An average day

felix's picture

What to write?

It's a common question in my head.  I read many books, they're sometimes entertaining, sometimes dull but educational (the literary equivalent of porridge), sometimes they revolutionise how I see things.   That last category is something that seems to happen less and less these days.  Perhaps the brain is wired to accept revolutionary thoughts when you're 20 to 30 years old, and as you age, the brain resists attempts to have the status quo overthrown.

Although more likely, as you age you resist your surroundings less and less. Perhaps a daily job has the Dao effect of the uncarved stone in a river - it turns you into the shape that best fits.

Anyway, getting off topic there.  I was trying to say that I often end up writing nothing because I think everything in my life or day has already been written. It takes a certain amount of ego to get past that belief and write down details. It's admitting that your life has meaning, that it's special and different somehow. Or maybe, as I hope in this case, what is ordinary to you is uinusual to others.

What's ordinary for me is that S and I have both bought into the whole 'work for someone else for a living' story. What is unusual is that we're doing it although we both know that we're immune to any of the benefits of such a life. Effectively we've traded in our working hours purely for immediate protection from homelessness and starvation.

Being junkies, all that stuff that's meant to be a part of working - retirement, advancement, material goods accruing - all that's so much chaff in the wind.  S got paid 6:34PM Thursday night. We know to a few minutes when her funds will hit the bank and be 'ATM ready' because it's something we've watched using internbet banking, hitting refresh refresh refresh.

Technology has taken us off the main street standing next to an ATM for an hour, and put us wherever we want - still tied to the umbilical of the bank's data feed, but now we're out of sight.  I am old enough to remember those days of standing under a 100 watt glare in the city, circling around an ATM that just kept giving bad news - again and again and again.  Tempers mounting and sickness peaking.

Daylight saving, interbank transfers - all these details have been stored in my head so I can determine what time money turns up if you transferred from Westpac to Suncorp.  (For the record, transferring to Suncorp is a bad idea if you're in a hurry.  Credit Unions post a  credit the same day when you go Suncorp TO Credit Union.  When it's Credit Union TO Suncorp the earliest you will see a credit  is the next day. If you missed some crucial (and always unpublished) cut-off point then it will be anot\her day again).

So S gets paid, 6:34PM. We can schedule this in synch with a dealer, so reliable is the bank's delivery.  We can be on our way from home to his, timed to arrive at the petrol station ATM near his place at 6:40.  This six minute wiggling room is evidence of our maturity, of the growth we've experienced these last two decades.  In our youth we would have been at the dealer's suburb at 6:30, hitting the ATM every minute until it fed us.

So, the first chunk of her pay is gone Thursday night.  Friday, after work, the next 30% of it goes to another dealer who we hope is better than teh night before's.  Saturday, today, we blow all the rest of it in two fairly unsatisfying deals.  Being broke is guaranteed, satisfaction just an occasional perk.

Like that six minute wiggle room, S and I have also evolved an ability to retain maybe 80 to 100 dollars from her pay.  That amount, because it is too little for us both to get stoned on, and experience has shown it's almost enough to drag us through the rest of the week until my payday, on an alternate fortnight cycle (and don't think that was by accident!  Job interviews are all well and good, but the only question I ever want answered but can never ask - what data do you next pay and what's the cycle) where we do the whole thing again.

Somewhere between Thursday evening and Saturday morning, S and I have both recharged our GoCards to keep us moving. And we've both paid our chemists for another week's doses of methadone ($75 between both of us). S will get a pouch to roll, I may or may not get some groceries.  Often we will go four weeks without a trip to the grocer.

Anyway, that's what's normal for 'a modern working couple' in suburban Brisbane in 2015.  Obviously I know everyone doesn't live like this.  I think Australian junk using rates are at around 1%, and many of those would be casual occasional users.

But for S and I, there's no relaxed approach. We're addicted and what we signed up to as a 'Methadone Treatment Plan'  in the 1990's has, quietly in the night, been renamed a 'Methadone Maintenance Plan'. As in, you're on it for life.  So when S and I get to whatever age is no-more-working age, we'd better have struck it rich or we're toast.  

Now there's a thought to motivate yourself.

Comments

sayarsan's picture

Asked literally the question becomes something of considerable complexity. I know the feeling, as we settle into a routine there doesn't seem to be any action much to interrupt it. Given the circumstances we are obliged to try and keep a low profile anyway. I am currently trying to get through a book by some fellow who is describing a life where he feels a sense of destiny associated with apocalyptic expectations, the future of religion, fractal brain theory,science and religion; the sort of stuff that is familiar to the new age types with a history of taking hallucinogenics and a few transcendental experiences. A long way from the complete guide to Asian secret societies like the Triads and the Yakuza to name two, an authoritative work by Bert Lintner.

 

I can't seem to get hooked by Wai Tsang's 'Quest' to the point where I start at page one and finish at the end but it has a certain freshness in parts that keeps me interested. The possibilities created by modern communication, computers and the internet are something that has tantalised me since I first came across the collective intelligence expressed in the experiment with a jar full of jelly beans and a large sample of people are asked to estimate their number. Another manifestation of this collective intelligence was during and after the tsunami which struck the south of Thailand causing widespread destruction. More than one commentator mentioned how twitter and social network sites provided a more immediate and comprehensive picture of the event than any of the commercial media could provide.

 

In some respects it is as if the development of the internet is like a grand experiment with as yet unthought of consequences. Presumably various commercial and military concerns have more specific goals to achieve. It seems that people who take hallucinogens have more interesting ideas than junkies but at the same time they seem self-indulgent or self-absorbed.

 

Other than reviews of books, videos and music I get a degree of satisfaction from keeping track of developments in Myanmar which is still a major source of the worlds highest grade heroin although most of the main insurgent groups have signed ceasefire agreements in the hope of finding a political solution to the intractable civil war there. Commercial development is a serious threat to the various ethnic minorities, specifically the damming of the Salween River which is one of the three major rivers to come down from the Himalayas and through South East Asia. The Yangtze River and the Mekong River are the other two and both have been dammed already by Chinese companies but Australia's Mt Kosciuszko Authority is the consultant company for the project on the Salween. To write anything detailed about this topic requires a deal of communication with the groups representing the affected minorities which demands a degree of patience but fortunately the main groups have a presence on Facebook.

 

I confess readily that often I am confronted with the question posed at the start of your blog even when I have a few items I am working on at any one time, there is no desperate rush to create material and quality of material is a prime consideration when dealing with events here and overseas. Finally, what has become a repetitious behaviour performed out of physiological necessity seems mundane to the person engaged in it but to others it is perhaps quite interesting. One indulgence most junkies seem to mostly allow each other is the comparison of each others usage routines.

sayarsan's picture

Asked literally the question becomes something of considerable complexity. I know the feeling, as we settle into a routine there doesn't seem to be any action much to interrupt it. Given the circumstances we are obliged to try and keep a low profile anyway. I am currently trying to get through a book by some fellow who is describing a life where he feels a sense of destiny associated with apocalyptic expectations, the future of religion, fractal brain theory,science and religion; the sort of stuff that is familiar to the new age types with a history of taking hallucinogenics and a few transcendental experiences. A long way from the complete guide to Asian secret societies like the Triads and the Yakuza to name two, an authoritative work by Bert Lintner.

 

I can't seem to get hooked by Wai Tsang's 'Quest' to the point where I start at page one and finish at the end but it has a certain freshness in parts that keeps me interested. The possibilities created by modern communication, computers and the internet are something that has tantalised me since I first came across the collective intelligence expressed in the experiment with a jar full of jelly beans and a large sample of people are asked to estimate their number. Another manifestation of this collective intelligence was during and after the tsunami which struck the south of Thailand causing widespread destruction. More than one commentator mentioned how twitter and social network sites provided a more immediate and comprehensive picture of the event than any of the commercial media could provide.

 

In some respects it is as if the development of the internet is like a grand experiment with as yet unthought of consequences. Presumably various commercial and military concerns have more specific goals to achieve. It seems that people who take hallucinogens have more interesting ideas than junkies but at the same time they seem self-indulgent or self-absorbed.

 

Other than reviews of books, videos and music I get a degree of satisfaction from keeping track of developments in Myanmar which is still a major source of the worlds highest grade heroin although most of the main insurgent groups have signed ceasefire agreements in the hope of finding a political solution to the intractable civil war there. Commercial development is a serious threat to the various ethnic minorities, specifically the damming of the Salween River which is one of the three major rivers to come down from the Himalayas and through South East Asia. The Yangtze River and the Mekong River are the other two and both have been dammed already by Chinese companies but Australia's Mt Kosciuszko Authority is the consultant company for the project on the Salween. To write anything detailed about this topic requires a deal of communication with the groups representing the affected minorities which demands a degree of patience but fortunately the main groups have a presence on Facebook.

 

I confess readily that often I am confronted with the question posed at the start of your blog even when I have a few items I am working on at any one time, there is no desperate rush to create material and quality of material is a prime consideration when dealing with events here and overseas. Finally, what has become a repetitious behaviour performed out of physiological necessity seems mundane to the person engaged in it but to others it is perhaps quite interesting. One indulgence most junkies seem to mostly allow each other is the comparison of each others usage routines.