Thursday, 5 January 2012

What if there is no stream?

Always there is some larger struggle, ideologically, physically, emotionally. This week I despair at the low pay and unlikely nature of current job. Three years ago I kicked against an average income and full-time hours because it hurt my need for respite and writing. I had a thirst for time on my hands.

This week I have felt ignored by my employers who largely leave me to my own devices in an otherwise empty building. I have complained, loudly, to everyone I know that I wish to feel busy, used up by the end of the working day so that I may feel a sense of accomplishment and drop exhausted into an ordinary civilian slumber at the close of the day. Grizelda, who is wise in unexpected moments, told me to shut up and use any available time for working on my own projects like PAN or my manuscript. She said this job, apart from only just covering the rent, is ideal for my needs.

I wonder if she is right. Apart from the appallingly low pay* I seem to be swimming against an idea that was previously my ideal. Brushing my hair this morning, it was at midday but I wanted to give the impression I was more organised than I am, I remembered a horse rider I admired when I was ten years old. Her name was Glenda, she was a grown up with a firefighter husband, babies in prams and a beautiful black horse who was vicious and wily. I was forbidden from entering his stable without supervision. Glenda used to waltz in and out of this stable without caution or alarm, drape her arm across the beast and laugh if he turned from his hay net to make a face and bare his enormous teeth at her. Unlike the stable supervisor Glenda had no trouble handling this horse at all**.

Glenda had long red hair, hanging thick and heavy to nearly her waist. She always, every day, wore her hair in plaits. I longed to make such a firm decision as Glenda seemed to, to decide on one way of wearing my hair and stick to it every day for the rest of my life. I wore my hair in plaits for three days then became bored and attempted a Princess Leia style before wishing it all chopped off like a lady in a Scott F Fitzgerald novel. I was an annoyingly precocious reader.

It bothered me that I was unable to take one thing and absorb it seamlessly into my way of being. I felt always to be swimming upstream, from the way I brushed my teeth to which breakfast cereal I preferred in the mornings. People I admired seemed to be people of habit, resolute in their ways and this was accepted if not admired in them. I struggled to make decisions about everything, final decisions, to form habits, routines, things I always preferred or did or said. My mother had definite habits, sitting on a series of strange ergonomic stools with a dog at her feet as she wrote her latest thesis. My father would spend days doing boring chores, lawns, gardens, cleaning, organising, then sit exhausted and watch a bad movie on television before suddenly taking up a pencil and beginning all over again the extravagant and immersive experience of designing and building something beautiful from scratch.

I change my mind from moment to moment, any long-term decision is likely to be discarded five minutes after its declaration. I seem unable to choose a single goal or way of being and working resolutely towards its completion. My existence feels more fluid than it ought to, water running over everybody else's levels, never really settling always wanting to move on, down, forward and assault the land mass with arched innumerable lashes.

I wanted a part-time job so that I would have time. I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I'm tired of being miserable now. Also there didn't really seem to be a point to this post, other than the quick expulsion of several loosely connected thoughts. Perhaps I am working something out.

*On being offered this job I clumsily negotiated for a higher rate of pay. After being told I was successful in my bid to be paid at a higher rate they informed me I would be working five less hours a week than the previous employee thus ending up with even less in hand than I thought I would be. Fuckers.

**Until the moment of his tragic death when she quite understandably entirely lost her shit and did not get it back for quite some time.

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