Has the City captured my heart? It's a shoe-in

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"Look, just drop it, you're driving me insane," I tell my friend Jane for the umpteenth time.

"Look, just drop it, you're driving me insane," I tell my friend Jane for the umpteenth time.

We're holed up in one of those underground City bars with snug wood-panelled alcoves, partly because all the bright, pavement-level ones with good wine, pale wood and lots of chrome are full, and also because Jane believes she has Something Very Important to say to me.

"No, I'm not going to drop it," Jane replies, a dangerous flash in her eyes. With a sinking heart, I realise she means it. It's going to be a long evening. We might as well order another bottle now. "Yes, more wine," Jane goes on, "and, no, I'm certainly not going to drop it, not until..."

"... Until I lie on the floor, screaming, 'Enough! Enough! Enough! I'll tell you anything you want to know,' perhaps?" I say, but Jane just frowns.

"Until I get those dangerous little whispers in your head to go away," she hisses at me. I laugh, until I realise she isn't joining in.

Oh, dear God, I think, she actually believes this nonsense. Still, I suppose I only have myself to blame for Jane's new crusade. Over drinks last week, I foolishly admitted I wasn't sure I wanted to stay in the City forever; maybe even said the charms of the trading floor were beginning to fade.

Sadly for me, Jane had just decided the opposite - only about corporate finance - after years of resistance.

"Earth to Jane," I say. "This is me, remember, a real person. I'm not some fictional nutcase like Ally McBeal, you know. I've never heard voices. I don't have dangerous little whispers in my head."

Jane makes a noise halfway between a sigh and a harrumph. "Fine," she says. "If it makes you happier, we'll call them 'nagging doubts' instead. But they still need to be sorted out."

I give up. My best friend has a gift for giving advice and she's not going to stint on the present-giving now. All I can do is sit back, guzzle my Chilean red, and look down at my toes and forward to the next time Jane has to draw breath.

I look up to find her eyeing me curiously. "Well, go on then," I say impatiently, "let's get it over with."

Jane makes a softer noise that's definitely more sigh than harrumph. "I do know I'm being a bossy old cow, you know," she says. "I'm just worried you'll do something impulsive, like resigning, and then you'd regret it and it'd be too late. That's all."

I'm about to protest, then I remember how often I've thought about throwing the phones down, standing up and shouting: "That's it. I've had enough." I close my mouth.

"Anyway," Jane continues, "I wanted to point out how much you'd miss the City.

"Where on earth would you find another job where you earn loads of money doing something that isn't half as complicated as the jargon makes it seem? You'd be mad to throw that away."

"You think I'm insane anyway," I say. "You know, 'dangerous little voices' and all that." I gaze down at my feet again.

Jane smiles and says: "You're obviously giving it some thought. I'm glad."

So it's probably as well I don't let her know what I'm actually thinking is: "What lovely, lovely shoes."

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