Wednesday, 25 July 2012

News about your ticket

It's a daily ritual, the last thing I do before I go into the office and turn on my work head for the day. Each morning I reach into the side pocket of my oversized satchel and pull out my phone to check for any messages.

Today there are three small symbols at the top; one telling me I've missed a call from Philip, another saying there's a voice-mail message. I guess that's probably from Philip too, so I make a mental note to listen to it once I'm at my desk.

The third symbol is the small envelope that tells me I've got an e-mail, I click it open as I step into the lift and see that it's from The National Lottery. In the subject heading are just four words:

"News about your ticket!"

When you buy your lottery tickets on line, there's an e-mail announcement each time you win - no matter how small the prize. And it's surprising how often that happens if you buy a ticket every week. So I smile in recognition at the message. I know I can't check the outcome at work, our web administrators would never allow access to a gambling site, but I'm not too bothered, it's never been more than £10 before. I don't expect it to be any more today, so I make a mental note to check when I get home again, then I step out of the lift and head for my desk, calling out a slightly more cheerful than usual "good morning!" to everyone as I pass. After all, you never know...

It's a busy day, and my morning passes in a whirl of e-mails and meetings, checking papers and chatting things through. It barely seems like five minutes later when my phone rings, and I realise it's almost lunchtime.

"Is it five past twelve?" teases one of my colleagues. They all know that a phone call at 12.05 is almost always from Philip. It's another daily ritual and they all know how pleased I am to take the call, even when I'm in the middle of a work conversation; even when all I can do is tell him I'll call him back.

After I put the phone down again, I realise I've forgotten to tell him that we might be millionaires. For the next half hour, while I'm gazing at my computer screen, I think about how I'd tell him. I imagine the excitement, the wild schemes we'd dream up, the plans we'd make for spending our fortune. I look around the office and wonder what I'd say to colleagues here. A small part of me wonders if I'd even come back to tell them.

A while later, my daughter texts me, asking when I'm coming to visit. I can't help but think of all the time I could spend with her and my grandchildren if I were really a millionaire. From there, my mind wanders to gifts for my family, houses for sale, a week in a Paris apartment with friends, and a year travelling the world to watch every Grand Prix. I answer an e-mail and think about the sort of job I'd do if I didn't have to worry about paying the mortgage.

As the day passes, thoughts of riches recede. I crawl home along an M25 already made sticky by Olympics traffic without even imagining the red Ferrari that would make the journey more bearable. I get home and potter about; putting on the washing, hoovering up the cat fur. I carry the empty bottles out to the car for recycling, without a thought for the fleet of staff every millionaire employs. I walk out into the garden and feel the warmth in the late evening sunshine, without even comparing it to the Greek island villa my new wealth might acquire.

It's not until after dinner that I remember the e-mail. I log in, and in no time at all know my fate. With a wry smile I acknowledge that £8 won't quite get me a Ferrari. It won't quite change my life.

Then I look over at Philip, sitting on the sofa in his shorts and vest, swearing at the news about the Olympics, typing away madly on his laptop.

He looks across and smiles, "Gin and tonic?" he offers. And then it's only a very small step to realising that my life really doesn't need changing.

16 comments:

Philip said...

Ahahaha! Brilliant. Cheeky, but brilliant.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

You've already got riches.....and 8pounds.

Pat said...

I'm sure you are right. How wise of you to realise it.

Nessa Roo said...

I always dream of winning the lotto, though I never play. I think that's probably the only thing keeping me from winning.

Bill Dameron said...

Gin and Tonic? Now I know we are completely compatible. One day, Sharon, you and me, we'll win the lotto and spend all day writing...and visiting grandchildren, but I'm not quite there yet.

Shea Goff said...

Love it!

Jennifer said...

This is a great one.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Isn't that a wonderful realization? When we are happy with our lives we don't need material wealth. However, that does not stop my hubby and me from playing the lottery regularly.

Mrs Smith said...

Perfect.

The Elephant's Child said...

How truly lovely. Thank you for the reminder.

The Idiot Gardener said...

The most I've won was £3.20 on the Euroracket one. I'd like to think that winning it wouldn't really change me; I'd just have money!!!

I know a bloke, now in his early 70s, who made a fortune years ago by selling a publishing company. Since then he's invested in property around the world, and has a knack of getting and getting out at the right time. He's worth a few million, but you'd never guess it.

The other day we'd been to a event and stayed the night in a local hotel. I offered him a lift home the next morning, and as we got near his house he asked me to stop so he could get a paper. When he climed out of the pickup he suddenly disappeared. I thought the silly bastard had fallen, but he popped up a second later. He held out his hand to reveal two coins, and through the broadest smile I'd seen off him for a while he crowed, "Look! Seven pence, all for doing fuck all!"

I'd like to think I'd be a bit like that!

Young at Heart said...

how lovely....how lucky...

DPR said...

As i read this I was thinking that you already have everything you need. And then the last bit confirmed that you know that. I laughed at the thought of Phillip swearing about the Olympics in his shorts and vest!Then he shows his loving side - gin and tonic? Marvellous.

Technogran said...

This is such a lovely post because how many of us can relate to that elation as we run through our minds our plans if we were lucky enough to win the lottery, the change of lifestyle, the new house, perhaps a mobile home so we could go on holiday at the drop of a hat, the new clothes, only to have our plans dashed on checking the ticket. Mind you, if they began a booby prize for anyone who didn't even cross off one number, I'd already be a multi-millionaire.

Linda Myers said...

Lovely! Thanks.

Nari said...

That brought tears to my eyes. With my own Hubby passed away, I realize how much a regular plain old life is worth.

And...I have to confess that every time I have ever dreamt of winning large sums of money, it always ends in a nightmare.