After a few years with a company, you start to wonder what it will feel like when you go through the same old routine for the last time. I remember when I’d worked for the company about four years, I held my pass up to the electronic sensor pad one morning and, as the barrier rose to let me in for another day at work, I thought “I must have done this a thousand times.”
Now I’ve done it about three thousand times. Tomorrow, I shall drive to work as usual, take the second exit off the big roundabout, third exit off the small roundabout and then first right. On my left will be a light-brown hut where a ‘little man’ used to check people in and out of the premises. (It was never a big man in those huts, was it?) But the hut has been empty for years. Driver’s window down, seatbelt off, inside pocket, wallet with security pass to the sensor, the red-and-white barrier tilts upwards and the car moves forward, wallet back in pocket, sharp right into staff car park. It’s all automatic. I suspect that, tomorrow, it will still be automatic and it will not feel special. I’ll let you know.
On Friday, it was my leaving do. Lunch with a dozen colleagues in an Italian restaurant. Good company, good food, good wine. Two bottles of champagne sabraged. When I said that, on the first day of not going in to work, I would write down various plans and ideas and arrange them on the kitchen table, my inventive colleagues decided to help and they each wrote a suggestion on the backs of the bloody-awful jokes we got in our Christmas crackers. I have not looked at them yet but have saved them in an envelope for the big day.