I turn up the volume of 2 House Go Techno and curl up in a chair. I stare into a reminder blutacked onto the wall: dreams don‘t work unless you do* for a minute and decide that I never really had to work in my life.
Apart from one evening in Saint Albans, when I was lying in my own financial grave and someone recommended me for a chief for a Mediterranean restaurant. I gaped at customer mouths for the whole evening, without a doubt spilled drinks on a table and lost it somewhere between could-I –speak-with-your-manager and a crab salad plate. A four hour colleague, who worked as a waiter there offered to drop me back to Luton before the closure, I interpreted this as: no, you did not get the job. It was dark outside, the car radio played pop hits, and I kept rewinding the evening fuck-ups in my head.
- You know, – spoke my ex-colleague, – they do not even pay that well…
- Aha, – I agreed.
- Would you like to go out for a dinner sometime?
- I don’t think my man would approve, – I replied without thinking, there was no man at that time, most likely I was still a virgin, but he wasn’t my type and I couldn’t get over the fact that I was looking for a job, but instead, got a date.
I’ve always dreamt to give into work, but I never found a job that would fulfil me, a job that I’d call a pleasure and everyone would envy. I’m not bailing out, I’m still in search.
I’m still searching, only now the pace of the process is tranquil. The heart is still restless. The quest is hardly perceptible, like air fluttered by sound.
The sound of Go Techno is destroying walls of neighbours. On one side – a gallery, I can hear the snob reading his snobby speech in a snobby voice. On the other – Romanian prostitute. I have no reason to state this, but I spoke with her once and all I felt was irritation as she informed me that there is a water leak downstairs and that I must be the one who caused it. And she was right.
The upper floor is inhabited by Southerners, I give seventy percent – Spaniards, as during a housewarming party one of the guests wore a sombrero. I might be wrong, I never met them face to face. It’s hard to decide from steps, as I hear them walking back and forth. And finally, downstairs, that’s where all kind of unknown species breed. They sit down in the backyard under my open windows and shouts until three in the morning. Then one by one they start to lose their voices. Around five o’clock a rat is the first to leave the party through the iron gates. Later young women get out abandoning two lads: Angus and Matt.
I had a pleasure to meet Angus the same evening I flooded his flat. We chatted in the doorway, he admired the red light in our corridor. He admitted that he came over to shout at me, but once I switched on the light he felt at ease and began to flirt.
He asked me out for a coffee but in the day light all seemed different, he remembered the incident and left without paying. I flipped through the Dazed & Confused, stood up and left the coffee shop. I never came back, as I am still slightly embarrassed.
Recently, since I started working and somehow everyone knows that the company pays well, I always feel slightly embarrassed, like I’m not worth the money so I give them away. I provide for the starving, but there are some many of them, it’s hard to keep the track. I give to one and there is another stretching his arm from behind my back, I turn around and it’s the same guy, to whom I spared some change and a piece of pastry the other day. He took the money and put them inside a pocket of his shabby jacket, refusing to take the bun: croissants are not my thing, he informed.
A no, is a no, you can’t force kindness on people.
We are born kind, but to stay this way is practically impossible. Imagine, you’re taking a joyful laidback stroll when someone grabs your wallet out of your purse and runs the fuck away. Who’s’ fault is that? Yours, next time you will be more careful.
Or you love someone so much you could give your heart away, you would probably take it out without surgery and bleed under lover’s feet. So you walk around bragging about it, but no one shares your joy, quite the opposite, everyone is terrified by your naivity: listen, keep your feet on the ground and do not act like a fool.
And then you kind of trip over your own leg and your relationship falls apart, breaks a bone, sometimes the hip or even a neck.
The first relationships I had, wasn’t even a relationship, it was a monologue. Right before starting the dialogue in the second one, it broke up turning into a two year platonic dating marathon with a shrink.
There is always that one person, who smashes you into the ground without warning. It’s like a relay race, once you on the ground, be aware – the stick is in your hands. And then you get over it, get up and run until you smash someone else, you hit hard, as a revenge for your broken heart.
Vytautas came over the other day to heal his broken heart with a glass of red. Vytautas is a fellow citizen, who works in the plastic windows firm. We met on a plane. He was reading a self-help book and I remember my-self thinking: we would get along. All of the sudden we start talking and his first proper sentence was:
- Oh, Maria, I’ve no idea what the life is about.
I have! I figured it out a while ago and no one contradicted. Life is about nothing. Survival, that’s all. Why work and relationship are the two major topics? Because both are principal survival rules, like hunting and mating, that evolved throughout centuries.
– All answers lies in nature. If you have a question, hug a tree, – I advised Vytautas to get in touch with his inner pagan and ordered another glass of whisky. Wine does not always hit the spot.
This is how we met: I was slightly dizzy, therefore temporary happy and each negative comment Vytautas made I counter attacked with a folk saying:
- You know, whiles you’re young, you do not think about stuff, and then you turn thirty and it dawns on you/…
- ../bend the tree while it’s young.
- /… that age no longer serves to your advantage, and you don’t really have the knowledge or, as a matter of fact, experience.
- Knowledge has no end.
- Are you having a laugh?
- He who laughs last, laughs… you know, Vytautas, I am flying home to see a psychotherapist, because I can no longer handle my own thoughts, and here I meet you and your issues. Who nowadays has no problems? Everyone is suffering, some more, some – less, some manage to hide it, and some (present company included) sits down and moan. Will it help change a thing? No. Believe-you-me, – I wave my hand to a passing stewardess making the aware that I am in need for the top up, she rolls her eyes letting me understand that I had enough, I don’t argue, – personally I moan from the eighth grade. I remember it clearly, I woke up and instead of putting my uniform, I took a DKNY jumper out of the closet, the one I bought from a charity shop. I put on a pair of Converse and turned up late to my Biology class. It was twelve years ago, and you know what? I never got out from my Converse state of mind.
That time Vytautas was mesmerised by the Pippi Longstocking adaptation of mine and asked me to write down my e-mail address. I did, on the first page of his The Art Of Being A Good Manager book. We landed, Vytautas helped me out with my bag stuffed with king prawns and we parted by the baggage carousel.
Now, Vytautas sat in my chair, nodding his head and drinking straight out from a bottle, rambling something amongst the lines, like: she cut out my heart, I weep, but no one gives a shit.**
I certainly wasn’t giving any shit, as I was going through the list of things I am grateful for in my head. An attitude change exercise: each day I have to find at least ten things to appreciate.
- You’re not listening, your lips are moving slightly, and you’re talking with yourself again.
- No, I’m definitely not talking with my-self. Anyhow, mind your business and I will mind mine. Everyone needs to open up once in a while and it does not really matter if anyone is listening. So what’s the fucking difference?
- Maybe you could give me an advice?
- The one you would ignore?
- Maybe I wouldn’t?
- It’s twenty first century, no one invests energy into maybes’. It’s time to learn to block out the noise.
- So now, I am noise? – After the break up Vytautas is over-sensitive and takes everything personally.
- You are nothing but noise.
Human brain is slowly giving up in the war of information. Wherever you look – everywhere the open fire. Right from the morning paper, BBC news, a morning read through e-mails, all the way to work, during the lunch break, on the way back home popping into a bar, walking down the street, back home and even during sleep.
According to Vytautas, the main reason that led to their break up was a separation of interests.
- At first she started to meditate, then followed yoga, morning cigarette and a cup of coffee was replaced by jogging and then she changed her diet. I remember sitting in the balcony, my legs crossed, smoking a roll up and a pumpkin seed fell of my slipper. I asked her to move out.
- Shame, she started to move back to nature and you should join her.
- What? – Half way through the bottle Vytautas forgot all the formalities.
- We lost touch with nature and now we are trying to get closer. So we look for ways to get in touch with ourselves first, through meditation, yoga, we cleanse our body temples with detox diets and change bad habits for good.
- Interesting interpretation, but I will not fall for this crap.
- You will, as soon as there will be a shift in your social circles.
Afraid that without Suzan he will end up as lonely drunkard, Vytautas excused him-self and went to the kitchen to call his ex.
To leave a person usually is a light-minded decision, a habit of consumerism driven society. However, each time after break upwe find ourselves in the same habit loop, unless we make a decision to change.
Overall, is there such a thing as fundamental change?
- Suzan refuses to comeback, – Vytautas crashed back into the chair.
- /…fuck her, I will find someone else! – He concluded confirming my reflections, – Feelings sucks. Like it’s not enough headache to deal with your own, you also have to understand another. Moments have to stay moments sometimes, they are better in this format. Dragging would destroy the image.
- Aha, aha, but you were the one, who ended it.
- We were trying to end it for at least half a year but none of us had guts to say that we no longer good together.
- If you at least have tried to listen to each other and each other’s dreams, maybe everything would have fallen back into places?
- What dreams? All she dreams of now is vegetables and grains, for the last two months she paid no attention to me.
- Maybe because you kept coming back with a crack of dawn stinking of booze and cigarette smoke?
- Right! Do you have a cigarette?
Life is a big habit loop, in which eventually we all hang ourselves up. Cue, routine, reward, cue, routine, reward etc. And then the routine gets out of the picture and we are only left with rewards and boredom. And the meaning searched by man is yet another dream, which only works if one keeps it alive by believing and work.
* John C. Maxwell