In my daydreams I have rehearsed my leaving speech a dozen times. I suppose its like attending your own funeral, you hope to discover that you’ll be missed and that people really do rate you.
In my daydreams, Bernard is weeping uncontrollably at the thought of his protégé being released, while Brenda has an ‘Ernie Wise’ moment as she sees her potential double act collapse before it has begun. My team are fawning at my feet, John three clutching my leg, begging me not to leave, but it is too late, the crematorium curtains are being drawn to the sound of a Springsteen ballad. I’m falling behind.
The reality is much more sobering. Thrush, Tizzy and Joan always make sure that they are off the phones and ready for these events. Everyone else is carrying on like nothing is happening, pretending that the call they are taking is far more important than the maudlin nonsense going on around them, pushing their ear-piece closer to their head to drown out the splattering of applause as a card is passed to me.
I open it sheepishly and read the “Good Luck”, “Best Wishes” and “Don’t come back” messages made by people I don’t know. The people I do know seem to be suspiciously in the same handwriting as if it was dashed around on the last minute.
“Speech. Speech!” Thrush chants.
I smile and quote, “This is it. This time I know it’s the real thing…” you can always depend on Dannii to capture the essence of moments like these.
There’s a pair of Dilbert socks and a Six Thinking Hats book given to me by Martin on behalf of the other Team Managers (Ian’s idea apparently). Brenda looks like she wants to be somewhere else as I thank them, “It’s not the work; it’s the people I’ll miss.” I resist the urge to add, “taking the piss out of,” and reach a rousing end, “thank you for the good times.”
I pack away my headset in its velvet-lined box for the very last time.
“I’m made up for you, I really am made up for you,” Thrush taps me on the shoulder.
“I know you are. You all are John. Thank you.” I say.
Thanks for all your comments, but its time to get this show on the road, until then it is, “Adieu. Adieu. Remember me.”