Three in the afternoon. The low winter sun is filtering through the blinds of the spare room where I work. The day is... quiet. Long. I am supposed to be working - and indeed have been working - but I have become slower and slower, like a wind-up toy whose battery is running out.
I realise that what is lacking for me today, in fact what is lacking for me most days, is a sounding board. I have no-one to talk to. Because I work from home at this new venture of mine, and because today I have no meetings, no networking and no delivering, and because I am not even picking up Anna-mouse from school (to give me, ironically, more time to work in order to save me from ploughing on into the small hours tonight), I have not spoken to a living soul since I dropped her off this morning.
If I had an office elsewhere, or if I worked with others, or if I had a partner perhaps, this would not be so.
It's difficult, being my own sounding board. It's difficult encouraging myself to go on. Today is Friday, and I'd like to curl up in front of the television under Anna-mouse's blue and white checked blanket. Or, I'd like to take a break and meet someone in the kitchen as I wait for the kettle to boil. We'd have, you know, an inconsequential chat, one which would take my mind off the enormous task at hand and return me to it refreshed and re-energised, simply because I have engaged for a few moments with another human being.
Or, I'd like to talk with someone who knows what I'm talking about. Have that kind of conversation where I can savour the tiniest detail of my project with another, rolling the ideas around like fine wine to extract the slightest nuance of flavour. I'd like to sound off my ideas, laugh at my absurdities and check my decisions against someone who would say yes, that's right, or no, think of it another way...
I'm sure self-employed people the world over suffer from this self-imposed solitariness. And to go the whole way with the picture, it is made worse for me knowing that that person is not going to appear at the end of the working day, either.
There won't be anyone in the kitchen making tea tonight but me.