act perhaps sums up better than any words can, my day. There are strange forces afoot. I’m glad it’s nearly tomorrow – I think I’m ready for it.

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