My goodness, where have I been? Having a Real Life is where, and it has not been pretty. Since we last spoke I have lost my job, fallen into an unemployment coma, and got a new job, within the space of about a week and a half: well, they do say modern life is speeding up. But then they also say that modern life is rubbish.
I was only actually out of work for ten days, but it's amazing how quickly you begin to Think Poor: all the things that you pay for without a second thought when you're secure in the loving arms of a steady paycheque suddenly begin to loom large when funds become finite. I could get the tube - but it would be 60p cheaper, and only take an hour longer, to get the bus. I am feeling a bit dizzy - but if I just wait til I get home, I won't have to spend £1 on a sandwich.
Years ago, I was waiting for a train with my dad, and insisted on standing outside in the rain to have a cigarette, rather than under cover on the platform. He was bemused - smoking on station platforms is illegal these days, but "no one's going to see, and anyway, the fine's only fifty quid." Fifty quid was, to him, pretty negligible: I was on the dole. Paying a £50 fine would involve not eating for a week. So he could take risks that were unthinkable to me. It's not just what you can buy that makes rich people different, it's how you think about spending, how you weigh your options, having the luxury to think about something other than moneymoneymoney every waking minute.
And now I'm gainfully employed, and I will forget, again.