The Great Escape

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I started to do that thing where I would wake up in the morning and have that pure distaste for work. Even my eyes where in on it. Bloodshot and heavy, they too were against the fact that I devoted the bulk of my waking life to someone else’s greater good. At the sound of my alarm, I would peel one lid open to peep outside. It didn’t even matter what the weather was doing, as I would only get the chance to dance her dance in between my front door and the tram line.

When did things get so mundane?

Routine has a funny way of regimenting the many units of daily life. I had it down to a fine art: I gave myself thirty minutes to get ready in the morning. I would break these thirty minutes up into five minute units of pre-work chores. Bathroom, breakfast, hair and makeup, get changed, clean teeth, grab bag and go. There was no room for error. If a room mate decided to take five minutes longer than usual in the shower, I would be fucked. I would have to go to work without brushing my teeth. No one needs that. But it happens, and when it does, it is the precursor to what will no doubt be the shittiest day ever.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have come to learn that ‘gut feelings’ are indeed a factual method of determining what is good juju and what isn’t. For example, getting butterflies in your belly indicates that what you’re doing is good. This can be taken as FACT. Having mini tidal waves of nausea in your belly indicates that what you’re doing is fucked. To wake up with the latter, is very telling of your daily situation. The question is this: Do you ride those nauseating high seas the best you can for however long you can? Or, do you throw in the towel and opt for a sea change? (Ocean analogies are my favourite).

I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I can honestly say that the bulk of people I know have grown complacent in their current positions. I sheepishly raise my hand to this as I too am a part of this majority.

Well, up until a few days ago I was.

Handing in your resignation is so very unnerving. And let’s face it, for all those who know me, you would know that I am a pleaser. Not necessarily a ‘yes’ woman, but yeah, but no, but yeah, but no. I don’t like to disappoint. And telling your bosses that you quit has a big, fat, overfed ‘D’ for disappointing tattooed all over it. Even calling the meeting to organise a meeting had me in neurotic stitches. I lost my appetite and felt waves of guilt each time one of my bosses would talk about anything that required my commitment or attendance in the near future. But, the time came when I found myself sitting with the two of them at the round table of trust. My heart was racing and my palms were leaving sweaty marks on everything I touched. But at the end of the day, my belly was telling me that it was better out than in. And so the words bubbled out of my mouth, each one weighing a ton, and before I knew it, the date had been set and I could finally see the finish line.

Sigh of exhalation.

In the weeks leading up to my new favourite date, I somehow acquired some pretty horrendous gastro. Bathroom bound and emptied out, I had to call in sick for a couple of days during my last week. With nothing to lose, I decided to be explicitly truthful with my reasons why I couldn’t come to work. They still wanted a doctor’s certificate. Really? There was no way I would be leaving the house in that condition, not unless I was wheeling a port-a-loo behind me. So I did what I do best, I emailed both them and expressed my disappointment that they didn’t trust me enough to warrant these days off, and in an act of good faith, I told them that if it made them feel better, they could write these days off as ‘holidays’ and not ‘sick’ days. No email back. But a few days later when I checked my pay slip, there in the bottom left hand corner: “sick days x 2”. Win.

So now I am on day number three of unemployment. To the wind I throw bags full of caution. This is what I have done today: My first wake up was at eight-thirty. Then read three pages of a book. I fell back asleep at nine. I dreamt all morning until midday. Then I made a traditional hot chocolate by heating milk in a saucepan and adding cocoa powder. I ate muffins with jam on the kitchen bench. I went to take a shower but my room mate was in there and hey, no big deal. I had a take-away chai on Chapel Street which tasted like arse. I hung out in my boy’s backyard with him and a staffy called ‘Harper’. I went to the post office and chatted to the old Mexican man who liked my hairstyle today (a messy up-do which sat a little to the left). I came back home and listened to all of Bloc Party’s albums in sequential order while searching for the ultimate spaghetti and meatball recipe online. Now I am writing this and it makes me happy to know that although I may not be able to afford to eat out every night, I can certainly afford to devote endless amounts of time to all things me. And I know this state of mind and time probably won’t last forever, as rent needs to be paid and life is never static. But while I am here, and while things are still, I will take my time to work out what it will take to stay full.