Who are you and why am I here? Adelaide – 7th January 2018

In the great British tradition of 2000AD, I’ll try and use song titles and lyrics for all post titles.  The previous post was from the Subhumans and this one is from Void.  I can hum them to you.  I often think about this lyric when I’m in situations deserving of its use.  One time I shouted it out whilst Huggy Bear were playing a show at the Joiners in Southampton, UK.  It was a little unfair and the band were excellent.  But they looked so angry and upset with everything that I began to question their screaming.  Better to hand out lyric sheets and/or talk to the audience in between songs.  Maybe they did this, I don’t recall.  I was more than likely drunk too.  It was quite common.

Through some twisting and plotting, I have found myself in Adelaide.  I have been here for 4 months now, with about 10 weeks to go before I exit.  It is unlikely that I will ever come back though I have grown accustomed to the quirks of this little city.  Occasionally I even enjoy it here.

The precarious nature of IT work has led me here.  I was re-employed by my old employer in Sydney, who will remain nameless, and I’m sure at some point soon will likely become nameless too.  When I was re-hired I spent about a month doing nothing whilst accesses were being requested and approved.  Soon after I quickly learned everything I needed to know, which was very little indeed.  The pervading atmosphere in the office was overwhelmingly negative due to constant re-structuring of offices and jobs moving overseas to cheaper countries.  I saw no reason to pursue any kind of career here again and, in fact when I had previously been retrenched from this company I had sworn off ever doing this type of work again.  I became a barista soon after that – an immensely rewarding job and proof that after 18 years in one industry, there were still other options available to me.  However, I got word of this new position and it made sense at the time to re-introduce myself to office life.  I’m sure in many jobs that work is rewarding and innovative but those two adjectives had long left this company in everything except their promotional literature.

So it was, my wife Amy and I worked hard and saved money and made a plan to move to Chiang Rai in Thailand – her hometown.  After having travelled extensively in Asia I have dreamed of living there and Chiang Rai is of a similar size to the small town I grew up in in England.  It also felt like time to leave the fresh high-rises and high rising rents of Sydney, where we had considered starting our own business but thought that the risk was too much.  It’s probable we would have been successful but the risk of failure would have meant losing everything.  With the money we had saved, we could build a house and start some small simple business in Thailand.  We even toyed with the idea of growing and selling our own fruit and vegetables and generally taking it easy.  That was the dream!  The simple life.  Let’s aim for it anyway.

After a year or so the restructuring at the company meant the job I was employed to do was going to move to Adelaide.  By this time we had worked out our plan of action and this sudden change threw a slight spanner in the works.  In August 2017 we had planned to relocate Amy and everything we owned, including our 2 cats, back to Chiang Rai.  I would continue working and saving as much as possible until it was deemed I had enough money to give us a comfortable cushion to survive on.  Amy and the cats would live with her parents whilst she employed someone to build our house.

With the sudden announcement of the restructure I thought, fuck it, I might as well leave now too and head to Thailand too.  Sometimes it’s better just to jump right in rather than think about things too much.  The other possibility, and the one we ended up doing, was if there was a chance for me to relocate to Adelaide and continue earning some precious Aussie dollars.  In the end, it was an easy sell.  I got a two week holiday of sorts in Thailand before returning to Sydney and driving myself across the map to Adelaide.

The new plan was to work until the house was built and then pack up and go.  Leaving Amy in Thailand wasn’t too much of an emotional problem until we had to say goodbye at the airport.  Luckily, just as her lip was starting to tremble and a tear was forming in my eye, she forced herself to turn around and walk away. I felt honoured and relieved.  To have such an impact on someone’s life is an honour.  The relief is that we are usually pragmatic people and that we would continue to be, knowing that we could survive this temporary adjustment.  So off I strode looking forward to reading books on the journey ‘home’.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, as I have gotten older I have found it possible to sleep on aeroplanes and not much reading was done.  Occasional pangs of grief struck me too.  Although extremely used to being alone and having gained much self-confidence, I found myself unsure of myself for brief moments.  The business of sorting things out soon distracted me further though.  The ease of communication these days also helps significantly.  Anyway, I was about to embark on an adventure.

After staying a couple of nights at a friend’s house I was taking my time driving across this part of Australia.  Four days for what can be done in one if you push it.  But what’s the hurry?  I enjoyed the journey although there was little to see for much of the way.  I guess that made it a little more special when there was something to see, such as a river or fields of flowering crops.  I blasted the stereo as I blasted the car not always realising I was hitting 140 km/h on the long straight roads everywhere.  I rarely needed a map as there were so few options for deviation.  I stayed in a couple of provincial towns along the way and they would likely be the option we choose should we return to Australia later in life.  Finally, I closed in on Adelaide.

I had never been to Adelaide before and hadn’t been given much idea of what to expect.  I had been told that I would love it and that there was much less traffic than Sydney.  That all sounded positive.

I had pre-booked a room at a caravan park near my new office.  Although the company would have paid for it, I didn’t need any fancy hotel to stay in when I got here.  The room was fine, though had no windows at all and just clean brick walls.  The upside of this was that it encouraged me to find a shared place to live as quickly as possible.  I headed to the office on the day after I arrived and got acquainted with my new work environment, which I quickly learned was the same as the old.  In fact, I later discovered that this new place was even more dysfunctional than my old one.  I was able to react positively to this though because I had nothing really invested.  They (the company) needed me more than I needed them.

The work I do is shift based.  Two days, then two nights, followed by four days off, which usually turns out to be 3 days off because the day after the last night shift is usually wandered through in a zombie-like daze.  Sleep is erratic and can last for one hour to 18 hours and by the time you are recovered it’s back to work.

Suburban Adelaide

The difference between Sydney and Adelaide is significant.  I was mystified to find shops closed in the evening and on Sundays or Mondays in Adelaide.  The lack of decent coffee was also a struggle.  Again, the situation actually benefits me well as I am trying to save as much money as possible and don’t want to be spending my time trying to make new acquaintances and using money that that can involve too.  I’ll just sit here, go to work, read books and save money.

Unbelievably, I have stopped drinking for now too.  Adding alcohol on top of shift work really messes you around so taking this opportunity to dry up for a while.  This will definitely not last once I’m in Thailand, though I’m hoping to at least minimize the caffeine addiction as a balance.

I lay in bed slipping in and out of consciousness and thrill to marvellous ideas I have to write about here.  Mostly forgotten by the time I am awake and sitting somewhere to write this.

 

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