Accustomed to the Status Quo


Here’s the story of Chernobyl, failure, and testicles.

I’m not picky. A semi-detached house isn’t too much to ask for, there are plenty of them. Fewer neighbours and therefore less noise to worry about. South facing would be nice. I’d love to grow some vegetables, even though I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I mean, I know you put them in the ground, but other than that. Oh, it must be in a low crime area. I know that’s a lot to ask around here, but I’ve developed a system, readers. You see, our police force puts the crime statistics for every street on the internet. There’s crime everywhere, so I’d be looking for somewhere where the crime is something like ‘vehicle theft,’ rather than, ‘steals everything from your house and then stabs you to death whilst you’re sleeping.’ I don’t have a car, so… Oh, and before I forget. No schools, please. The sound of happy children goes through me like fingernails on a chalkboard. I don’t mind them being happy, I just don’t want to hear them. Admittedly, asking an estate agent for a house ‘nowhere near a school’ might seem like an odd request. I mean, really, all that isn’t a lot to ask when choosing a house, is it? Oh, it is? Drat…

I’ve become so accustomed to the status quo that I’ve neglected much thought about things like choosing where to live. 26 years I’ve spent living with my mum and dad. I’ve spent the last five looking for a job. Never had one of those before. Mainly because many see me as an insufferable bumhole, but that’s life. Some people are looked upon as wonderful genius, then… then there’s me…

Oh, I’ve had opportunities, don’t get me wrong. By my count, I’ve attended over 50 interviews, not getting any of them for reasons ranging from the usual, ‘You’re not what we’re looking for,’ to, ‘We don’t employ shy people.’ I wish that came under the discrimination act, but, apparently, it doesn’t. We don’t create ‘positive atmospheres,’ whatever the hell one of those is. I didn’t think I could create an atmosphere. I mean, I’m not God. That I know of.

I’ve attended courses, too. Weeks and weeks on end, some months. They train you up in various fields ready for work in that field. Most offer jobs at the end of them and what happens is that the course teachers tell various employers who are invested in these courses about the students. Not once have I been put forward. Admittedly, most of these were retail, and, well, I can’t do retail. I once attended a retail job interview and let’s just say, it went spectacularly badly, although I feel it demonstrates rather well why I can’t do retail.

The interviewer, let’s call him Terry because he looked like one, decided to go through the facets of retail to judge if I was qualified. “So, big thing about retail, are you good with people?” “No.” “Oh. Well, okay. Are you a good conversationalist?” “Good God, no.” “Okay. Do you have many friends?” “None.” “So what do you in your social life?” “Don’t have one.” “Uh-huh. What do you do in your spare time?” “Watch television, mainly.” “Ah, anything interesting?” “Not really.” I ask you this. If you were Terry, would you hire me? I would’ve. But I might be a touch biased on this…

I know it comes across as if I don’t care, but I’m too honest. I can’t lie. I don’t want someone to employ me on false pretences. That’ll mean I’ll screw over someone more qualified for the job, won’t it? And I don’t know their story. They might be a single parent. With children to feed. I couldn’t do that to someone.

It’s not just retail courses I’ve suffered. No, I’ve done interview courses and passed them all with flying colours. I even did a warehouse course once. Although nothing went spectacularly wrong for me, one of my peers did spectacularly crash the forklift truck, which I’ve always seen as a metaphor for how badly I failed that course…

I’ve also done government programs designed to ‘guarantee employment after a rigorous six month course.’ No they didn’t. No they did not at all. The government even threatened to send me to a rigorous job search program. They do love the word ‘rigorous.’ Do you know what this is? If you’re long term unemployed, the government send you to a dark and foreboding concrete bunker in the middle of a wasteland and make you job search six days a week for as long as it takes. Eight in the morning to five or even six in the evening. One hour’s lunch. No time off. You call in sick, you lose your benefits. England’s a lovely place, by the way. Unless you’re looking for work, then I would recommend you avoid us as you’d avoid, oh, I don’t know, let’s say Chernobyl…

You do arrive at the point where you become used to the way things are. You get into a rhythm and by year five, you start to enter a very dark place. After trying everything, you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. You start to believe you’re a bad person and you’ve done something wrong and you don’t know what it is. You feel like a car that’s broken down and you’re in the middle of Pennsylvania and you’re surrounded by Amish people who obviously don’t know how to fix the damn car. No, I don’t want a damn horse! I value the health of my testicles.

I have become convinced that I can’t work. I can’t be around people without feeling uncomfortable. I never know what to say. I always make mistakes. “Come and help me with this, Ally.” Sure. Knowing me, I’ll almost certainly trip over something and fall onto whatever they needed help with, ruining it and setting the company back a couple days and costing them far too much money to fix. But I’m not sad about this. I always try my best. My best is never good enough, but that’s not the point…

I’ve done plenty of work experience, too. For most of this year I’ve been at a design and print company. Only a little company, but I’ve designed shop signs, posters, leaflets, logos, flyers, even business cards that have ended up in Asia, Australia, Sweden, Finland and New York. For the first time ever in my life, I actually feel proud. It’s weird feeling. I think I said this before, but it’s worth repeating. It feels like pleasant constipation.

Will a job come of this? They’re considering it. But so convinced am I that they’ll turn around and say ‘no’ that I haven’t even told mum and dad about all this. They’ve put up with me for 26 years. Dad’s been retired for five, mum retires this week. They’re both closing in on 70 years of age. They want that retirement bungalow by the sea. And here I am. Crippling every hope and dream they have. They wouldn’t agree with that, but I feel that way. I don’t want to get their hopes up and then have those hopes dashed. I want this job. I hear mum and dad struggling up those stairs each night. I want to say to them this Christmas, “Happy Christmas, mum and dad. My present? I got a job. You won’t have to put up with me for much longer…”

I really have done all I can and I still feel like a failure. I feel like I’ve let my mum and dad down when all they’ve done for 26 and a half years is support me and looked after me, which I really need, because I am terrible on my own. I’m so close yet I’ve never felt so terrified. What if, and it’s a big ‘if,’ what if I get this job? I don’t know anything. I know that’s not news, but still…

I don’t know how jobs work. I don’t know anything about pay or how it works. I don’t know anything about banks or finance. And what of that day when I finally fly the nest? I can’t live alone. I don’t know what bills and taxes I have to pay. I don’t know how to pay them. I don’t know when. I can’t cook at all. I don’t even know if I’ll have enough money to do all these things. I’ll be on my own. Literally. And what if something goes wrong? You know what my life is like when mum and dad go away on holiday. I burn myself on the oven. I fell down the stairs, once. I set fire to a kitchen towel and then water, somehow, in the kitchen sink. On my own, I’ll be dead in about two minutes. It’ll provide great material for this blog, sure, but even Evel Knievel popped his gnarly clogs…

I dream of that house I mentioned in the first paragraph. That really is what I’m looking for, so if you’re an estate agent in the Teesside area, do get in touch. I know me even getting the job is 50/50 at the moment, but you can’t help but to have this flood of emotions and thoughts when such a milestone is so close in one’s life. I’ve spent so long running around in circles, I’m now expected to run toward this light. Why do I want to run the other way, then? It’s like I have an angel on one shoulder telling me everything is going to be okay, and then there’s a devil on the other throwing its pitchfork across my body right into the chest of the angel, killing it dead. Do you ever feel like that? What do you mean ‘no’?

But I still maintain that I’m not a picky person. I’m not that, but I’m many other things.

Gorgeous, for example.

Why are you laughing?

American politician, diplomat and activist, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), once said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Peace Out :|:

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Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other blog:

To Contrive & Jive
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