Tag Archives: Tim Everlong

Origins #15

19 Jun

Picking up where I left off, I was figuring out the best way to ask out my boss’s daughter after she’d spent the night at my place. Look, to be completely honest, I can’t remember if I asked Rene out on the Sunday evening or waited ’til Monday. I think it was Sunday but gimme a break ok, it was nearly 5 years ago.

Actually, part of the reason I’m trying to write this all down is so I’ve got a half accurate version of the events that took place before I forget them all. The tough part is that it was a downright awful experience to go through, so it’s not exactly fun trying to remember it in fine detail. Anyway…

Time to ask Rene out

Unlike her sister Laura, Rene didn’t work at Everlong, so I wouldn’t be seeing her in person anytime soon. I guess I could have called her, but we’d never called each other before and after the somewhat dramatic turn of events the weekend had become, I wasn’t inclined to fall into a super awkward conversation on the phone. I instead went the SMS route. I spent a bit of time thinking about what to write, but in the end I just said exactly what I was thinking. It was something like:

Hey, wanna catch up sometime this week? Friday got a bit full on, so I reckon we find something nice and chill to do and just hang out.

Then came the always fun waiting for the response phase of the sms communication medium. I have at times stressed out like crazy while waiting for a response to a message like that, but I don’t think I was that stressed about this one. I figured that after Rene literally demanded that I ask her out, the odds were in my favour. Even if she said no, that would be a way out of a hugely complex situation anyway, so it was kinda win, win.

The response is in

Pretty quickly after sending my message to Rene, my phone uttered that classic Nokia sms received tone. Rene’s response was in: Yes. Sounds good. How about Wednesday night? Hey, hey! That was what I wanted to hear. Straight forward. Easy. No fuss. No confusion. Fantastic! And there I was fretting about it being a big deal and making what was already an extremely complicated time in my life even more complicated. Phew! excellent I can’t claim that is 100% exactly what Rene sent, but I remember very clearly that she used the word “Yes” and not “yeah” or “ok”, but specifically the word “yes”. It’s a weird detail to remember but it stuck with me because it seemed kind of formal. Not that it bothered me. Quite the opposite, actually. “Yes” seemed like the best possible answer.

Like I said before, it was a pretty huge thing for me to admit to Rene that I liked her and it had put me in a really weird situation, so it really was a big relief to get that message back and to know that we were still on the same page. I figured we’d just let things play out and see what happens.

Monday always comes around to spoil the weekend

Monday shows up too early as always and this one was particularly unwanted because it meant facing whatever assumptions my colleagues had made about the fact that I left the restaurant with Rene. And assume they did. I always got into work nice and early, about 7:30, so I could get out early to get to the shops and whatever, so I was at my desk before anyone else arrived for the day.

One by one they came in, each with the same insinuations about me having to worry about my job because I obviously had sex with the boss’s daughter and her dad would find out and fire me. Each time I had to explain that nothing untoward had happened, that Rene had fallen asleep on my couch and that was the full extent of the evening’s adventures. innocent Yeah, I was lying, but I was lying specifically because I’d been asked to by Rene. I don’t like lying. I don’t like secrets. I don’t like whispering. I don’t like gossip. I certainly don’t like having to intentionally mislead people I work with all day, every day, who I considered friends, but I’d been asked to, so I lied.

The news spread quickly that Rene had stayed over at my place and I started getting emails from the girls at the other office. I spent more time trying to politely disregard inquiries about my supposed sexual escapades with my boss’s daughter than working that morning. I was already stressed out with everything else. The last thing I wanted was to be the focal point of all that gossip. It’s not like I had any choice, though. After Mike had seen us walking back to Rene’s car there was little choice but to come up with an explanation and stick to it.

Rene’s parents were overseas

Someone had told me on Friday night that Tim Everlong and his wife were away for two weeks. That knowledge at least was one minor positive in what I was expecting to be an increasingly complex situation. If nothing else, at least I’d have a bit of time to let everything settle before they’d be back and asking questions. Or so I thought. wrong Rene’s parents may well have been away for two weeks but not long after lunch, as a complete surprise to me, Rene’s father Time Everlong comes strolling into the open plan office in which I worked. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Tim was a very friendly bloke who would roam around chatting with us all and making jokes and generally being the sort of company owner that you dream of having. This unexpected visit was no exception, except that this time I was crapping my dacks expecting him to fire me any second, but he spent so much time joking around with everyone that I started to relax a bit.

Did everyone have a good Friday night?

The fact that he hadn’t spoken to me directly was a bit of a cause for concern but I started to assume he hadn’t heard anything and that it’d surface another day and I’d deal with it then. What a relief! At least that had worked out in my favour for now. After Tim had done his rounds of talking to every single person in that office except me, he headed towards the door not far from my desk. I figured he was about to leave.

Sure he hadn’t spoken to me personally but that was no big deal, totally just a coincidence, and frankly I would have been very uncomfortable trying to talk to him with full knowledge of what I’d gotten up to with his daughter over the weekend while he was none the wiser. But as Tim got the door he didn’t say goodbye, as anticipated. No. Instead, Tim turned and looked at me directly for the first time that visit and said in a very loud voice,

“So, did everyone have a good Friday night?”

The entire room went silent. Every eye in the place was aimed directly at me, including Tim’s, who were locked on mine, which had instantly widened to the size of saucers. I’m not sure how long passed as the owner of the company I worked for, who was under the impression that I’d fucked his little princess’s brains out a few days prior, eyeballed me, but it felt like about a decade or so. Tim eventually turned away and walked out through the open doorway.

SMH

A pregnant pause had consumed the entire place and brought with it an ominous silence.  That silence was broken by the thump of my forehead against my desk. headdesk Milliseconds after the sound of my noggin colliding with my grey, generic office desk had reverberated through that  office, the whole place erupted with laughter so raucous I was surprised the windows didn’t blow out. laughing-at I sat and shook my head while the whole office laughed their arses off at me. I was the unwilling star of a sit-com and my colleagues were providing the laugh track. mj-smh

Next time…

So that was how Monday went, I’ll be back to tell you how the rest of that ridiculous week played out. Trust me, this is only the start of my personal sit-com hell.

Origins #14

15 Apr

I was in recovery mode after spending the night with my boss’s daughter.

I don’t remember exactly what I did for the rest of the day after Rene dropped me home. I do remember that my hangover felt something akin to being a frog trying to swim through a washing machine and was demanding my full attention. My consideration and evaluation of the complexities of the situation with had to wait until my liver and kidneys did their part.

Goodbye, Saturday

When I was feeling a little more human again I started to consider the situation. It was a tough spot.

I was already dealing with so much else and the potential drama inherent in getting involved with the boss’s daughter was only going to add to the other stress I was dealing with. On the other hand, I’d liked Rene for a long time and I was absolutely stoked that we’d finally gotten past all the bullshit and gotten it out in the open that we were attracted to each other.

I don’t think I dwelt on it all much throughout that Saturday. I probably watched v8supercars or stared mindlessly at episodes of The IT Crowd, or Community, or Lost, or Breaking Bad, or whatever else I was binge watching at the time. I was no doubt doing my level best to distract myself from what I was going to have to deal with sooner or later, even if I didn’t realise that at the time.

Saturday came and went and nothing happened. My impression of a vegetable continued right through until bedtime, at which point I drifted into the arms of slumber once more hoping that I’d wake up into a world far less complex than the one I left when I closed my eyes.

Sunday, thoughtful Sunday

Sunday arrived a lot more gently than Saturday had. I was feeling like myself again and had accepted that today was the day I was going to figure out what to do about the situation with Rene. I hadn’t contacted her Saturday, so I figured I’d better send something through.

The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I had to figure out if I actually wanted to go ahead with it. I knew that I’d told Rene that I’d ask her out but I was pretty smashed at the time and wasn’t exactly evaluating my decisions particularly well. I had to decide what I really wanted and what I wanted to do about it.

I lost most of that Sunday mulling it over.

thinkingI really liked her but there was no getting around the fact that her father was my boss, or that getting involved with Rene would get the gossip mill running itself into a frenzy the minute anyone heard. On the work front, I assumed that Gus would soon be ousted and we’d get back to the awesome working environment that I’d experienced before his arrival, and this thing with Rene was a risk that might stop things ever getting back to being easy and fun there like they used to be.

And there was also my proclivity to keep life as simple as possible. Getting involved with Rene was undoubtedly wrought with drama.

But I eventually acknowledged that those concerns were outdated seeing that I’d already gotten involved with Rene. There was no point pretending nothing had happened. We’d hooked up. We’d made it clear we were interested in each other. There was no undoing that, no going back. I was going to have to deal with whatever fallout came my way.

Having accepted that reality, I began evaluating the situation from a different perspective.

What if I think of her as Rene and not just as my boss’s daughter?

Rene was a stunningly beautiful woman. She came from a tight-knit, caring, wealthy family. She was witty, funny, clever, sweet and was nearing the end of her law studies. Rene and her family were constantly participating in charitable events and had always appeared kind, compassionate, caring and sensible people. Rene had always struck me as a generous and charitable young woman in her own right. Looking at it from that perspective, I couldn’t deny that I was essentially debating weather or not I wanted to go out with the girl of my dreams. All of a sudden it seemed like a pretty stupid question.

The girl who I thought was utterly awesome had been so interested in me that she couldn’t help but cry over the fact that I hadn’t made a move on her. I took that to mean she was pretty keen on me. For the first time in my life, someone I thought was too good for me thought I was too good for her. Man, that’s the good stuff. That’s what people chase their whole lives. That’s the sort of thing you take a risk on.

And so I concluded I’d be a coward and a fool not to go ahead with asking Rene out.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal

I rationalised that it didn’t have to be a big deal anyway, not right away anyway. We could just hang out for a while and keep it quiet while we figured out how we got along. If everything went well we’d eventually have to come clean but I already had a good rapport with her family and assumed that if it was obvious I was genuinely interested in Rene, and was treating her well, they wouldn’t necessarily be against me being with her. I got a bit optimistic and wondered if they might even like the idea.

We’d already gotten past what usually happens in the first few dates, we’d just done it all in one night. I remember thinking that was pretty cool because it took a lot of the stress out of it, but I thought it best that if I was going to play the ‘under the radar’ game, we’d better keep things a bit less hands on at the start. I could handle Tim Everlong finding out I was seeing his daughter without him knowing, but I figured getting properly intimate with her could wait until we figured out what we were actually doing.

So that left me with exactly what I’d been looking for: a woman I was properly interested in who I could spend time with doing fun things. Nothing serious, just a cruisy situation where we could get together and go out to dinners and see movies and shows and whatever else we felt like doing. If it progressed from there, that’d be awesome. If it didn’t, whatever, no dramas, we wouldn’t have to tell anyone about it. We could avoid the all drama until there was a situation in which the drama would be justified. It was a win-win situation.

Ask her out already

So I’d figured all that out, and all I had to do was ask Rene out.

Yeah… um… that should have been an easy thing to do, right? Turns out that trying to find the right words was far from simple and there’s that “wait three days” rule thing, so I pussied out and decided to wait for Monday instead. Judge me all you want. It was a fucking tough situation.

At least I knew what I was going to do.

Back soon

OK, so that may not have been the most exciting post but it is somewhat important to the overall story. Things will start sparking up again in the next post.

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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