I bike down the regents canal from East London to Macmillan books to meet an editor. But before all of this I had to negotiate the RECEPTION AREA! Q suspense music.
I spend five minutes pressing the buzzer - five minutes- until the receptionist says through a tanoid “the door is open”. ! So I pull it unsuccessfully. The tanoid again “push!”. I push and enter the building. The poet has entered the publishers! The door swings back into the face of an oncoming delivery man. Everything’s okay I tell myself.
There’s two of them. They have their head sets on I don’t know which one spoke to me on the tanoid? If I don’t speak to the one who spoke to me will she feel offended? One receptionist is white and one black . The white receptionist is closer. But if I go to the white receptionist will the black receptionist think I am ignoring her and will the white receptionist
think, typical they always come to me. She might have a black boyfriend and constantly undermine her black colleague about how she is obviously not racist cause she is going out with a black man. Bit like my saying I am not sexist cause I am going out with a woman. And if I go to the black woman she might think that I am just trying to undermine her because she is a “sister”. She would probably say don’t call me a sister I don’t know you. And she’s right, she doesn’t. And anyway, I wouldn’t call her a sister anyway. Maybe I should say to her hey your not my sister you know.
I take another step forward towards THE RECEPTION. I wipe my forehead with my
forearm. I am in front of the reception desk. I am looking from one receptionist to the other, the sweat from my forehead flys through the air. I feel like I am in Apocolypse Now.. I position myself in the middle of them on the desk and split the odds. I finally get the words out “Gabby Morgan Chidlrens editor. Me See. Gaby.”. They Look at each other then they look at me. The receptionist (the white one) pushes some buttons speaks into her microphone. “Please take a seat” says the black one with pity. I lunge onto the seat and contemplate the water cooler but it seems such a long long way away.
After what seems like an age, five minutes Gaby arrives and we go into her office. “The last time we met I was taking time off for her”. She pointed to a picture of a beaming five year old girl on her office. Five years ago I approached Gaby with an idea for a book and here I am again. But there’s a childrens book that I am itching to write and Gaby was receptive to the idea. It was an enjoyable meeting. Now it’s down to the enjoyable part – the writing. I saunter out of the office and fly past the reception. I imagine the receptionist turning to the other and saying “typical they only want us when they arriving and then they just leave”.