Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 17 August 2012

One of My Perks is Missing

One of the perks of being a freelance writer, a freelance anything I suppose, was taken away from me this week. If you’re a freelance anything and you live in my hometown, it was also just taken away from you.

This happens every year, and, thankfully, I know that it will pass. It always does, but while I’m in the middle of it, honestly, I rather resent it.

Freelancers do not live like other people. If we do not work, we do not get paid. We can take duvet days, like everyone else, but the work we do not do on those days does not get paid for. I take duvet days, but when I take them, I take them with a laptop, and I work. I don’t do hard work, or real work. Usually, I catch up on e-mails, put a couple of extra blogs in the drawer, work up pitches, collate ideas, you know, peripheral stuff, rather than writing stuff, but it’s rare that a duvet day has a zero workload.

Other people don’t work on duvet days. Other people take holidays, too.

On the other hand, I feel sorry for 9 to 5-ers. They have to go to the tanning booth at lunchtime when it’s hot and busy. They have to go to restaurants in the evenings when they’re noisy and busy. They have to shop at the weekends when shops are stuffy and busy. I don’t have to do that. I can wander into the tanning booth at ten-thirty in the morning when no one’s been in yet and it’s cool, have a chat with Delhi, and take my time rubbing in the lotion, because I don’t feel like I’m holding up the queue. I can have lunch at half past three in the afternoon when waiters are falling over each other to serve me because the place is empty and they’re looking for something... anything to do, and they know they can earn a decent tip. I can shop any time of any day without fighting for my turn at the rack or missing out on the last shirt in my size.

Not this week.

Every summer holidays there is one week when everyone seems to be at home with their kids. Every summer holidays there is one week when no one has gone on the family holiday, the grandparents can’t have the kids because gran’s knees are playing up, the kid’s club at school has closed because of sickness or head-lice or ringworm or something, and the rain has stopped and the Olympics aren’t on the telly any more. During that week, everyone mills about in my home town, clogging everything up and making it busy and uncomfortable. There are thousands of moaning little brats and nagging mothers, and it’s my idea of hell.

I’m an easygoing sort of woman, but, this week was a good week to get an awful lot of work done. Heaven help me, it wasn’t good for much else. Still, it’ll all be over soon, the 9 to 5-ers will go back to work, the kid’s will go back to school, and I’ll have my little world back to myself.

I bloody love my life... Well... fifty-one weeks of the year, anyway.

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