Wednesday, April 23, 2008

False Contentment

After a self imposed hiatus from blogging, I find myself once more hunched over my work PC tapping away speedily on the crumb covered and tea stained keyboard which, rather distractingly I realise I must clean it sooner rather than later. Since my last sporadic enteries in the latter part of 2007 I have been somewhat uninspired and uninterested in pouring my angst, frustration and trivialities out into the public domain, even if these words are seldom read by others. Part of this reluctance to write came from a slightly drunken and unconsidered thought I had as I was laying in bed one night and re-evaluated my existence as a blogger. I decided to tred enthusiastically into the world of music blogging- leaving aside my usual tales of narcissism and foolhardy behaviour for a more interesting subject matter. After only several posts, my enthusiasm waned. What was the point? There are literally hundreds of far superior blogs out there doing a thoroughly decent and more dedicated job than I, and more importantly; it had become too much of a burden to keep it up to date. I felt slightly out of my depth so I quit. Since then I have remained somewhat idle. This lack of interest was partly due to the fact that over the past few months I have found myself in the relatively unusual position of having an abundance of work to do and in the even more unfamiliar arena of contentment, or at least I think it was contentment? Perhaps my malaise had simply reached a tolerable level? Why? I'll try and explain:

These woes commenced almost immediately after Christmas (the time of my last blog entry) upon my return to work after an extended and most pleasant Festive break; the enjoyment of having nearly two weeks away from the office, gorging myself with food and drink and watching a vast array of varying quality television programs was eradicated within a few short minutes of me returning to work. Within a matter of an hour I was close to tears. Within two hours I was close to lobbing my computer out from the window and joyfully skipping out of the office, explaining to my shocked looking colleagues, that I no longer had the desire to remain in the pitiful job, and that I bid them all adieu and have a good life, laughing maniacally at their requests of me to reconsider and at the looks of disbelief as they peer out of the window to see where my computer had landed. Naturally I did no such thing, and instead just bottled up my frustration. Mulling it over it now with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear to me that I made the wrong decision. Granted I would be broke beyond all recognition, as despite the relatively good pay I earn, I struggle financially come the end of each month and embarrassingly in the more desperate of months, it is usually with the fist week! However I would at the very least be a little happier than I am at present. I have of course had one other long term and equally as depressing job, which after over three years of gainful employment I quit on a whim. Of course, I had to give my notice, which was four weeks, rather than ignominiously quitting and walking out with my head held high in an emotional charged moment of clarity. That blessed day I hit the street after handing in my security pass and receiving a few emotional and fond farewells; ranks fairly high in my all time greatest feelings list; sandwiched between scoring and injury time goal for the school football team and that time when having spent my last penny the night before on a pricey drinking spree whilst on a University trip to London, finding 10p and on the street (yes- exactly like Charlie Bucket) and winning £5 on the 'Naughts and Crosses' fruit machine in the Trocadero thus enabling me to buy a sumptuous meal at the Burger King located in Piccadilly Circus and a bus home to my modest student accommodation from Liverpool City centre.

As the office was operating at a snail’s pace I had the time and the inclination to scour the job vacancies pages on all the neighbouring Council’s. This was a fruitless exercise- not surprisingly no one was advertising jobs over the Christmas period. This left me feeling even more disheartened and disillusioned and I left work at the earliest opportunity (3pm) without saying so much as a ‘goodbye’ to any of my colleagues.

This feeling of sheer and utter despair forced my hand somewhat, and a mist the depressive stupor I somehow made a weary trek to an old haunt of mine, the local art and crafts shop and in a desperate attempt to put a halt to the laborious rut I have found myself entrenched in. I purchased several items quickly and hurried out of the shop to start my masterpieces.

I sat at my dining room table still in my work attire of shirt tie and trousers. I had removed my shoes and had since donned my faithful old slippers. I opened the new sketch book and stared blankly at the vastness of white that lay before me. This was no time to be faint hearted I told myself and took a slurp of tea. I decided that a pencil was possibly the best place to start, however it soon occurred to me that of the two pencils that I owned were extremely blunt. I set about looking for a pencil sharpener but to no avail. Un daunted I strode into the kitchen and returned with a medium sized knife and attempted to sharpen my instrument the old fashioned way. Alas, this only exacerbated the situation, so with a heavy heart I decided that I would forgo the use of graphite and instead go straight to the use of my mighty pen.

Removing the pen’s lid seemed more problematic that I had could of imagined, but with a firm twist the struggle ended and I came out victorious. Using an old envelope that had at some point contained a household utility bill, I tested the pen. True to form after some initial stiffness the ink flowed from the tip with grace leaving me somewhat relieved and I graciously thanked my lucky stars. I returned my attentions to the beautifully white, crisp piece of paper and recalled the pleasure I used to experience upon christening a new sketch pad and that in just about every new sketch book I have ever purchased, and there have been many; the first drawing had always been of a high caliber, guaranteed. Suddenly my bleak and pitiful dog’sbody existence ceased. An escape route was in view and all I had to do was produce the first in what would hopefully be a series of high caliber pieces of artwork. I think I banded the term ‘masterpiece’ with no sense of irony on several occasions.
That first day of drawing proved pretty fruitless in terms of finished artwork, but the ball was rolling and I felt invincible!

The next day at work I arrived with a newly found vigor and thought about drawing from most of the day when I was called into my manager’s office. Of course my first emotion upon receiving such a request was panic and my brain quickly went through all of my recent misdemeanors and fuck ups. I entered his office and closed the door behind me. I made small talk about football, which bought me some time- but he soon diverted the conversation back to the office. In a nutshell, he said, I was to be seconded over to another post within our department. I was intrigued, especially as he said that I would be doing the exact same job that I was currently doing only earning what would calculate to be an extra £200 a month until June when my colleague returned from her maternity leave. I was shocked to say the least and after going over the details I left his office feeling thoroughly satisfied with myself. After all my colleague did nothing all day! Not to say that she was lazy,; there was very little work for her to do! This was a win win situation for me and I decreed to my fellow workers that I was leaving early that day- which I promptly did. Instead of getting down to some drawing I decided to celebrate on my own, and continue to celebrate when Lisa arrived back from work, and moved my sketch pad and old faithful pen to one side.

My work continued exactly the same as it had been previously. The work was monotonous and uninspiring and I was sure that I was being asked to do even more tedious task than ever before, but shamefully I suppressed any of the emotions of bitterness and angst that I usually display in these situations and with a genuine smile I set about these tasks.

I lost the ambition therefore to write or even draw. I was relatively content with life. Sure it was depressing at times, but I just thought about the extra funds in my account and all of those CD’s and records I could buy. I considered finally entering into the Council’s lucrative pension scheme and made in roads into buying a house. I even went and looked at some 2nd hand cars!

Sadly, day by day and week by week, this contentment evaporated- but I continued to put a brave face on things. I had ceased looking for alternative employment as the with my wages, not to mention the flexi time and other Council perks was as good, if not better, than other jobs. I even contemplated sticking this job out even though I knew I wasn’t really happy but I was busy at work which kept my mind from wandering to much. I no longer felt as if I was entitled to be doing something better with my life.

Then the other week I was struck down with clarity! I was jolted back into my old happy-that-I’m-unhappy ways. I became me again! What was the catalyst for this spark on ingenuity that had broken down all the walls? Well the source of this inspiration took me by surprise too. I in all seriousness would not have expected it to have stemmed from such a low brow and contrived masterpiece of self awareness. The film of which I speak?

You, Me and Dupree!

Yes- You, Me and Dupree has saved my life! I have found my “ness” again. I am back baby, I AM BACK!!!!


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