15 November 2010


Ten years ago, not quite today but just about this week, I got a call on my disgusting, clunky analogue mobile phone. Even back then that piece of junk was out of date. But what to do? I was broke and out of work.

I'd supplemented my dole playing pub gigs with The Worst Band In The World™ but in the end the grief (and the constant threat of electrocution on stage) wasn't worth the money. I'd attended a few job interviews, done aptitude tests, checked in with the temp agencies. When the social welfare people called me to an interview and asked if I thought I'd be have a job within six months time I ticked 'yes'. Trying to be positive I guess.

I'd been for a job interview not long before. In all I'd been interviewed three times for this job. Plus a pretty grueling aptitude test. Two days after the interview the familiar envelope came, an equally familiar "thanks but no thanks" note nestled within. I felt philosophical. I lived above a pub. Though I wasn't drinking much at the time, I decided to pop down below for a pint.

Down there, I met a friend of mine, who worked in the same place that had just rejected my application. AGAIN. He asked me had there been any developments on the job front; I had to tell him the sorry news. My friend raised an eyebrow and said, "Do you know they're advertising the same jobs again in today's paper?" It sounded crazy but I looked and he was right.

It was four o'clock. The place (and their personnel office) was about twenty minutes walk from where we were, and it closed at five. My friend offered to give me a lift in but instead I just hopped on my bike, called in to the personnel office, and filled out yet another application form. By now I could have done it in my sleep.

The following day my phone rang. They offered me a job. And now here I am, ten years later. Guess I must be doing something right. :-)

05 November 2010


It seemed like a good idea at the time. Meet up in a strange city, where we didn't know any other people. Nobody to start whispering about us going around the place arm in arm. And for the first couple of days it was a good idea. The cracks that appeared had to do with each of us individuating a bit, feeling out our boundaries. That had to happen. The cracks had to appear.

First I would forget things. Then you would forget things. We didn't become hostile, there was no open conflict, just a gradual giving up on each other. By the time it came to part ways and head each to our respective homes, the hugs had grown half-hearted. And then after the final hug we ended up just clasping hands, very tightly. That was unplanned. It came from whatever part in each of us that didn't want to let go. All the more reason to let go, to have to let go.

Neither of us knew other people there, but you just happened to get approached a lot. That was fair enough; you were prettier. I'd go off and talk to some bunch I'd just met then, nice enough people. You didn't expect me to hang around watching some guy drool all over you, did you? Neither did I expect you to give me exclusive attention. You're not like that, you never have been, I didn't assume that was going to be the case. But after putting myself out, after going some distance, making some time to spend with you -- I didn't really expect exclusivity, that wasn't it. Some kind of recognition, I don't know. If I'd known what it was I really wanted, there wouldn't have been any problem.

So I didn't get mad. I didn't start hating you. After everything, that would still be hard to do. Something just started to grow inside me from then on. Not quite resentment, though it started with resentment. Not quite feeling abandoned or hard done by. Just a gradual feeling of -- I try to call it independence. Keeping some kind of stake of emotional independence. Not to get too caught up in someone, no matter how much you like them. Then there was wariness because we hadn't seen each other in so long. What were you going to be like after 20 years? I mean, you were good. You were okay. You were and are still the same nice, unique person.

It was no great calamity. I suppose it took that week to realise that we've moved on as people and that things are never going to be the same. Nothing new there. What tugged about it, what still tugs about it, is the way something small would happen - some look on your face, some attitude, some conjunction of time and place every now and again - and with it would come that feeling of deep togetherness. Something I'd never expected. It hadn't been like that in the old days. Things have changed.