They say it goes in cycles, the good and the bad that is, a friend once told me that if you’re having a tough time with a phase your child is going through it would only last for two weeks, than some other shit, ideally easier will take over. I’m a proud dad who loves his one and only daughter more than anything else in the world. Whilst I’m sure many people say that but I wholeheartedly mean it, if something was to happen to her than I would have two options:
1) End my life through overdosing on a selection of depressents.
2) Slide down the downward spiral to a place so dark there would be no coming back.
This would not just be out of loss, it would be the guilt and shame of my pointless life that would prod me towards the darkness. I can’t say I really enjoyed my childhood, I always and still feel forgotten or avoided. Don’t get me wrong I have always had friends and parents who loved me. I always wanted something more… Though I don’t quite know what, it’s like an animal instinct that I have been searching for my whole life but the only things I have picked up on the way are anger, guilt, shame and self hate.
One of the myths you heard growing up was around the effects of weed on your short term memory, surely this was yet another of those scare campaigns that was spread by parents to keep you out of trouble, like not eating cheese before bed or you’ll get cheese dreams (Are these real?) . It was around my mid twenties when I realized how much of an impact this had on my life, my short term memory is painfully problematic and hinders my absorption of lots of data and most noticeably studies and even remembering characters names in movies or bands.
I believe it was around the age of 14 or so I started on my quest with weed.
My first cigarette was around the same age skateboarding near a private girls school in the Inner West of Sydney with friends Matthew and Seamus. Seamus was a bloke who was always taking everything we did to the next level. He died in his early twenties from the damage of drugs and alcohol which was not a surprise to hear though I had not spoken to him for a long time.
All my mum talked about was travel. She had about 5 – 10 stories in her repertoire, involving travels to various parts of the world: On a travel bus with only the one Neil diamond tape creating the soundtrack of the season – That one time she smoked hash (which did not effect her), after pressure from shady locals in Morocco with deviate plans and an almost lesbian camping experience. These stories would automatically come out whenever a series of related keywords including any that could be linked such as mode of travel, marijuana, gay / lesbian references, Neil Diamond, etc..
Despite how these stories made me cringe whether in public or not I inherited the urge to travel and explore, this has defined my motivations in life and I have been very lucky to land a career in a company with extensive travel and secondment opportunities.
My parents are working class parents, my dad’s trade was national manager of freight, warehousing and logistics for a textile and of fabric company, my mum’s was in a series of admin jobs usually obtained via my dad’s professional network. My greatest memories of my childhood were at the adventure-land that was his office. His company supplied material to the then large market of designer fashion firms across Australia. These days the majority of fabric items are pre-made overseas to meet corporate profit targets and the company, whilst still alive, the presence feels insignificant compared to the heaving empire it is in my memories.
After school I used to catch the train from the working class western suburbs into the city’s rough and run down Central station and excitedly wait to drop my bags off at his office, an elevated room with Windows covering 180 degrees of the room overlooking the docks and despatch where goods would be in various stages of loading or waiting for their turn to be distributed across the globe, his domain. He was in charge of a series of misfits, larrikens and questuinably sane individuals who all worked hard though their primary objective was clearly all to have a good time. Not a second seemed to go by without someone planning or acting on a practical joke, taking the Mickey out of someone else or generally getting into mischief. At young ages I was taught how to operate the aptly named ‘elephants foot’, various types of forklifts, the vatious manually operated lifts and numerous other toys that never once seemed like a chore or burden, certainly not a task someone would have to pay me to do. Admittedly I was not doing anything productive or of commercial benefit, mostly moving things around and trying to test the speed limits of each machine. There was machinery that could wrap anything in plastic, an industrial metal ice cold water filter dispensing the coldest liquid known to man. The toilets contained the required classic Australian toliet graffiti which at a minimum required someone’s phone number prefixed with ‘For a good time call…’ and the classic toilet wall ping pong (For those unfamiliar with the sport this required two opposing walls with text staying to look at the other wall, repeat, brilliant.).
At any given moment vicious sword fights could break out using cardboard rolls of various lengths and density, swords broke, bruises were common. These were great people, out for a good time at work and would define my working persona in the years to come.