This morning I was told I hadn’t got the job. I would not, it transpired, be leaving on a jet plane this Friday for a week-long whisky commercial shoot in Romania, and I would not, it also dawned on me, be able to put my account back into the black before summer.
Unfortunately, for the past few days I’ve been spending all of the money I would have earned from said gig (albeit in my head) with ease. Nothing frivolous at all, but rather satisfactory, sensible spending. The kind that makes me feel wholesome because instead of thinking “Christopher Kane, come hither” I imagine employing someone to paint my front door a colour that doesn’t make people think I was inspired by the colour scheme at Brixton Rec.
I could hand over my wad of cash to builders, so they could make the loft safe: I could move the shrouded monster that lives in the corner of my bedroom – otherwise known as tents and summer clothes and things that I might one day need again, but would rather not have to look at first thing in the morning and last thing at night – to somewhere less visible instead. I could also pay for the quarry-like wasteland at the bottom of our garden to be evened out in time for spring.
When I said that I believed the job was almost mine, I was simply employing some positive thinking. I’m not known for being good at selling myself: take me to a casting and I am the most likely person in the room to talk the casting director out of using me at all. “Now, could you look to camera and give us both sides of your profile… Face on… And now smile.” I usually reply: “Er, you probably don’t want me to smile with teeth, because if you can imagine what the inside of Celine Dion’s jaw looked like before she had expensive orthodontic work, then that’s about the size of my smile.” Unsurprisingly I very rarely get a call back.
But with this casting, I felt differently. I thought “I’ve had quite a few rejections recently, and if I look to the law of averages and divine luck, surely I’m due a break?” I walked in, and did what I had to do (which, incidentally, was play a 40-year-old woman seducing a man at a bar). Then I left.
Much to my amazement (my sexy whisky voice had reached new levels of gruffness, so much so that I sounded like the male actor next to me) I got a recall. “They LOVE you. You’re down to the last two.” I have heard the LOVE line many times before, and I could see my agent racking up a tasty commission fee in her head.
But of course I went back. I showed the camera both sides of my profile again, and smiled at the director and the crew and I did another rendition of ‘How to seduce a nervous geek in 90 seconds’. I also quite unintentionally left them with the notion that I was gay. “I hope that was OK. Seducing men is really not my thing,” but this surprisingly raised a hearty laugh from everyone in the room. I left feeling good, patting myself on the back for marrying humour and seduction, and for once a lack of self-deprecation.
And then I just had to wait. “You’ll hear back on Tuesday afternoon.” Of course, two days is not a long time, but I became frantic.
Yesterday, I Hoovered the whole house and in the process sucked up two of my best pairs of knickers, drank four cups of coffee and started to imagine what it would feel like to have a cleaner (the money, oh the money if I pull this one off). I kept looking at the clock (Tuesday afternoon!) and felt quite frankly like I did when I popped one of my daughter’s Ritalin to see what it would actually do to me. I felt freakishly wired by 4.30pm (still Tuesday afternoon!) and couldn’t even reply to simple questions like “What’s for tea, mum?” I wanted to answer “Whisky?” because that was all that was on my mind.
By 5.30pm I called my agent. “They really LOVE you.” she said. I felt like saying “I know, I know” (for I was speaking in my role as brazen whisky woman, but instead I replied “I need to know by the end of today. I have to arrange childcare for next week and I’ll need to employ a temporary cleaner, because I don’t think anyone in my house knows where the loo paper is kept.”
At 8.59am this morning (quite evidently NOT Tuesday afternoon!) I got a call from my agency. “I’m so sorry. You haven’t got the job.” Crash, bang, no damn loft ladder. No minor landscaping. No mini-breaks. No seeing my money with a C next to it rather than a D. No eyeing up Acne boots but buying Topshop instead (see, I’m almost a reverse adult now.)
And back to real life, and the fact that at 9.03am I was having to wave goodbye to the week of a working holiday, and hotels and free time and a foreign country, and the actual ability to confirm my family’s beliefs that I play a pretty lousy seductress. The one time I thought alcohol could actually save my family, it had let us down.
Now, before you think that I poured myself a large drink and called my husband at work to say “I’ve had enough,” I didn’t. The next hour went something like this.
Firstly, I talked to myself in the bathroom like a crazy. “OK, it’s very much Wednesday morning, and not Tuesday afternoon, and you have very most definitely not got the job, unless the chosen lead seductress breaks both legs and they can’t fly her out on Friday, which is highly unlikely.”
And after my talking to, I fished my toddler’s bottle of milk out of the loo, where my other son had just peed.
Then I ate a king size Snickers, knowing that my clear skin didn’t matter anymore.
I texted my husband and said “I’m really disappointed. Could you get me some pudding from Waitrose on your way home from work please?” He was very sweet and cheered me up immensely with his promise of a double serving just for me.
Then I walked out to my car and realised the front tyre had a puncture. Not what a seductress should have to deal with, I thought. Then the mechanic arrived, toothless and seemingly pantless judging from the expanse of waxen arse on display. I looked at my children and realised they were laughing. I started laughing and crying at the same time. Quite a talent, really, and one that I probably won’t be booked for in the future.