1 week seems like a lifetime. Thats how long I was off work and holed up in a hotel in another part of town attending a ‘compulsory'(if I don’t attend I don’t get promoted) professional advancement course. It was nice for the first few days but the novelty wore off quickly and soon after it became an endless stream of mind-numbing lectures interspersed with the odd how-to-be-a-great-leader videos.
The good part was meeting up with some old friends and also making some new ones. The group that I ended up with for the obligatory team-building activities was both easy going and friendly. Everyone was respectful of each other and things went on swimmingly. In fact I was struck by how easy it was with this group of strangers. There is hope yet for people in my profession!
Things culminated this morning with a session on public-speaking. All participants were made to stand up in front of the group and talk for 10 minutes on a topic of their choice. The initial awkwardness quickly melted away and soon the room was filled with talk on bioterrorism, tourism, smiling, sharing, global warming, Germany, fine arts, the history of cellular phones and the camera, getting a stroke, looking for the perfect bride etc. Everyone had great fun and I dare say it was the best part of the whole course.
It left me with a sweet aftertaste and at the end of the day I get a pay rise. Whats there to complain? Nothing actually.
After years spent reading music magazines, here is what I would say of my fictitious hipper-than-thou band in an interview.
1. The new album is it. Everything that came before it is crap with a capital C. (Until the next album. Then this one becomes crap too)
2. We had to let the drummer go because of musical differences but we are still firm friends. (Bullshit! He is an asshole and he stole my girlfriend)
3. We are getting back after breaking up 10 years ago because we feel that we still have things to say. (Our bank accounts are dry and the only person who bought the solo record is my grandma)
4. The new record producer is bitchin’ (The record company paid the guy a sum that would feed a small country for a year, so he better be bitchin’)
5. Drugs are bad for you. Just say no, kids! (I have stopped drugs but am now downing oceans of alcohol. Hey its legal, ok?)
6. We have decided to ditch all real instruments in the spirit of experimentation and gone electronica (We have run out of ideas and now depend on computers to write the songs)
7. We are never performing live. I am a sensitive artiste and cannot stand the bright lights. (After years of alcoholic abuse I am now so fat that I couldn’t be arsed to get off the couch. Besides I would probably get a coronary if I as much as lift a finger)
8. I am not doing it for the money. I still can’t afford my own apartment. (I am so hopeless in balancing a checkbook that my accountant swindled all our money)
9. Our breakup was totally amicable. (I broke my guitar over the head of the bassist)
10. I called the last interviewer after he left just to make sure that he got home alright. (Please please please write a good review of our new release!)
Epiphany – a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience
Of all places, in a car workshop. Surrounded by the smell of grease and rubber, I suddenly asked myself, “Is that it?” After almost 4 decades of life on this planet, what do I have to show for it? Ok this is cliche‘d but I swear it struck me like a train. Being the coward that I am I quickly pushed it out of my head and made a conscious effort to count the number of moles on the mechanic’s forearm.
Without dwelling on it for too long (yes, I am chicken shit), in that moment I felt as if I have reached the limit of what life has to offer me. Beyond this, I was staring at a pointless future of repetition and routine. No more wonder or awe. Every human experience tried and tested. This last statement cannot be true seeing how I am but one human in an infinite sea of possibilities but at that moment that was what I felt.
24 hours later and I am here trying to make some sense out of it. Yikes! Mid-life crisis, here I come!
I was having dinner at an upscale establishment last night as a part of my monthly ‘pamper-self-once-a-month’ campaign. I couldn’t help over hearing the conversation between a couple just behind me. The woman was on a roll while the man just nodded sagely no doubt bored out of his head and going through mentally the myriad ways he would employ to shut her face up. See, she was rattling on about work in a slow but steady tone listing down the different nationalities of her colleagues in the office. There’s French, Indonesian, African, Indian, Bangladeshi etc etc. She went on in this vein for a good 5 minutes. Yes we get the message; you work with people from many different countries but do you have to enumerate each and every one?!
After taking a sip of her tea, she went on in great detail about the various job description of each one of them while I mentally looked for a shiny fork to poke her eyes out. Good conversation is as dead as disco.