Ten years ago…

In the so-so Clive Barker novel Imajica the character John Furie Zacharias, also known as Gentle, has been alive for over 200 years but without realising it, as his memories fade after ten years.

On discovering this fact and asked why he never realised his memory was incomplete he responds along the lines that firstly, no one can actually remember when things actually occurred – was a particular event five years ago or fifteen? – and secondly that no one really recalls memories older than ten years on a daily basis.

Today is my ten years working for the same employer. Besides 88 days half-pay long service leave, a crappy corporate token and a new lanyard I do get the odd situation of knowing exactly what I was like, doing and thinking in April 2000AD.

I had a crush on a girl called Megan. She worked in the IKEA cash office and twentieth-century-style-pirate that she was, once lent me the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer recorded off the TV onto 4 hour VHS tapes (ads paused out) so I could watch it during the week after I got run over by a car. She was considered skittish around IKEA so I tried to think of a non-confrontational way to ask her out which ended up as “Would you mind if I asked you out to the movies and dinner sometime?”. Everyone thought that was pretty good but her answer was “Yes, I’d mind”. Pwn.

I didn’t own a mobile phone. I wouldn’t for another six months. I owned one phone for five years (Nokia 3210). Now I have a new phone every year and can’t walk from one room to the next without it. As a side effect of this condition, clothing without pockets annoys me.

I didn’t own a car and wouldn’t for another seven years.

I didn’t own a ukulele and wouldn’t for another nine years. I would have been hard pressed to tell you what a ukulele was or to spell it.

Apple products, especially their computers shat me. Mostly due to an “Apple bore” (more commonly known as Apple fanboys these days) who used to annoy me at work so I went out and purchased a computer off Gateway (fail) with a $2000 huge 19″ CRT monitor which would obviously last me ten years (fail, thanks LCD) on Windows Millennium Edition (fail). To reinstall Windows ME takes slightly longer than it takes to watch Titanic on VHS, which I did every six months for three years until I gave up and bought a dome-shaped swivel monitor iMac (win).

I remember for almost a year being stunned by my new job and new employer. Phone rep, no responsibility, more pay than IKEA plus a yearly bonus and instead of the ten to fourteen hour days that were the norm at IKEA, my employer made you log off and go home at the end of your shift. If you didn’t, it could throw the call routing off.

This led me to understand that, most of the time, working long hours was actually bullshit and started me on the long path towards realising my idle philosophy of life.

I weighed forty kilos less ten years ago than I do now. That means I’m 50% heavier than I was then (go on maths geniuses, you know you want to work it out). I guess spending half your day running around giant IKEA warehouses was actually good for you.

I was dreading the Sydney Olympics. It seemed to be a waste of time, money, completely corrupt (Kevan Gosper, I’m looking at you) and going to cause chaos. Until I caught the Olympic bug two weeks before and desperately purchased ticketsโ€ฆ to the placing rounds ofโ€ฆ handball. As it turns out I got to watch Argentina (qualified by being the South American champions 1999) and Australia (qualified by beingโ€ฆ the host nation) battle it out for 15th and 16th, out of sixteen competitors. Argentina won big time.

I used a LOT of speed, about a gram a week. This it turns out is a beneficial parenting thing to have done, because now I’ll know in seconds if my daughters ever use coke, speed, pot or e’s. Really, ’twas all research.

That said, I had decided to give up all of the above. Sitting around a restaurant table at my 25th birthday, I looked around at everyone getting drunk and thought “Is this it?” I realised I really, really wanted to be a Dad and to start looking for a wife. Call centres are fun and after an especially fun 2000 in late 2001 I dated the almost-was Michelle, then a crazy person who shall remain nameless but now I kinda feel sorry for, then in early 2002 I met a cute girl I was supposed to coach to higher things at work named Kat.

Her first words to me were “You are doing that all wrong”. I just knew.

And of course, it led to my favourite video in the universe.

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21 thoughts on “Ten years ago…

  1. Someone at work just asked “why is Di laughing like that” :). I think I hurt myself I laughed that loud ๐Ÿ™‚

    Far out that was a great post.

    Yr2000 was a crazy year for me.

    Handball was one of my highlights too – i think it was Serbia and Kazakhstan (I don’t know if it even exists) that I saw. Ahh the good old days.

    1. Handball was pretty cool, eh? I always loved “Qualified by being a host nation”. Clever, clever guys… I mean.. Clever Australian Olympian athletes.

  2. This is so unbelievably fabulous. You had me at Clive Barker’s ‘Imajica’.

    A blog post with all manner of awesomeness – meaning, I may literally be in awe.

    Bravo. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hmmm… Not a big Clive Barker fan. Did you notice the ‘so-so’ comment?

      Thanks for the kind comments and RTs. This post has only been up a few hours already my third-most most-hits day.

  3. Found you via Jayne’s tweet.

    I love your video. Your daughter is so sweet. My youngest boy is four and I think I had better go get that video camera out. We have heaps of video of the six-year old but not so much of the little one.

    Thanks for sharing that.

    Shelly

  4. you were doing a gram of speed a week and you think you were skinny from running around Ikea? Lol. Seriously, though, thanks for the trip down memory lane and the insight into your life.

  5. I still say “your doing that all wrong”.
    I am glad I can share part of the last 10 years with yoo and I hope to spend many more years with you.
    Hopefully by that stage you might start doing things right.

  6. I can just see Kat saying that. Deadpan. And I can see why you fell for her. One the other hand, why she fell for you is a mystery … I kid.

    Brilliant post, I love it. We must discuss past drug use and how it will affect future parenting decisions some time. Not that I would ever… ahem.

    How cool is Twitter that it has brought me friends like you!

  7. Chris, are you sure you are not Mister version of me… Only 10 years older? Hahahaha… And O-M-F-G!!! THAT VIDEO JUST MADE MY HEART SKIP A BEAT! Thanx for sharing this with us, and thanx for being a good friend.. I am so glad for all the goodness in your life. And well done on 2 beautiful daughters, they truly are gorgeous little people.. (They look a little like you!) xxxxx

  8. Hey there- I still can’t connect to Twitter from the Broome public library (I think the German backpackers have burnt it out) but I CAN search out your blog… and I’m glad I did, because I loved this. Great writing- really evocative (that much speed?? Now I understand why your thought processes are so f*cked- and I didn’t even need that soft PhD to do so! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Really, I loved this.
    And I can also remember 10 years ago very very clearly- because my son (& firstborn) just turned 10 a few months ago. Ten years ago I was struggling big time- physically, to recover from a haemorrhage that landed me in ICU for 10 days after he was born; and emotionally/mentally to adjust to first-time motherhood in a new country (Scotland) and with my husband working 16 hour days and no use to me whatsoever. I had also just gone back to writing- finished a novel just before my son was born (which will never be seen again) and had just started a second (again, to rot without trace)… ten years later I’m astonished to reflect that once again we are living in a new place (though this one’s a bit warmer), my husband is not working AT ALL, that tiny baby that almost killed me is tall and brown and gorgeous and stood up for the first time while learning to surf yesterday, and I actually now have one novel published and another signed to be. Life is great.

    Sorry to make it all about me, but good writing does prompt reflection- I loved reading your memories. And I clearly need to get back on Twitter so I don’t write blog-length comments… hopefully next week. Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I can’t see your favourite video because I don’t have the right plug-ins but it won’t actually tell me what those plug-ins are. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had that problem, mostly because I wouldn’t have been traversing the interwebs looking at the favourite videos of people I only knew through Twitter.

    What a great post and congratulations for staying with the same company for ten years. That kind of corporate fidelity is a very rare thing these days.

    As for me:

    Ten years ago, I had a career that I didn’t like.
    Ten years ago, I was a newly wed.
    Ten years ago, I was 5kg lighter than I am (but my stomach was a hell of a lot flatter).
    Ten years ago, I thought I was tired. Now I *know* that I’m tired.

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