Tag Archives: Laura Everlong

Origins #11

3 Mar

I was still there in my bed with my boss’s daughter, and I was proud of myself for admitting that I had a crush on her instead of holding that information back and leaving her to cry in the belief that I just wanted to sleep with her. If you’ve read up to here, I’m sure you think it’s a bit weird that she somehow thought I was just trying to sleep with her considering I’d put in a fair bit of effort to avoid having anything happen with her, but hey, I was pretty drunk and that didn’t occur to me at the time.

Oops

Something I have remembered since posting last time was that, at some point after Rene and I had arrived at my place, I’d asked her about her sister Laura’s relationship. I’d pointed out that it seemed like something was off there. Rene told me she didn’t know much about it and seemed a bit down about me asking. Turns out Rene knew more than she was letting on and had taken my curiosity as further evidence of her belief that I was interested in Laura.

In hindsight, I guess that was another reason why Rene was so certain I was into Laura. I was into Laura. I’d say I liked her about as much as I liked Rene, but in a different way. It’s tough to explain because I knew Laura much better than Rene. I’ll tell you right now though, most guys would be falling all over themselves to get anywhere near either of these young women, but up until this particular night I’d done a brilliant job of behaving myself around both of them.

You have to ask me out on a proper date!

Anyways, I’d just finished admitting to Rene that I’d had a crush on her for a long time and she’d lit up with joy at hearing it. It’s not like I confessed to having an undying love for her, either. I’d only told her that I’d liked her for a long time and that I wanted to get to spend some time with her and get to know her better but Rene reacted like all her Christmases had come at once and we kissed some more as a result.

Rene stopped crying again and we went back to kissing and whatnot but we were still talking the whole time, and she started telling me how she’d made all these moves on me and asked why I’d never made any moves back. Rene pointed out that she had added me on Facebook, got my work email and started emailing me, gotten my mobile number from her sister and started texting me and even after all of that, I still hadn’t asked her out.

I told her, “You’re my boss’s daughter.”
“So?”, she asked.
“So I need my job”, I explained.
“But you never even asked me out”, she insisted.
“I’m not going to hit on my boss’s daughter. I invited you out to everything and I just figured that was as much as I could do, but you hardly ever came to anything”, I pointed out.
“But you never asked me out on a proper date, just the two of us!”, Rene said.
“I figured you could tell I was interested. You knew I couldn’t ask you out, I figured you’d ask me out if you wanted to see me.”, I told her.
“I was pretty sure that night you told me my ex in France was an idiot. But you have to ask me out now! You have to ask me out on a proper date!”, she told me, practically bouncing up and down with excitement.
“Alright. I’ll ask you out on a proper date.” I told her.

Rene was grinning ear to ear and kissing me with some serious passion after that, but even as drunk as I was, it all sounded like a weird way to go about it to me. I mean, we were in bed with each other and there she was demanding that I ask her out on a date? It’s not like I would have minded asking her out, but we were well past the ‘asking out’ stage of things.

But I’d been drinking, and she’d been drinking, and the whole thing was a bit of a mess. So I figured, if she wanted me to ask her out, I’d ask her out.

Drunken singing

We were making out and laughing and having all the stupid, drunken fun you tend to have when you’ve been drinking all night with someone you’re interested in. We started talking about all sorts of things, like the music we like and what we loved about the 90s and probably a bunch of other shit that I honestly can’t remember.

I do remember that we laid out in that bed playing songs off our phones and singing along to them between kissing and touching, and more singing, and more kissing, and more singing. At one point, I’m loathe to admit, I grabbed my ukulele from beside my bed and tried to play a tune for us to sing to, but I was too drunk to play, so gave up on that idea pretty quick.

It might sound lame, but of everything that happened that night, singing along to those songs together was my favourite bit. I was digging that we had so much in common. There was something awesome about being in bed with this girl I’d liked for so long and that we’d ended cuddled up, singing along to John Farnham songs, and making out like teenagers.

The Roller Coaster Continues

emor

Unfortunately, it wasn’t too long before Rene started crying again.

“You want something serious, don’t you”, she sobbed.
“What are you talking about?”, I asked her.
“You said you want something serious”, she repeated.
“No I didn’t, I said I want to hang out with you a bit and get to know you”, I explained, confused.
I continued, saying, “I couldn’t even think about getting into something serious anytime soon. I just want to hang out with you under the radar, get to know you properly and see what happens.”

And that was the absolute truth of the matter. I wasn’t looking to go from zero to 100 with her. Shit, I didn’t think I really knew Rene well enough to think anything beyond maybe going on a date with her. I wasn’t thinking about the future, aside from the very risky situation I was going to be in from a work perspective.

Like I said in an earlier post, all I was really looking for was to get to hang out with someone I thought was cool. I thought Rene was cool, so now we could get onto the hanging out with each other part, and eventually I’d get to know her well enough to see if there was something more than a basic attraction.

I lie to people and confuse them until they stop asking questions

Rene calmed down again and stopped crying.

We continued to talk, and I truly cannot remember how we ended up getting to this, but at one point Rene explained to me that she was an exhibitionist.

OK, so I’m with this girl I think is gorgeous and she’s already indicated to me that she likes things a bit rough in bed, and then she tells me she’s an exhibitionist. I was surprised to hear that but I was also very excited. I don’t think I’m a pervert, but I sure  am a very, very sexual person, and one aspect of that is that I like to do things that are a bit risqué. I definitely don’t want the girl I’m with to be skanky by any means, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a bit naughty and fun, so to hear that this girl who I genuinely liked for other reasons was also a bit naughty was a huge added bonus.

And then Rene told me that she thinks she’s nowhere near as good as her sister Laura, that Laura has her shit together and that she’s doing so well, and Laura’s so pretty, and Laura’s this and that and whatever else. I, of course, tried to point out to Rene that she’s pretty awesome herself and shouldn’t compare herself to Laura, but Rene responded by telling me that she makes mistakes all the time and ruins things.

I don’t really remember exactly what she said, but I know Rene told me that she was still in contact with the guy she’d moved to France to be with, even though he’d cheated on her and she’d moved back to Australia broken hearted, she had kept in contact with him. Not only had she kept in contact with him, she was now playing the role of mistress behind the back of this douchebag’s new girlfriend.

I remember telling her, “Well, stop that shit, then!”

Again, I’m not sure how we got onto this, but Rene ended up telling me that she makes a lot of mistakes and it really upsets her. I don’t remember much of the conversation but I do remember her telling me, “I lie to people and confuse them until they stop asking questions.”

Idiot

Trust me, I know very well that I should have taken these things as red flags. I know I’m an idiot for not doing so at the time, but I was drunk and as far as I knew, I was with a beautiful, intelligent, fun, sexy young woman who happened to be going through a rough time and also happened to be full of red wine and cocktails.

Everybody says stupid shit when they’ve been drinking, so I wasn’t judging her for any of what she said. I guess I did take some of those statements on board though, as I certainly kept an eye out for certain things she’d mentioned about herself in the months to come. You’ll hear all about that soon enough.

But it’s not like Rene was the only one saying or doing stupid shit that night. I was on a roll, myself.

I’d managed to completely miss the fact that Rene was worried that I was interested in Laura and had contributed to making her cry as a result, repeatedly as the night went on.

I’d drunkenly pushed my boss’s daughter up and down some serious hills in a freakin’ shopping trolly, the most dangerous of all vehicles. I’d let the night get out of hand by not staying sober. I’d ended up in bed with my boss’s daughter, for fuck’s sake. I hadn’t stopped it and called her a taxi, I hadn’t told her we shouldn’t do anything, I hadn’t walked out of the room when she flashed me. I’d done a lot of stupid shit that night myself.

But I had one more awesomely stupid thing to say.

I totally understand why I said it, but that doesn’t mean I actually understand why I said it. Oh god. I actually have to tell you what I said. Ahh fuck it!, here goes…

I don’t exactly remember when but at one point in the night when I was in bed with Rene, I half whispered: “I want kids.”

I know.

embarrased

I know it was a moronic thing to do, but if you remember from Origins #7, I’d been talking with Rene’s sister earlier that day about how important it was to let people know what you want out of life before you get involved with them, and I didn’t mean that I wanted kids with Rene, I just meant that, at some point in my future, I’d like to be a parent. And somehow, as a result of all that rational logical, sense-making, I was pretty drunk and it just came out.

I totally get that it was a stupid thing to do, and even as I write this, I feel very much like this…

shm1Oh lord the shame I feel for admitting that I said that. Let’s never speak of it again. Ahhh shame my old friend, what would life be without you?

You want to know the worst part? I’m pretty sure I said that after Rene had her little freak-out about me wanting something serious. I just don’t know what I was thinking. I do think my little revelation was on the mild side in comparison to admitting to being an exhibitionist, or intentionally confusing people until they give up asking question, or playing the mistress, etc, etc but it was still a really embarrassing thing for me when I was forced to think back on it later.

Nearly there

As it turns out, there’s still a little bit more of that night that I have to tell you about, including more confusion, weird encouragement and weird rejection. Catch ya then!Crazy bitch tip: If you move to another country to be with a guy and he then cheats on you, don’t talk to him anymore because he’s clearly a massive douche.

Origins #8

1 Feb

We ditched the trolly out the front of my apartment building and laughed our way up the stairs to my shitty little apartment. Y’know, I’m a bit harsh on my place. It’s a very small two bedroom unit thing but it does sit above the others and has a nice enough view over the city of Perth.

Rene and I spilled in through the door, both reasonably drunk and a quite knackered from the walk. Pushing the shopping trolly laden with one boss’s daughter aboard for a few blocks had taken the wind out of my sails for the time being.

Shots fired!

And what’s the smartest thing for a guy to do once he’s got his somewhat drunk boss’s daughter in his apartment? Why, offer her a drink of course!

I assumed Rene would ask for a water or cool drink or something. “You should make me a cocktail!”, was her actual response. I don’t know where she thought I was hiding the cocktail bar. I just laughed and told her it’d have to be a cocktail shooter. Making mixed drinks is just one more thing I know bugger all about, but when I was 18 I did learn to layer drinks in a shot glass, so I got to work on that.

Shot cocktail collection: Red and Blue Tequila

Like this but wayyyyy less classy

Changing it up

The reason we were at my place, as far as I was concerned, was for me to get changed so we could head off to humiliate ourselves at the nearest karaoke bar. With that in mind I told Rene I’d go get changed out of my work uniform into something more appropriate for drunkenly screaming into a microphone in front of bewildered strangers. I changed into a half decent looking shirt and a pair of jeans and switched my sneakers for some shoes nice enough to get me past the ridiculous footwear expectations at the bars in Perth.

I was all prettied up and ready to go but Rene had other ideas.

“You haven’t showed me around your place yet”, she explained. So I gave her the grand tour or the loungeroom/kitchen, the balcony and the second bedroom, which had my weights bench set up in it. This caught Rene’s interest and she decided she wanted to have a crack at bench-pressing what I had on the bar. To my surprise, she actually managed to get the bar back up mostly on her own. She wanted to go for another but I warned her I was probably too drunk to spot her properly, and that we should quit that particular endeavor as winners.

Instead of leaving the room though, she hopped up on the weights bench and leaned up against the window looking out at the view. It struck me how that was the most ridiculous way you could go about seeing the view. I mean, you don’t need to be on your knees on a weights bench with your arse pushed back to get a look at the view. Yes, I did appreciate the view I was getting in that scenario, but I still wasn’t planning on any shenanigans of that nature.

Bullshit! You were after something!

Yep. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t hoping for something to happen that night. What I was hoping for was that Rene would cut the bullshit and let me know she was actually interested. I figured once we’d both admitted that we were into each other, we could figure out if it was worth doing anything about. I was hoping for words, rather than actions, because actions are what would get me in trouble. Words were risky but a lot safer.

I wasn’t so keen to admit I was into Rene. I don’t think I’d really even considered if I was into her or not. I had so much more contact with her sister Laura, and I’d caught myself becoming interested in her but I’d always shut it down because she had a boyfriend. With Rene, I had a crush going for her but I’d never thought about anything beyond that because she wasn’t around as much and because I didn’t really understand what she was after, and I thought she was out of my league anyway. I couldn’t tell what she was really after, and I wasn’t going to get carried away overthinking a bit of flirtation here and there.

There was also the issue that, if I was going to be stupid enough to have a go with either of the Everlong sisters, I would have to choose carefully because I was certain that trying with one meant blowing my chances with the other. I didn’t realistically think I had a chance with either of them, but y’know how it is… when you daydream about possibilities you still like to keep your options open.

But there I was with Rene in my place, both of us fairly drunk and she was throwing some seriously flirting my way.

Better call Laura

Whenever things seemed to be calming down for a second, Rene would demand we have another drink, so I kept making those goofy layered shots and we kept knocking them back. They were full of vodka and advocate and whatever else I could find. They weren’t tasty, but Rene was pretty keen to keep the alcohol flowing.

I was in two minds as to how to deal with the situation I was in. Heading out to the city meant taking my boss’s daughter out on the town when she was already acting a bit over the top, but staying at my place meant potentially doing something that might jeopardize my job. I thought it was a safer bet to head out for karaoke, so I suggested it. Rene told me she’d rather hang out at my place for a while, that maybe we’d go later but we should watch a movie or something in the meantime while she rested up from the walk to my place.

Rene and Laura were very tight-knit sisters, so Rene decided she’d better let her older sister know where she was. That seemed pretty reasonable to me at the time but I quickly realised that having the family who own and manage the company I work for talking about the fact that the youngest daughter was at my place, and sounding a bit drunk, might not be a greatest thing for me.

I’m not a wise man when I’ve been drinking, or ever really, so the best solution I could come up with was to find a humourous interruption to make it obvious that nothing dodgey was happening. A flicker of stupidity ran through my head and I grabbed my guitar, interrupting the phone call with a magnificent rendition of “Burn for you” by John Farnham.

I chose that particular song because it had come up in conversation with Laura earlier in the day, in the same conversation where we ended up talking about letting people know if you want kids or not.

John Farnham

John Farnham was a hugely popular singer in Australia. I bring him up because he happens to play a weirdly significant role in the overall story. If you want to learn more about him, check out his wikipedia page but suffice to say, he was massively popular in Australia, especially throughout the 80s and early 90s and the Everlong family and I, and pretty much everyone else, were all adoring fans of the guy. That fandom will come into things later on.

Anyway, in the conversation I’d had with Laura earlier in the day, I mentioned that I loved the song Burn For You and she told she thought it was Farnsy’s most boring song, so when I chose to interrupt Rene’s conversation with Laura by playing that specific song, I was being a cheeky bugger. I was playing a song I knew she found annoying and thought was a great way to imply that everyone at my place still had our clothes on and we were just having fun being silly.

The backfire

Rene finished up the call with her sister, put her phone away, and suddenly burst into tears. At the exact same time, I felt my phone vibrate like I’d just gotten about 10 text messages. I ignored the texts for the time being and squished up next to Rene to ask her what was going on. As it happens, the lyrical content of the song Burn For You is all about a guy who’s desperately in love with a woman, Rene had completely misinterpreted my choice to play that specific song to Laura at that point in time.

Through her tears Rene said, “You like Laura don’t you?”
“What to do you mean? What are you talking about?”, I said.
“You’re interested in her. You don’t like me, do you?”, she said.
“Where’s this coming from? She’s got a boyfriend!”, I asked her.
“Yeah she’s got a boyfriend and you still like her more. Why do you like her more than me? What does she have that I don’t have?”, Rene sobbed.

By this point I’d wrapped an arm around Rene in an effort to console her. My other hand was on her knee. She sat there on my couch with her knees up in front of her, her head down, tears rolling down her face. I’d done my best to ignore it but I did have a crush on her and had done for a long time. There I was trying to console this girl who I liked as she cried because she thought I wasn’t interested in her. This same girl had made it clear earlier that night that she wants people to treat her like a normal girl and forget that she’s my boss’s daughter. I was stuck with the choice of either telling her that I’d liked her for a long time, or leaving her to cry in front of me in my own place.

Rene stopped talking but continued to cry. I leaned in and kissed her. She kissed me back. It was one of the most intense kisses I’ve ever been a part of. I remember the slight taste of salt on her lips from the tears. I remember that the way she kissed me back reassured me that I hadn’t made the wrong choice.

 

Crazy bitch tip: If you spend all your time concealing your intentions, don’t expect people to trust you.

Origins #7

21 Jan

After all the blabbing in the previous Origins post, we’re finally getting to the juicy stuff.

“You can afford it”

In the week leading up to the Friday after-work drinks I had scheduled with Rene Everlong to meet up with her and her colleagues, Rene was extra communicative with me. In one email, Rene asked me about my car. I explained what had happened and that I was considering buying a new car to get around in while the Capri was being worked on.

Rene asked me which car I had in mind, so I showed her the magnificent Focus RS which I had been lusting over since I heard it was coming to Australia.

Something like this

Something like this

I think they were asking something like $75,000 for one of these in Australia. I was making good money but it would have been very unrealistic for me to try and buy one in addition to paying off my mortgage on my shitty little apartment. Still, a man can dream. What caught me off guard in Rene’s response was that she said something along the lines of “You should totally get that. You can afford it!” I remember thinking, “How the hell would she know what I can afford?”. But whatever, I told her I’d think about it.

Talking about kids

On the Friday that I was set to meet up with Rene at the pub, I ended up falling into a long conversation with her sister, Laura at work. I don’t know how or why it came up but Laura was talking to me about things you should let people know before you get into a relationship. One of the things Laura pointed out is whether or not you want to have kids.

To baby or not to baby?

To baby or not to baby?

Laura was saying, “It’s such a big thing, and that people don’t want to waste time with someone who doesn’t want the same things as them”. I agreed with her. I still do. That’s such an important thing that you’d better get your opinion on it out of the way early. Can you imagine being with someone for 3 years and feeling like it might be time to have kids and not knowing if they even want kids? How the hell do people live that way?

It turns out there was a reason Laura was talking about that, but that’s for later. At the time, I didn’t know what was up, and something about that particular conversation further reinforced the vibe I’d been getting about Laura not really being solidly with her boyfriend anymore.

After work drinks

I was looking forward to catching up with Rene at the pub but at the same time, it wasn’t really a big deal to me. I half expected her to not show up, because she’d done that to me several times by then. But show up she did, and with colleagues in tow as promised.

We introduced everyone to each other, grabbed a few drinks and got the night under way. Having been introduced to the ‘weird’ guy, I was keeping an eye on him for any strange behaviour. He was a bit of a know-it-all and a bit loud, but there didn’t seem to be anything especially wrong with him.

Rene, on the other hand, was acting a bit different to usual. She got up to get a drink and came back with two glasses of red wine for herself and two pints of beer for me. We started chatting and were having a good time and I was trying to take it slow on the drinks but Rene kept asking my why I’d hardly touched my beers.

Somewhere in the conversation, she looks me right in the eyes and says… “How do you want to die?” I stopped and stared at her for a second and said “Hey, Rene, remember when you asked me what people shouldn’t do on a date? Just so you know… asking people how they want to die should go on that list.” She laughed and explained she’d been talking about that question with her colleagues earlier in the day. That made sense so I had a laugh and on went the evening.

Additional faces get in on the act

Friday night drinks was an institution by this point and because of its unfailing reliability and recurrence. We’d often have some people come join us from Everlong’s other office. The other office was the company’s headquarters, and occasionally the girls from the admin section there would come over and gossip up a storm with everyone from the office I worked at.

A few of those admin girls had come down to The Chesterfield this particular Friday night, including a young lady by the name of Tash. Tash had been with a boyfriend for a long time but they’d broken up recently. She’d always been quite the flirt, but since the break-up, the volume on that behaviour had cranked up to 11, and a fair bit of it was fired my way.

I didn’t mind. Tash was cool and fun and easy going and she worked at the other office anyway, so I wasn’t too stressed about it causing any dramas. I was quite willing to flirt back with her but I wasn’t trying to make anything happen with her. It was just a bit of fun.

In addition to Tash being there, Angelica had also turned up. I mentioned Angelica a while back, she’s the friend of a friend of one of my colleagues and I’d been getting up to some bedroom shenanigans with her since my birthday. It turned out the colleague who’s friends with her had told her to come down for some drinks with us.

I didn’t mind that either, because Angelica is also a really cool, fun individual. It was a bit strange about not knowing that the woman I’d been sleeping with was going to join us, but I figured that was just a part of the very casual approach we’d been taking to hanging out with each other.

You’re in charge of making sure I don’t embarrass the Everlong family name

Rene had made a point of being next to me as much as possible. She was keeping an eye on my drinks and any time it looked like it was getting half empty, she’d ask if I was ready for another. She was also doing a surprisingly good job of finding her way to the bottom of the glasses of wine she’d bought and seemed in a particularly energetic mood.

winess

At one point, Rene leans in and says, “You’re in charge of making sure I don’t embarrass Everlong family name tonight”. I was interested in this girl and all I took that as was her telling me she wanted me to be around her all night. I thought of that as a good thing. I told her “Sure” and just tried to keep a tally of how many drinks she’d had as the night progressed. I didn’t do a very good job of keeping track, mostly because she kept encouraging me to drink and because she kept telling me she “wants to have a fun night”.

I hate to see the evening sun go down

The drinks kept coming, the people kept laughing and having a good time, and the sun slowly sank behind the wall out back of The Chesterfield.

We’d started with a pretty big group that Friday night. We must have had about 20 people there at the peak of it. Everyone was enjoying themselves but as is usually the case on a Friday night, people had places to be. The numbers began to drop as some of the Everlong crew and all of Rene’s colleagues, including the not-so-creepy creepy guy, headed on their merry way.

That meant that Rene, who had now had 3 glasses of wine and was in no shape to drive, would be hanging out with us until she was either sober enough to drive, or decided to get a cab home instead.

Tonight, we feast!

By this point it was time to eat, and we were down to about 9 people. We headed over to the curry joint over the road who were always good at finding a way to fit us in. They squished a few tables together, shuffled some other diners around and managed to squeeze us in.

So there I am at the table with, among others, Tash, Angelica, and Rene. Each of these ladies had been showing me significant interest and I was just trying to keep cool in an unusual situation.

Out comes the food! It’s bloody great food there and everyone was chowing down and yapping it up. It was great!

I wish everyone would stop treating me like I’m Tim Everlong’s daughter

Rene was being quite friendly, and I, as usual, was trying not to reciprocate too much. She kept pointing out when I didn’t have a drink or if I was a bit reluctant to be too jokey with her or whatever, and I pointed out to her that it’s a risky thing for me to be getting too friendly with my boss’s daughter.

Rene looks at me with this frustrated, annoyed, half-defeated expression and says “I wish everyone would stop treating me like I’m Time Everlong’s daughter. Why can’t anyone just see me as my own person? Why can’t I just be Rene?”

It took me aback. I was surprised partly because Rene seemed to always be so associated with her family and I’d never noticed that it bothered her. It never occurred to me that anyone could be unhappy to be associated with a prominent family who are known for their charitable contributions and successful business ventures.

In the moment, though, I could see that it was a weight on her, so I decided I’d be a bit less guarded when dealing with her.

And then shit started to get weird…

Tash is sitting at the other end of the table, which made it difficult for us to talk directly. To remedy this, she starts messaging flirty things directly to my phone. Angelica, meanwhile is sitting across from me and has decided it’d be fun to start playing footsies with me under the table. And Rene is, of course, sitting right beside me and leaning into me, being very flirty and inappropriately touchy feely with me.

I admit that I was feeling pretty good about the fact that all three of these ladies were vying for my attention, but it’s not like I set up the situation to turn out that way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t like things to be complicated and I don’t like drama. Complicated usually means stressful, and I just don’t want stress in my life.

Anyway, all three girls were flirting with me and I was trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. Luckily, with a table of 9 people in a very busy restaurant there’s enough cross-talk that these shenanigans are going unheard by the other people at the table, which was a nice bonus, but it was still a very weird situation to be in.

It’s not like I was doing a good job of calming things down either. With Angelica being so friendly under the table and Rene being so friendly above it, and me with about 4 pints of beer in me and Rene demanding that I treat her like I’d treat anyone else, I was stupid enough to suggest Angelica and Rene should kiss. Angelica looked into it, and Rene half considered it but then laughed it off.

I think that’s pretty solid evidence that I was already not making the best decisions that night.

Tears in heaven

Just to add a bit more chaos to the mix, a little after the suggestion of a girl-girl kiss, I mentioned to Rene how highly I think of her sister, Laura. I praised how smart and sweet Laura is and said that I think her father must be so proud of her for running the office that I work at.

Rene suddenly starts crying, silently while looking at me.

I had absolutely no idea why there were tears running down her face from me complimenting her sister. I leaned in and asked her what’s going on and tried to make sure nobody else could see that she was crying. She tells me “It’s nothing. It’s OK. I’ll be fine. Please don’t worry about it.”

But she’d charged me with not letting her embarrass the family name, not to mention the fact that I liked her, so of course I was worried why she was crying. The last thing I wanted was to make her cry. Sure, I was being cheeky suggesting she kiss Angelica, but I genuinely cared about Rene. I didn’t want her to be upset, least of all because I said or did the wrong thing.

I didn’t see how complimenting Laura could possibly upset Rene but no matter how many times I asked Rene, she just kept telling me not to worry about it, so I stopped asking and tried to carry on with the night.

Karaoke dreaming

Everyone was finishing up with dinner and people were deciding what to do with the rest of their night. Rene had overcome what ever it was that had caused to her to cry. Angelica was still playing footsies with me under the table and Tash was still messaging me from the other end of the table and I was trying not to encourage any of them because, once Rene started crying, I was too worried about her to be very interested in flirting and playing around.

Then Rene sprang to life and told the entire table that she really wants to go do Karaoke and she wanted to know who would come with her. The response was not favourable. Everyone there was pretty happy to chill out with a few more drinks and then call it a night.

I didn’t want Rene driving or heading off by herself, and she’d just been crying too, so I told her I’d go with her. I was hoping that belting out some Karaoke might raise her spirits and she had charged me with keeping an eye on her. I won’t pretend I wasn’t keen to spend time with her alone, too, but that wasn’t the main reason I volunteered.

So Rene and I said our goodbyes and headed out of the restaurant.

Costume change

Having come straight from work, I still had my uniform on. My uniform only consisted of a polo shirt with the company name on it, but I thought it best to get out of that before heading into the city. I told Rene that we’d have to do a quick stop at my place so I could change, and then we’d be on our way. It’s a bit of a walk from that Restaurant to my shitty little apartment, so I asked Rene if she’d rather walk or catch a cab. She said something like “It’s a nice night, let’s walk and get some fresh air”.

That walk would normally take about 20 minutes if you’re stone cold sober, but we sure weren’t that night. It was pretty fun though. Rene seemed to be full of life again and we were laughing and playing around the whole way. She was comparing certain colleagues to certain cartoon characters and trying to show me on her iPad that they were twins.

It was really nice. I was finally getting to spend a bit of time with Rene away from everyone else and it seemed like whatever had made her cry had been and gone. I’ve had a few walks like that with girls. There’s just something about those occasions. There’s a tension in the air, but it’s a good tension. If you’ve experienced something like that, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Trollied

I mentioned that the walk was taking longer than normal. A side effect of this was that Rene’s shoes had started to get uncomfortable and were hurting her feet. Rene spots an abandoned shopping trolly and asks me if I’ll push her in that.

“Seriously?” I asked her. “Yeah, come on! It’ll be fun!”

Like this, sans groceries

Like this, sans groceries

You know how challenging it is to control a shopping trolly at the supermarket on those perfectly flat floors? You know how you’re constantly battling that one wheel that’s just doing its own damned thing? You know how a trolly just doesn’t give a shit about where you want it to go, be it in a straight line or to change direction?

Yeah, well you should try it on footpaths and roads on hilly streets when the cargo is your boss’s daughter! It was a challenge to say the least!

Again though, it was heaps of fun. We were giggling like school kids. I guess part of it was knowing that we were doing something completely ridiculous that we absolutely shouldn’t have been doing. Another part of that giggling might have had something to do with the fact that we were also getting closer and closer to my place…

Next time

I’ll tell you all about what went down with my boss’s daughter in my shitty little apartment. Spoiler alert, we didn’t end up going to karaoke.

Crazy bitch tip: If you can’t walk in your “shoes” for 20 minutes without suffering significant pain, stop calling them shoes.

Origins #6

17 Jan

So, last time, I was telling you about how everything seemed to be escalating. It really was. It was such a strange time for me. Things seemed to be going equal parts good and bad at the same time. The good parts were off the charts in the good way, and the bad parts were off the chart in the opposite direction. There was very little middle going on.

Goodbye to my car

I forgot to mention earlier on that I was now stuck without a car to get around in. That might not be a big thing where you’re from, but in Perth, that means you’re pretty well screwed. The public transport here will get you where you want to go but it’ll take an inordinately long time. As an example, some mates asked me to fill in for their sports team for the night. I’d normally get to the stadium in half an hour. On public transport it took me an hour and a half, and someone still had to pick me up from the train station! So the round trip was 3 hours to play a 40 minute match. See, I was without a car because, just before I went to Europe, I ran into one of those cops who’s just a cop because it allows him to get away with being a dickhead. There I was driving along in my 1970 Ford Capri doing the speed limit and behaving myself when Officer Cock-Knocker decides he’ll show off to the new recruit partner by pulling me over and having a bit of fun with the fact the has a uniform and a badge and I don’t.

Look at that terrifying death trap. Better pull him over.

Look at that terrifying death trap. Better pull him over.

I pull over when the blue lights flash behind me and Mr Plod is on the attack straight away “What are you doing with this Capri?”, “Is this vehicle stolen?”. “Of course not”, I tell him, “I’ve owned this car for 5 years”. I’m pretty confused why he’s asked such an attacking question to start proceeding. Then he fires out  “This is a British car, why does it have an Australian spoiler on the back?”

Ahhh…. It starts to make sense. Between the accent and these questions it occurs to me he’s English, and he likes his English cars. I explain that this is an Aussie built Capri and the spoiler was an option here. He ignores that bit of rationality and continues pointing out things he doesn’t like about my car. Not things that are illegal or make it unroadworthy, just things he doesn’t like. He asks me why I’ve got bigger brakes than standard and I make the mistake of informing him that I’m going to replace the original V6 motor with a V8.

His whole face went red! I thought steam was going to come out his ears!

It turns out this particular Englishman was a huge Cosworth fan and the idea of me modifying an original Ford Capri GT with anything but Cosworth parts was sacrilege to him. He ranted at me about how “You can’t just modify a piece of motoring history however you want!”, and “You’re disrespecting the British legacy of the Capri!”. All the while I’m just thinking, “Mate, this is my car, I’ll do what I bloody well want with it.”

I was slowly converting the Capri into a race car but the changes I’d made at that point were all to improve safety of the car for the road. Bigger brakes so I can stop in shorter distances, wider tyres for more grip, new seats that actually go further than half way up my back, a limited slip differential to reduce traction problems, etc, etc. All those changes will come in handy once the car is relegated to track use only, but in the meantime I had a car that was much safer to drive on the road than it was when I bought it.

Mr Uniform didn’t give two shits about how much those changes improved the car from a safety perspective. He was unnervingly irate at the fact that I had dared modified a classic Capri and was being weirdly aggressive in his posturing. His rookie colleague seemed a bit put-off by it all too but said nothing. Mr Blue Lights tells me he’s heard enough and tells me I’m getting a Yellow Sticker.

A Yellow Sticker is a defect notice which requires you to take your car to the licensing department for an evaluation. It costs a few hundred dollars to and you only get 10 days to have it done. If you don’t get it done you can’t drive the car on the road anymore. The awesome part was that this happened about 2 days before I was going to Europe and I had absolutely no time to get the car to the pits for the check, so when I got back from Europe, I had a car I wasn’t allowed to drive.

Once I got back I did take the car to the pits but the guys there are really pedantic and you’re not going to get a car from 1970 past them without a shit-tonne of work being done on it. It’s difficult enough to get a modern car past the pits, and even though the mechanic that was looking over my car was quite complimentary about the condition of it, he pointed out things like the headlights not meeting modern brightness requirements and things like that, and it just worked out that it would cost more money to keep the old girl on the road than it would to get the new engine in and get all the other work I’d been planning done. Doing it that way I could kill two birds with one stone by getting it all done at the same time. I sent the Capri off to my mates to get the work done but it was going to take months.

So that left me without a car.

I love that car. I love that she’s a conversation starter. I love that people smile when they see her coming down the road, and that kids get wide eyes and ask their Dad what it is. I love that some bloke literally tried to negotiate buying it off me as we drove down the freeway as he yelled from his car through my passenger window telling me that he’s always wanted one. I love how well that 40 year old engine sounds as she out accelerates more modern cars with ease. But more than all that, I just loved being able to get around and it really, really sucked to have to go without my own mode of transport.

Goodbye favourite band

Ever heard of the band Powderfinger? If you’re not from Australia, the answer is probably a big, fat nope. That’s a damned shame because they were an absolutely fantastic band.

For a long time there, Powderfinger was my favourite band. They dominated the charts here in Australia for over a decade by putting out 5 #1 albums in a row, and by taking out Triple J’s Hottest 100 2 years in a row. They even got 4 albums in Triple J’s 100 Australian albums of all time, including getting 2 albums in the top 10 and taking out the top spot. That’s right, Australia voted Powderfinger’s album Odyssey Number Five as their favourite Aussie album of all time. Personally, I don’t even rate Odyssey Number Five as their best album and I don’t really care about all the awards they got, I just love their music and I was completely gobsmacked by their ability to reach in and touch that indefinable thing that is being Australian.

I can’t explain it. I just know they captured something intangible about Australia and that era and somehow translated it in a way that hit me in a way very few other bands have managed.

My favourite Powderfinger album is Internationalist. It came out in 1998, when I was a little 19 year old pizza delivery boy. It might sound strange, but I learned a lot from that album. One of the common threads on Internationalist is that of people falling prey to watching their lives slip away, day by day. Internationalist hit me right in my head and stuck there.

Because I was working 60 to 90 hour weeks delivering pizzas at the time, I had a lot of time to listen to music, and Internationalist was in extremely high rotation on my car’s cd player. I think that’s a big part of why I took so much from that album. It influenced the way I thought about the world and how to live and still does right through to today.

I’m a musician myself, and in addition to influencing the way I see the world, Powderfinger has also had a massive influence in the way I approach making music and the sort of music I want to make. It was pretty sad news then, when Powderfinger announced they were calling it quits midway through 2010. As is the way with the retirement of musical acts in Australia in recent history, though, they decided to do a farewell tour. It was particularly disheartening for me at the time because they weren’t over the hill, they’d put out a stellar new album called Golden Rule just a few months beforehand. Anyway, I was really disappointed they were calling it a day, but at least I had my ticket to see them one last time. I’m not sure if anyone else will relate to being so horribly bummed out by their favourite band breaking up, but it was big deal to me.

Hopefully it’ll make sense why I’m telling you about this as the story progresses.

Goodbye great manager

Before Gus the devil monster, demon manager came on board, my team had been lead by a really nice bloke. His name was Mike Monarch. Mike’s a bloody champ.

Under Mike’s leadership we’d developed a system that was bringing in about $2,000,000 a year for Everlong. That’s a pretty damned good outcome considering our team was only 5 people at the time. After that project, Everlong decided to chase a few ‘big leads’. One of these big leads was a tender for a massive contract with a mining company. Getting all the documentation in for a tender like that is a massive amount of work and Mike was shifted over to that project and my team was left twiddling our thumbs.

There were good points to being left to our own devices. One of which, was that I had the chance to write some software to make maintaining that million dollar system much simpler. Another was that there was very little stress at work. The downside, however, was that our team couldn’t work on the projects we wanted to (projects which we believed would help make the company money) because we nobody in the team had any authorisation to lead us.

I would often lead the team to do simple little projects. They were just little proof-of-concept projects to show that we were able to create things that we believed were able to bring in an income and we could knock them out in a few days, so I wasn’t concerned with getting in any trouble for taking over the team. But to really do anything worthwhile, like redeveloping the system to work properly on mobile devices for example, we’d need to spend months in development. I wasn’t getting paid to lead the team and I didn’t want to be blamed for taking over the team and doing whatever I felt like, so instead of being unified and progressing projects, we each worked on whatever we thought would be useful.

In hindsight, I really should have taken over the team but I’m just not the sort of guy to go trying to steal power. Everyone would always come to me for guidance anyway and I’d been in the industry long enough to know the right moves. The years that have passed since have well and truly proved that I was on the right track, but hindsight is 20/20 and there ain’t much I can do about it now.

Mike realised we needed someone to lead the team while he was away, so Everlong advertised for a project manager, and in came Gus. What a talented imposter he must have been to get that job! I didn’t like him from the get-go but everyone thought he was ok, so I tried to convince myself I was wrong about him and just get on with my job.

Man, was I an idiot to not trust my gut! It wasn’t long before Gus had started manipulating everyone in the office. He was triggering in-fighting by making underhanded comments and blaming them on other people. He was sucking up to Tim Everlong. He was sneaking his way into the Everlong family’s trust and quietly bad-mouthing Mike and complaining about how little we had to show for the recent months. He was blaming Mike specifically for the lack of productivity and he must have done a pretty good job because Mike was ousted from his job as Gus’s boss, and Gus was given the higher position, leaving Mike in some bullshit demotion job where he was in charge of very little and bombarded with enormous amounts of stress on a daily basis.

Mike went from being a happy, easy-to-talk-to guy who was in good shape and good spirits, to slowly becoming an out of shape, glum, quite, ghost of himself who would occasionally try to force the edges of his face upward into a smile, but was otherwise an automaton with red eyes and a defeated expression.

That was really tough to watch happen to such a nice guy. I would have liked to have done something about it, but we were now under Gus’s complete control, and that was such an unpleasant situation that I was relying on my reserves of patience and ‘just put up with it until Gus actually learns how to do his job’-ness that I didn’t have much time to do much to help Mike.

Goodbye great job

Losing Mike as our manager and having Gus in his place was the key thing that turned my great job into a chore, then into a punishment, and eventually into a torture, but more on that later.

Goodbye Flash

Steve Jobs screwed me over! Well, really Adobe screwed me over and Steve Jobs just chose not to let them screw Apple over too.

See, I was a Flash Developer for a very long time. I did (and still do) work with Javascript, PHP and various other technologies but I had found that Flash was the best technology for the majority of projects I needed to develop in the early years of my career, so I focused on become very, very good at Flash.

At the time I was focusing on Flash development, Flash was available on 99.5% of all internet enabled devices. That made it a pretty safe bet as far as I was concerned. In addition to that, Flash was the only way to achieve all the fancy shit I was trying to build. Back then, if you wanted audio, video, interactivity or animation in your project, your project was going to have to be built in Flash.

For a long time I reaped great rewards by specialising in the use of Flash. I cranked out a lot of work that nobody else in Perth seemed to be able to get anywhere near. At one point I built a complete web browser in Flash! I know this is all nerd-talk but it was really quite cool being one of the top specialists in such a useful technology.

And then the iPhone came out.

The iPhone was the first phone to give you the real internet on your phone. Before that you could maybe read a bit of text from a few specific websites, but the iPhone showed you the actual internet! It showed you the web the same way it looked on your desktop.

Well… almost.

One thing the iPhone didn’t include was Flash. For a while there, that meant that you couldn’t view any videos or animations on your iPhone. Everyone just assumed that Apple would put Flash on the iPhone sooner or later but the iPhone was such a huge deal that many developers were clamouring to make sure their websites could be viewed properly on the magical new devices.

I became quite interesting in the idea of building apps for the iPhone and was trying to chase that up, but Apple won’t let you develop software for their systems unless you use a Mac. I didn’t have a mac and they weren’t keen on buying one at work, so the best I could do was try and find a way to output a Flash app as an iPhone app.

It was right in the midst of this when Gus decided to make us work like maniacs on stupid, useless shit all day everyday. That left me with no time to learn different technologies at work, and so exhausted and dejected when I’d get home from work, that the last thing I wanted to do was more work at my computer at home.

In early 2010, Steve Jobs goes and puts out a letter about why Flash is shit and will never go on any Apple mobile device. The shitty thing about it is, he was absolutely right about those things. And the reason Flash had all those problems was because the company that distributes Flash, Adobe, was more concerned about having Flash everywhere than they were about having Flash be any good. Adobe had bought Flash from another company called Macromedia a few years earlier, and everyone involved in Flash development had pretty major concerns at the time.

Turns out, we were right to be concerned because Adobe really drove Flash into the ground and left Steve Jobs with no choice but to choose not to include it on the iPhone, and in the process completely smashed my specialised skills.

So I owe Adobe a big ‘Fuck you’ and I owe Steve Jobs a punch in the face, because that left me without a specialised skill only a year and a half after the Global Financial Crisis kicked in and ruined the world economy. I therefore owe a lot of shitty bankers a punch in the face too.

The outcome of that situation was that I was pretty stressed about not being able to find another job if that situation was to arise. That’s not a good situation to be in when you’re working for a guy like Gus.

Gathering steam

All of these things had happened in the lead up to the end of September, 2010. All of these things, and everything else I’ve been yapping on about in my previous Origins posts were all coming to a head in September 2010.

September 2010

As I mentioned previously, Rene Everlong had been communicating with me a lot. So much so that her dad, my boss, had mentioned that she brought me up in conversation at family dinners. He pointed out that Rene had challenged me to a match of Wii Tennis and thought I had no hope of beating her. I had, of course, already told Rene that I would demolish her. I’d been playing that game a lot and I was damned good at it. It’s funny thinking back, Tim even seemed a bit perturbed by the fact that Rene and I had been communicating out of work but at the time, I was certain I’d done nothing wrong, so I was in no way concerned about that.

The invitation

Rene had been working at a job her father had gotten for her at a company not too far away from my office. That’s part of the reason she had become a regular visitor at my office, and more specifically, at my desk. Part of Rene working so close by meant that she was being included in any social invitations that were going out to my work crew.

I invited everyone out to see The Expendables, for example, and Rene said she’d come along. I was a bit excited at the prospect of hanging out with her in that scenario and she had been telling me how much she was looking forward to it. Then the night comes and she sends me an sms half an hour before movie time saying that she can’t make. Whatever. I was a bit disappointed I guess but I still got to see all those 80s heroes bumble their way through a terrible plot while stuffing my face with choc bombs, potato chips and soft drink, and laughing my arse off at the ridiculousness of it with the other 7 people from work who had made it along.

Now, I’m sure I mentioned earlier that we had a few social traditions amongst the crew at Everlong. One of them was Tuesday Steak Night at the local pub, and the other was Friday arvo drinks, also at the local pub. Often we’d go for dinner after a Friday afterwork drinks session and take up plenty of seats at any of the many awesome restaurants surrounding our local pub.

The pub we went to was called The Chesterfield. It was a brilliant pub. Cruisy atmosphere, cool staff, cool patrons, great food, great restaurants nearby, easy to get to from work and walking distance from home. What more could a guy ask for?! Rene was well aware of our Friday arvo drinks tradition having come along a few times with her sister for a quiet drink before heading off to whatever fancy evening affair they had planned and leaving us to continue in our merriment sans their company.

One particular week in September, Rene sends me an email from her new job explaining that, while she had only been there about a month, a new guy had come on board, and she thought he was a bit off. She said something about thinking he was suspicious or weird and that she was hoping that, if she brought the people from her work down to The Chesterfield for Friday drinks, I could suss him out.

I don’t know what she expected me to do as far as sussing out this bloke, but if your boss’s daughter implies that someone is making her uncomfortable at her job and asks for your help with that, you say yes, don’t you? I mean, shit, we were going to be at The Chesterfield anyway, what harm could it do to agree to give this bloke a once over and check for any psycho tendencies? So naturally I told Rene telling that her and her colleagues were welcome to join us at The Chersterfield for a few post-work bevvies and that I’d let her know what I think of the new guy she mentioned.

And that was the start of one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.

Next time…

Alrighty, maybe I didn’t quite make it to the night the pin was pulled to the grenade this time, but all of this stuff is really important to the story. Things are really going to start cranking up In Origins #7.

Origins #5

2 Jan

I’d just turned 31 and was settling back into life after a big holiday.

Life wasn’t exactly what I’d expected but I thought I was in a fairly good situation given where I’d started. I’ll tell you more about why having a decent job and a shitty little apartment counted as doing pretty well to me when I explain how I grew up, but that can wait for now. Anyway, I’d just hit 31 and started thinking about where my life was at. I’d also just hooked up with an attractive woman who was 9 years older than me and fallen into a friends-with-benefits relationship with her.

Cougar town

It was pretty cruisy. I don’t think we ever even went out for a meal together. Angelica would come around to my place late-night, 2 or 3 times a week. We’d have some fun and that was that. I don’t think either of us were under any illusions that it would go anywhere. From a sexual experience perspective, it was perfect for me. Angelica was experienced enough to know what she was doing and adult enough to not be self-conscious. I was experienced enough to keep up, but I still learned a few new things along the way as well.

I wish there were more women in the world like Angelica.

Gus oozes on

Back on the work front, I was just trying to weather the idiot storm until something or someone brought some change to the situation.

Gus, the project manager who had loaded so much stress on my shoulders in the previous year continued to do a poor job as a manager. We thought Gus was being pressured by Tim Everlong to get our division to be more productive. The impression Gus gave us was that our division was hanging in the balance, potentially ready to be shut down, so we had to work like crazy for a little while (already over a year) to make sure we all kept our jobs.

Unfortunately for those of us who worked below him, we didn’t realise what Gus was really up to.

One of the methods Gus would use to ‘inspire’ us was pinning a printed out image of a flounder (that’s right, the fish) to the desk of whoever he decided had been floundering. Floundering in this case was meant to suggest that you weren’t doing enough work. So you’d come into work, already dejected just to have to be there, and after days of bashing your head against a brick wall in an effort to achieve some ridiculous, pointless, and often impossible work request and discover that fucking printed picture of a flounder on your desk. I don’t think I’m easily affected by things like that but when you’re already stressed and frustrated, copping an insult on your desk for everyone else to see is a pretty gut-wrenching thing. I certainly didn’t like it, but it hit other staff even harder. One lady started speaking very, very loudly about how offensive it was and I’m certain that I saw more than one other staff member cry as a result of seeing that flounder on their desk.

Seriously! Who does this shit? How is that supposed to positively improve an already declining office morale?

Unqualified

I remember going into Gus’ office one time and catching him listening to project management podcasts. I thought he was listening to them to keep himself up-to-date but he proceeds to tell me that he doesn’t have any project management qualifications, and he’s trying to catch up on that.

That explained a few things.

Actually, that explained a lot. An incompetent manager is a very dangerous thing, but Gus wasn’t just incompetent, he was controlling and manipulative. I didn’t realise that at the time because he was so bad at his job. I just thought he was incapable of managing things well. I wish I’d been paying more attention to him and had picked up the fact that he had a little plan of his own that he was slowly implementing.

Time marches on

Work was shit but I was going out for heaps of dinners and innumerable drinking sessions and that was a great way to help me stop thinking about how shit work had become. Angelica was making regular visits at the time as well and what we were getting up to was another good way to just be in the moment.

At the back of my mind, it had dawned on me that I should start thinking a bit more about where I want to be in life, and what I need to do to work towards that. While everything I was doing outside of work was fun, it was temporary. Aside from some happy memories there was nothing left of it afterwards. I think that’s what your 20s is for, and because I’d spent my 20s running my own business, I missed out on a lot of that. I guess I was trying to catch up a bit but it was mostly just a way to distract myself from the difficulties I’d been dealing with at work.

I know it sounds like I’m bitching about the job I had. The job was only shit because of Gus. I really loved working with my colleagues. I loved that I could walk to work from my place and I loved that I got paid a good wage. It really was just how terrible a job Gus was doing that was making the job so unbearable.

A little ray of sunshine

One little ray of light in my workday was chatting with Laura Everlong in the morning everyday. I didn’t know exactly what was happening but I felt like we were becoming closer. There was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but I knew she was being more open with me. I was getting the vibe that Laura wasn’t with her boyfriend anymore, even though she mentioned him often.

It’s difficult to convert that vibe into words. I just knew there was something changing there, and I liked it. I liked Laura a lot. I was pretty good at not allowing myself to get too much of a crush on her but I admired her and thought of her as a rare mix of soft, elegant, strong, and beautiful.

Messages start coming

At the same time, I started receiving text messages from Rene Everlong. I didn’t give her my phone number, so that was a bit interesting in itself, but they were tame little messages so I didn’t think too much of it. She’d tell me how she’s training for a fun-run, or that she saw me crossing at some traffic lights, or whatever.

Whenever a message came through from her, I’d smile and think “She’s such a goofball”. I liked her and I liked that she was messaging me but I didn’t want any trouble so I was always only cautiously courteous in my replies. Rene had also taken to emailing me at my work email address. The emails were getting longer and more friendly as the weeks went by after the work party.

Between the emails, text messages and random facebook stuff I was probably talking to Rene 4 or 5 times a week. On top of that, she’d often stop by at my office building for a chat because she worked so close by and her sister ran our office. Looking back, it’s easy to see there was an escalation of communication between Rene and me. The messages were increasingly friendly and personal. They were coming through more and more often. There were little hints about times and places of where she’d be and what she’d be doing.

Even with all the communication, I still had it in my head that if Rene wanted to go out with me, she could ask, otherwise, nothing was going to happen.

What I wanted at that time

Turning 31 had made me think about things and the most important insight that came out of that was that I didn’t want to waste my time. I was having fun with Angelica and I was having fun in my social life but I was also conscious that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life just drifting around.

I’d always known deep down inside that everything would work out. I’d always had a confidence that I can’t really explain. I just knew I would get what I wanted. After turning 30 and realising that things hadn’t yet panned out however, doubt had started to creep in.

Doubt is an extraordinarily dangerous thing. I’ve always been a ‘go with the flow’ sort of guy but that little bit of doubt had pushed me to decided I better start making things happen. I figured that if I didn’t start pushing for the things I wanted, I might never get them. I was still confident I’d get what I wanted out of life, but I was trying to take on board the sentiment that you don’t get what you want unless you make things happen for yourself.

What making things happen meant to me by that point was finding a nice girl who I had a real connection with, and have some fun going out to dinners and shows with her. To me the long term wasn’t so important, I figured being with a girl who I was really into was the most important part and I could figure the rest of it out later.

I had enough money rolling in that I could afford to show someone a good time and still cover my mortgage, and I wanted to share my time with someone in a more intimate way than what had been happening with Angelica. As fun as that was, I was after an emotional connection.

Passing thoughts

I wasn’t hung up on any of this stuff. It was there in the back of my mind but I wasn’t thinking about it very much. I was more focused on getting by and trying to enjoy life. I still assumed things would work out if I just play it smart and do what I should do.

Despite feeling a bit doubtful about some things, I was feeling very confident about others. I was managing to find ingenious solutions to the ridiculous bullshit Gus was asking for. I was getting a lot of interest from women too, and not just women I knew. Women were flirting with me everywhere I went and I was feeling very, very confident as a result.

I guess the fact that I’d lost 20kg in the previous 2 years was helping, and all the positive attention I’d been getting had given me a bit of a swagger in my step. All I needed to do was to get the situation with Gus sorted out, find a cool girl, and life would be glorious.

And along came September

I mentioned how everything was escalating with Rene. It wasn’t just with her. It was with Laura, with work, with my social life, my self-reflection, it was everything. My whole life was ramping up towards something.

And that leads me to September 2010, the month my boss’s daughter stayed the night at my place. I’ll tell you about that next time.

Crazy bitch tip: Think about what other people are going through before you dump your crazy shit on them and expect them to solve it all for you.

Origins #4

21 Dec

I’d just gotten back from Europe. I didn’t want that party to end. I didn’t want to slot back into the stressful, pressured, mindless existence my life had been before I’d gone away.

I tried to keep the party going by making sure that my friends and I were going out as often as possible, that we weren’t missing any chances to take part in the fun that life has to offer.

shuttingthisbitchdownReally all I was doing was trying to fight off the stress that I knew would take over again and leave me hating waking up, because waking up meant I’d have to go in to work.

Holiday talk

In the first few days back at work, everyone wanted to know all about my trip. I remember that Tim Everlong and his cousin, Jeff (my project manager’s manager), kinda cornered me to get some details out of me about the fun I had. I was trying to keep the various romantic/sexual escapades I’d gotten up to fairly quiet but they both wanted to live vicariously through me and eventually convinced me to give them some of the details. They loved hearing about it and I figured “Who cares? It’s not like they’re going to run into any of the girls I was with.”

It’s not like I went crazy over there anyway. I mean, I hooked up with about 6 girls in the 6 weeks I was there. If anything, that’s probably less than you’d expect given the circumstances.

Christmas in July, in August

I’d only been back a few weeks before it was time for the my work’s mid-year party. The party was August 4th, 2010. I know this because I was double-booked between my work party, and attending my good friend Kym’s 30th birthday.

As with every other work party, Rene Everlong was there. Rene was very keen to talk to me, even more keen than usual. The second I see her she calls out, “Hey, I’ve saved you a seat! Come sit here with me!”Of course I go and sit with her and we’re chatting away. I’m answering all her questions about my trip and somehow we start getting into some other territory. Rene asked me “What are things a girl shouldn’t do on a first date?” and “How is a girl supposed to let a guy know that she likes him?”, and a lot of other things about dating and relationships. My answers were pretty straight forward, “Don’t be rude to your waiter”, “If you like someone, ask them out”.

flirting-hintsI got the vibe that I was supposed to take those questions as hints but I just kept the conversation rolling because I’m not exactly going to get very flirty with my boss’s daughter at a work function, now am I?

The conversation went all over place. Rene mentioned that she has a fear of commitment because she moved to France to be with a guy, and he went and cheated on her. I told her that I have the same issue, but mine comes from the failure of my parents’ relationship, and from the following failure of my mother’s relationship with my stepfather. I explained that I’ve seen the chaos that happens when relationships fall apart, so I’m very careful before I let myself get in involved. It was nice to get into such a personal conversation with Rene and understand her a little better.

I was double booked, so I had to head off but just before I left, I told Rene that the guy in France is a complete idiot for cheating on her. A huge smile took over her face and I realised I might have just let the cat out of the bag a little. I didn’t mind, though. If I hadn’t worked for her father I would have asked her out, hell, I probably would have kissed her, but the situation prohibited such things and I just gave her a little hug and headed off to the other party.

My 31st birthday party

As it happens, my birthday is in August. Just a few days after the work do, it was time to go out and celebrate my 31st tour of the sun, so out went the invites to the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday party. I sent the invite out to everyone I work with and all the rest of my friends. The invite was something along the lines of: “Pub crawl. Starting at Pub A. Proceeding to wherever we end up. Come one, come all!”

I didn’t really think about it, but that invite also went to my manager Laura, and her sister Rene. I was pretty surprised to see them both at pub #5. I try not to drink at all around the higher-ups at work, so seeing my manager at my party was a bit nerve-wracking, especially because the bouncer decided I was too drunk to even be allowed into this particular pub. Being the adventurous and foolhardy bloke that I am, however, I just jumped the little wall and flopped into the party right along side the manager of my building. Hrmm. Hindisght’s an interesting thing, isn’t it?

Anyway, my nerves about running into my manager were quickly squashed when I realised Laura Everlong was at least as drunk as I was!

Rene was stone cold sober as best I can remember, but I was a good 5 pints in by that stage. I remember doing a bit of cheeky flirting with Laura and she was flirting back, which was fun and completely harmless. I know I spoke with Rene a little bit, but the only thing I really remember is that I asked her if she was a lesbian.

I know it was a joke and was some sort of effort to check if she was still single, but geez it seems like a stupid thing to go asking your boss’s daughter when you’re drunk. Whatever, that’s the least of my concerns as you’ll learn from the rest of the story. Anyway, Laura had to be at some event the next morning and the rest of my party brigade were ready to head off to the next pub, so we said our goodbyes to the Everlong girls for the night.

As the night progressed, the group grew smaller and smaller, until eventually there were only a handful of us left. One of these people was a woman named Angelica. Angelica was a friend of a friend, quite beautiful and though you wouldn’t know it to look at her, she was 9 years my senior. Angelica had been quite flirtatious with me through the night but I assumed she had a boyfriend and was just doing that thing that girls do when they go out, y’know, where they act like they’re single but they’re just enjoying the attention? It turned out that Angelica was, in fact, single and her flirtiness was not as toothless as I’d expected. And… well… I spent the later hours of my birthday learning that Angelica had a great apartment right there in the city, and that it had a really comfy bed.

It’s strange, later the next day I noticed some scratches down my back. If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn that a cougar had gotten hold of me.

31! What the hell does that mean?

It started to kick in that I was 31, not married, had no kids, was not any sort of world-famous success, and that in general my life had not turned out quite like I had expected.

It’s not like I was desperate to have a wife and kids but I had always liked the idea of meeting the right woman and cranking out some ankle biters. I assumed that would have sorted itself out by the time I hit 30, but there I was at 31 and it was still not even on the horizon. To be fair, I had specifically decided not to get married to my ex even though I know she would have said yes if I’d asked her. We would have had kids and bought a house and all that, but I knew she wasn’t the woman I was supposed to marry, so I didn’t. Instead I ended up 31 with no wife and no kids, sort of by choice.

Career-wise, things were going relatively well. Sure, my job was torturous and soul-destroying, but at the time I thought the higher ups would identify that my project manager, Gus, was an incompetent psycho and give him the boot, or that he’d eventually learn how to do the job properly and stop overloading me, and everyone else, with work. Either way, I figured my job would get back to normal sooner or later. The pay was good and I was a little extra proud that I was making that much despite never getting a degree.

From a wealth perspective, I knew I should have accrued more by that point, but I’d spent my money on experiences and I was ok with that. I had my shitty little apartment and that meant that my money wasn’t entirely going to waste. Over time I knew it’d be worth something, and I’d always have somewhere to live as long as I continued to pay the mortgage.

Hey! wasn’t this a story about you ending up in bed with your boss’s daughter?

Yeah, yeah. I’m getting there.

Tune in next time for origins #5, where I’ll tell you about how my chance run-in with a cougar became a regular mauling.

Crazy bitch tip: If you like a guy, you’ll have more luck with actually asking him out than you will by firing hundreds of carefully planned and targeted facial expressions at him.

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