- Engaging the postman in conversation. Posties are nice chaps and will generally reciprocate. Partly, I think this just comes from the relief that you're not yet another slavering animal, come to chew an arbitrary piece of their flesh. (My wife can be pretty crabby in the mornings, but I think he meant pets). One of the pleasures redundant man misses most are those quality moments of 'slagging off', a cathartic process whereby one colleague moans on at length about another (or better still, superior) while the rest wait eagerly for the conch to be passed, hugging themselves and each other with vicarious glee. It takes very little encouragement, I've found, to get postie to slag off his bosses, the Royal Mail, at length and in colourful detail. Very little indeed.
- Housework is a new and exhilarating novelty. Just having the time to stack the dishwasher thoughtfully, with all the plates going in order of size from right to left, and tupperware boxes set firm in a valid cranny, instead of upside-down and full of water at the end. Also, such things as being arsed to select the right hoover nozzle for the right job. Who knew that slotted little bevel-ended jobbie could vamoose stairwell and skirting board dust so well? Those washing machine programs are no longer baffling, druidic glyphs but marvels of non-fast coloured science. It was a bit like decoding the Stargate wheel at times, but I got there.
- Engaging in and writing up pointless reviews about trivial items. More about this later. I started with the kitchen gadgets (of which I assure you there are many) and then, as a way of mitigating boredom in the many supermarkets I've been forced to visit by an emancipated wife, toilet hand-dryers. The Dyson airblade pisses it by a mile at time of going to press. But, as I said, more of this soon. I will post the results after at the conclusion of my comprehensive round-up. I'm sure I missed out the Cannon Air Jet in Sainsburys.
- Off-peak activities. Shopping, as already mentioned . Ahh, the luxury of sauntering around an empty-aisled Tesco at half-ten on a Tuesday morning, instead of re-enacting Bannockburn at the deli counter on a Friday evening. There's a driving range nearby and that could prove useful for a leisurely Wednesday afternoon swing, where you might stand a chance of actually being able to see which of the many balls flying through the air is yours. Finally, that miserable dawn swim at the baths, then going in to work smelling of chlorine with your pubes in a squeaky knot? Sack that. Half-eleven on a Monday. Quiet as you like. Me and one old guy with white back hair who could hold his breath like a porpoise.
These are just a few of the benefits of career upheaval and imminent loss of socio-economic direction. Come on, people. Let's stick it to the man...