The first part is fine. I leave the theatre at 10.30am and it's not too busy. Every corner from Quay Street to Blackfriars Road is occupied by a Big Issue seller - respect to them but by the eighth time I've been asked to purchase one, I'm getting a bit pissed off with it. They aren't intrusive, just abundant, so I smile and shake my head slightly.
I get my bearings and find the Arndale Centre. I have no spare cash but my observation techniques are finely tuned and are free of charge. I've been looking forward to this two-hour window for a while, especially after being cooped up in an office for the duration of the school summer holidays.
But I can't find a single bench anywhere. There are a couple of two-seaters at the bottom of the escalators leading to the food hall but there is someone already sat there, tucking into a wrap of some description. They don't look like they are ready for moving any time soon either.
Everything here is alien. When did it change so much? Why did it change so much?
I find a Starbucks with external seating but it is blowing a gale and there doesn't seem to be too many 'interesting characters' anywhere. I settle down inside with a coffee and start writing this blog post. Someone comments on my Filofax - I am scribbling away, searching for inspiration - and another comments on my t-shirt - Animal from The Muppets, a 'George at Asda' special. Perhaps the 'interesting people' are here after all and they are all just in disguise? Or maybe I am the interesting one?
I have been here the longest now. All the people who were sipping at their coffee when I came in have left to go about their business. Also, all the people who came in after me have supped up and moved on. I remain static - marking time until my two hours are up. I imagine myself in a scene in a film - you know the sort, where the central character is moving slowly and everything around him/her is moving so fast that it's blurred. Do I want something unusual to happen? I am not sure. It feels very strange to be able to kick back and write (in longhand) for a change; away from technology, not even hearing other conversations - they are just a murmur at the same level as the noise of the coffee machine. One cancels the other out.
I snap back to reality - my time is up. It is time to move on and pick Jake up. I allow myself a few minutes to wonder what he has been doing. Whatever happens today, it will have been an experience for him. I haven't wanted to think about his audition either positively or negatively so's not to tempt fate. It is the sort of opportunity I wish I'd had - well, I did in a way through the local Am-Dram company and my dance school - but he is so full of enthusiasm for wanting to experience life "to the max", who am I to stand in his way?
*He didn't get a part. He isn't disappointed though. He says he loved everything that happened today and wants to try out for more roles..