I’m at work. I should be focusing on the job, but a story’s coming. No, not that way! Although… when I think of it… it’s not that different sometimes. It’s certainly as irresistible. A recent day is fairly typical (although obviously some details will vary).

My first alarm goes off and the cat crawls on my neck for some pampering. After twenty minutes, just as he’s settling to sleep curled up against me, the second alarm goes off and I get up. I head for the bathroom, then downstairs and breakfast (feline first, of course). Back up to the bathroom and wash. Dress, check I’ve got everything, attach my namebadge and go back downstairs. Give the cat a small handful of treats to distract him from the opening door (works every time so far). Set off for work.

On the way, the voices start. Describing how they’re feeling, what they’re doing, where they are. Sharing their hopes and dreams. Not now, I’m going to work! Come back later. When I can write it down.

As soon as I get to work I start the computer system backup. While it’s running, I make a cup of tea and then add new clinics to our patient management system so the reception staff can book appointments for people eight weeks from now. No. When I said come back later, I didn’t mean in the middle of the morning! Go away you talkative people!

Next is checking the clinics for two and four weeks out against our timetable, in case there have been any changes. I mean it. Later. After work.

Right, let’s make a list of the incoming cheques for the manager to bank later this week and attach the cheques. Check the stationery and order more. Sort… the… post. Look. Will you lot just give over! I’m trying to work here.

I need to make sure we’ve got everybody’s size right before ordering the new uniform blouses. Oh, and go and change the toner in one of the printers downstairs. No, now is not a better time, just because I’m not looking at the computer screen.

Copy the applications for the job we’ve been advertising. No, not now either.

Finally, frank any outgoing mail that needs it and take it with me at the end of my working day. I’ll be walking past a postbox, so I might as well. Fine. But don’t expect me to remember this by the time I get home.

I walk through the door, get changed and feed the cat. Then I sit down and what do you know? Not a voice. Nary a blessed one. OK, you wanted to talk. So talk. Come on. Don’t be shy, now of all times. While waiting I write what I remember of their nagging throughout the day. Fine then. Don’t talk. But don’t go all verbal diarrhoea at me at work tomorrow. I gave you your chance.

Sometimes the reminder works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I can see them there. Sitting sulking at the back of my head. A bit like cats, really. Want your attention when they want it, not when you’re able to give it. And then act all aloof when you’re free. Oh well. It’ll give me a chance to get on with some of the other stuff I’ve got to do. Like the housework. How long is it since I did any of that again?