I’m up to my eyeballs in technical writing and hearing the plasticky sound of my thumb hitting the spacebar once more might send me mad, but I felt like checking in and thinking about things other than executive summaries and customers’ hot buttons (no, not those kinds). It feels like bumping into a long-lost friend and there’s so much to catch up on but words are trapped by awkward silence while trying to compress life into a few conversation points. At least I can write a few paragraphs and log off until inspiration hits again, unlike real life where phone numbers are exchanged and promises of keeping in touch are made but never seen to eventuate.
So, the Country Boy story continues. We hit the old roadblock of one of us wanting a bit more and one of us being content with a bit less so we wandered apart again. In the weeks afterwards, I spent about 10 minutes on the online meeting site over Christmas and decided to give up the life for a while and concentrate on other things (retrenchment in a shrinking job market has to be one of the most effective ways of killing a person’s sex drive). And the frustration of theoretically having lots of time on my hands to misbehave but spending most of that time fretting about my future wasn’t good for anyone around me. I’m also hitting that stage of life where maturing has evolved into ageing; it’s like someone has put detergent on the slide into menopause and I’m careening down the slippery ramp a bit faster than I want to acknowledge.
But even with that cocktail of self imposed and forced drama and stagnation, the Country Boy returned and helped me decide that a bit of something great was better than a lot of nothing at all. We reunited at the park in a state of heady anticipation while summer’s sun refused to grant us the darkness we needed to sort things out. I think I ended up facing the passenger seat of the car with him behind me, but perhaps I was on my back and he was skimming the sunroof from on top, who knows. He also did a few home visits to help with some work on the house related to his trade and hung around afterwards for ‘payment’ of the kind where he wouldn’t accept money. We joyfully bartered physical acts in exchange for holes drilled in the wall and joinery components in little bags … Oh, that twenty-cent bracket must be worth riding you against the bed head until you explode, surely?
Then the work finished and he disappeared. Neither of us has ever disappeared without communication and I wondered if he’d changed his mind or something personal had come up. I sent a couple of text messages but never heard back so I let him go again and got on with less interesting priorities. A couple of months passed and one night The Drummer brought in a crumpled scrap of paper that was addressed to me. The Country Boy had lost his phone and didn’t know how to get in touch so he left a note on the door step. It worked when re-establishing contact with his mates and he thought it might work for me as well. Unconventional but effective. I sent him a message and we sorted ourselves out yet again — the sorting out in the back of a delivery van was particularly productive and I’ll have to tell that story another time.
On the work front, I have been picking up some contracts as well as setting up my own business. The lumps of money and positive feedback from contracting have been good but now I’m enjoying the opposite problem of earlier in the year in being too busy and feeling rundown. My goal is to manage more of the work and do less myself and I am spending frenzied bursts of time on freelancer web sites imagining the promise of virtual help. It’s kind of like online dating though where many profiles are full of falsities and contradictions that make me close the screen and walk away. But, like with online dating, I’m sure the answer will come when I’m about to give up.