Surprise! Unemployment – by Aidan “Taco” Jones
Tuesday is my favourite day of the week for one very simple reason: on Tuesday my friends Luka, Blake, and I run a weekly comedy night at the Rochester, which means we get to hang out at the pub all afternoon, go flyer (can be fun), watch, and sometimes do comedy in front of a good crowd. Aaaand, I (!!) get to drink for free. Tuesdays are sick. Wednesdays, not so much.
This Wednesday I woke up at home with a brutal hangover and sweat already dripping down my brow at 10am… Melbourne heatwave. I have no money to buy a pedestal fan, and even the water in the bottle I keep near my bed had warmed to room temperature, rendering it useless as coolant to be poured over my sprawling naked body. I hate the heat when it’s hot… I also hate the cold when it’s cold. I’ve always maintained that I would prefer to be uncomfortably hot than uncomfortably cold, because heat is inescapable, but I think that’s just down to living in Australia and experiencing more of the former than the latter. Really, whenever extreme temperatures come, I’m pretty sure we all pine for the opposite extreme, and when the darling winds of change start to blow in Autumn and Spring, that is the most exciting time of all, because those winds bring with them the promise of change. New days. Better? Who can really say, but undoubtedly new.
So I plodded around the passages of Station 59, barefoot, hazy, Jake the Bartender asleep on the couch looking seriously uncomfortable. I filled up my water bottle at the basin directly above his head and he woke up.
As I walked out of the room: “Hey Taco, wanna smoke some weed?”
“I have to go to Woolies to buy some milk, but when I get back yeah, let’s do it.”
I went to Woolies and it was hot – did you know that milk at Aldi is actually 11c cheaper for a 3L bottle than at Woolies, although at Aldi the expiry dates were three days earlier than those at Woolies, so I went for the safe longevity over an 11c saving.
When I got back we smoked the weed and I watched Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law on my laptop for an hour or so before leaving for Brunswick East and the safety of my friend Naomi’s pool. Swimming. Oh FUCK yes. Feeling a little paranoid walking through the city, nothing unmanageable. Staring at the people, buying headphones in Coles. Awkward interaction with an employee. Down to ten dollars in my wallet. Decided not to buy beers or anything – maybe I won’t drink for a while? Hmmm… good.
At something like 3:30pm I got a call from James, my boss for the past year at Amplified Cleaning – I’m a subcontractor for him and I clean various restaurants three or four mornings a week to pay for my rent, food, bills and various other inconveniences. He called me and told me that we had lost two of our main contracts, and as a result the business would be shutting down by the end of the week. No severance – it’s… it was… just me, James, Kim, and another new guy. Small operation, no room for error. We errored (error…ize..d…buh? eh..) and now we were eating the shit. I carried on the awkward conversation for a while, still high, which I informed him of. Unable to really process the information properly. Unemployed… long lines at Centrelink… no money for rent… debts to several people… bills piling up… fuck. Stare down, down, down into the abyss.
So that’s it, basically. I don’t have a job anymore. I booked my appointment to get back onto The New Start Allowance (February 6!!! ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?) while I look for a new job, and I’ve put the word out around friends for any positions… I think about money so much, so much SOMUCH and this is just one more fucking thing in the way of me doing what I want to do. I can’t even really get a new job until I get back from the Adelaide Fringe in late Feb so until then I guess it’s just free-fall – hopefully I can get the bond back from Baker St to tide me over until maybe I start getting Centrelink payments again.
I’m outside. It’s snowing. I’ve never seen snow before but it feels sharp and cold on my skin I realize I’m naked. Lookup, the sky is black but somehow I can see far in every direction and I realize I just turned my head. The ground is lit up somehow from underneath. I take a few steps one way, turn, go back the other. Grab onto a tree and some of the bark falls off. Snowman. I’m sweating now, for some reason my body is hot. Every piece of snow – it’s coming down in little hard balls not soft flakes like in a book – feels cold against my skin that’s overheating. Another Snowman. I turn again, there’s a cabin behind me. No windows, the lights are off. Bang on the door. No answer. No one at home. Bang on the door again, still nothing, keep banging, start laughing, snow getting deeper, fall down. Laughing, insane laughter and I close my eyes.
I don’t think I can live with security… this is going to be a hard thought to pin down but, it seems to me that whenever something feels like it’s going to stay the same for a while, I get uncomfortable. I need change, I can’t live with consistency. It’s a very frustrating way to be because regularity and stability are generally what pay the bills, and without them I’m finding it extremely difficult to achieve anything like oh say, a steady income. Ongoing employment. Fuck.
Much like the change of seasons, I tire of the now and quickly yearn for that which is just around the corner. In some areas of my life this means that I am always striving to improve, pushing myself forward. However, some areas suffer because for something like simply making money, I have no care to improve; all I want is to maintain a level that will allow me to pay my bills and put away some savings. My lack of commitment combined with my disinterest in constancy means that most ‘jobs’ I have end in stunning instances of self-sabotage and sombre chats in the staff room.
Seven more months dude. I’m only here for seven more months, then it’s back on the road. Surely I can get and keep a job for that long. Surely. Come on ya silly dickhead, it’s not that hard.
Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones is a Melbourne based comedian and writer, to read more visit ajtaco.blogspot.com
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