This week, I have been mostly.. making dodgy memes
Today is always a strange day on my calendar. 15 years ago I got on a plane to Australia expecting to never come back. 10 years ago I was sat at Coventry airport heading over to Amsterdam and would meet the woman for the first time who would become my wife.
Today however I gifted probably my most prized possession to someone. I have been known to buy copies of The Little Prince for people. Today, I gave mine to someone else. Not a copy. Mine. It’s been with me since about 2000 and without it, I know with utter conviction that none of what’s come since would have happened. I have leaned on it in my darkest times, carried it with me in some of my best, and taken strength and inspiration from its wisdoms since the day I first read it. It’s value to me has been unquantifiable. If a person could have a book as a best friend, then this would be mine.
And now it’s someone else’s.
If they take nothing from it, it’s fine. They’re not me. If it sits unread for years, that’s OK too. This was an expression of thanks, of love and affection, and an acknowledgement of what they’ve come to mean to me. But if it has even a 10th of the impact which it’s had upon me.. that will be enough for them to look back in years to come and remember today. And smile. And perhaps, just perhaps, they will have stars that will laugh for them, and they’ll think of me.
Nothing ever changes. Friendship is forged. Some of us see forged meaning to make something .. some of us see forged as being fake. Vapid. Without substance. Some of us don’t notice the difference until it’s too late.
I love talking music with people. I get extremely passionate about it. There’s not too much which really stirs my soul but music can. Emotive, I suppose is the word. I’ve never been one for remembering band member names but titles and lyrics seem to stay in for years. The aforementioned local pub (see last blog) has a reasonably well fed jukebox, although it’s not as I thought an internet one. I get almost as much of a kick out of surprising people by knowing the songs they’ve put on as I do having people tap along to mine. Given the age range in there and the fact that some of my music would go down like a lead balloon, I do limit my choices though. Not because I’m concerned as to what people would think of me, but more for the respect of the venue and the customers. I guess it’s the wanting to please thing going on. Banging on a good ear worm and hearing people say “Gods I’ve not heard this in years” gives me far more pleasure than slinging on Rage against the Machine and having the local populous glower at me for 4 minutes!
I use my music. It’s cathartic. Often it says what I’m thinking but don’t have the words for, or rather, it’s not that I don’t have the words, it’s that my arrangement of them might well not be as skilled as the version I have access too which is already done for me. Some of it is stupid, some of it deep, but it’s rarely without some form of underlying twang. Bat out of Hell exhilarates me. Mother by P Floyd elicits memories of what my own mother did to me as a child, You Little Thief by Fergal Sharkey.. that’s anger and a massive feeling of injustice, and The Ghosts that Haunt me by Crash test Dummies says I’m not scared to show you me… if you’ll take the time to see/read/listen. The list is endless. The skill on the instruments alone on things like Child in Time by Deep Purple, or the 2cellos versions of songs, or indeed Hellsongs versions of classic metal which turn them into something rather beautiful, (See Run to the Hills as an example), could in the right moment bring a tear to the eye.
I wonder if others are the same. What coaxes what from whom? The Alpaca Weebl tune and Giraffe in my Loft… will never fail to make me chuckle. The Dangermouse intro works too. I grin at Prefab Sprout, smile at Colin Hay, struggle with Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars and the memories attached to the loss of an old friend, and then follow it up with Hurt by Nine inch Nails just to underline what I already understand : Everyone I know, goes away in the end. Another Suitcase in Another Hall tells a story I relate to, and 2 Beds and a Coffee Machine / Tell me there’s a heaven tell a story too, of another old friend and their struggle.
I remember the first day I walked into the Cheshire Cat. Wayne and I were suitably merry beforehand and we were heading in there purely because there would be a certain young lady there. We were 18. Highway to Hell was playing by AcDc and it was swiftly followed by Since You’ve been Gone by Rainbow. I was in love. I’d always had a love of music but this transcended it. This was my music, at my volume, with 200 other people who felt exactly the same way. I belonged, and I felt it! This was a place where who or what you were didn’t matter. The music made us all have something in common. It was our frame of reference to everyone around us. Ironic that my version of halcyon days was built on a wall of noise? Possibly. But nevertheless, to me, that’s as I remember it. Since it closed in 97 nothing has really come close asides from the Giffard in Wolves.
So maybe that’s why when I’m plonked in a pub and someone puts music on, that I sit up and listen and take note. Perhaps I’m looking for what this means to them. When I share… it’s almost always something personal of mine. And I’ve chosen to put it on display. “Here is a part of me.” More often than not it is purely for my own enjoyment, (but picked dependent upon the venue.. I’ll not play Spanish Train by Chris de Burgh in the Giff any more than I’d play NiN and Closer in the pub round the corner), but for those who care to listen, they might take something from it too… and that’s what I’m looking for in other’s choices.
They say eyes are a gateway to the soul. I think music is too. I’ve met a few people whose eyes I’ve struggled to hold, either because I find them far too beautiful and it renders me surprisingly shy/bashful, or because perhaps I’m not sure about being quite that vulnerable to that person at that time (or both!), but music can bypass that. And there’s the thing. Eyes can be the gateway to another person’s soul but music.. it can also be the gateway to your own. You can choose to scratch the surface, or go deeper, much deeper, either to share with another, or for your own self exploration.
I guess, it just depends on how much you want to display… to yourself, or others.
So, what’s new in the world of Wiseman? I’ve neglected this blog again and it still bothers me that almost everything is negative over the last year on here. So…
In truth, Liverpool has been pretty kind to me. I don’t think I’ve pissed my niece off too much as of yet. It’s funny, it took a while to actually relax here. I’m still very aware I’m beholding and that’s not a position I’m good at being in, but pride has to take a back seat every so often. H has been sound with me, ignoring my occasional antagonistic side which I swear is hormonal and basically we’ve got along like mates. Her kids are bright and strong minded which makes for an entertaining time. I’m not sure about ‘Cole’s impression of me though! Not sure about that at all. It had us in hysterics, that much is true! H herself works too hard and too many hours. It’s difficult to pull rank (Uncle counts as a rank, right?) when I’m the one under her roof but, i’d be happier if she gave herself a break which didn’t involve hospitals.
Work has been entertaining if a little frustrating. The two people I trusted at Amazon in Brum are both at the Manchester depo which is a good thing, but they’re both on opposite shifts to me, so I only bump into them on a Wednesday which sucks. JenniewithoutaY still turns me instantly pink with a flash of her eyes, but also inspires me because of who she is. Her passion.. yep.. it shines out of her. She’s so similar to me in certain ways that at times I’m a little scared for her. I know my own tendency to self destruct… but anyway. Wednesdays are better with her in it. The work itself? I’m finally on a PC where I belong and problem solving. The 10 hour shifts I’m used to after having survived BHX1 in Rugeley but the leaving the house at 4.30am and not getting back until 8pm… that takes its toll. But, I’m blue badged, (employed by Amazon, not an agency) and contracted properly, so until I find accommodation closer to work, it’s just something I have to deal with.
Fortunately there is a local pub nearby (within 100 meters!) where I can relax and let off steam. Newcastle Brown and Speckled Hen at £2.80 a pint? Glorious. The people in there seem to have accepted the hairy bloke who was in the corner and now I have people who I can bounce off when I have a spare moment, which is great. In the Giffard I had the music for company, but this place is much of a muchness with the Kings Arms in Crewe so it’s all about the community and interaction. I made the mistake of saying that I quite liked a lass who comes in, and was immediately teased mercilessly about it. Good times!! I feel welcome. That’s pretty rare for me and might influence where I sort out living. It’s not really practical to stay in Liverpool given the expense to travel daily but.. there are things more important than money.
So.. a blog which isn’t full of anger and angst. I woke up on Sunday and actually felt like myself again. It’s been a long time since I’d done that. H turned round and said I looked younger this week too. Maybe I’ve de-stressed? I don’t know. But whatever it is… I’ll take it.
So, this is it. It’s a year today since I flew “home”. That’s all of my one year anniversaries done. Divorce, Wedding Anniversary where I’m no longer actually married, birthdays, the works. It’s a year since I spoke with Esther verbally A year since I’ve heard her voice.
I hate what this blog has become. It needs to change. For a year and a few weeks it’s been orientated around the anger and desolation which have engulfed me since I finally said “genoeg” (Enough!). Even now, there is so much vitriol waiting to erupt in the wake of the events a couple of days ago where, in yet another example of selfish mufkut-ery the entity calling itself van Sluijs decided to completely erase our old relationship on Facebook, thus meaning that over 100 pictures vanished, all tagged check-ins are gone, anything she shared on my wall is gone and anything I shared on hers meets the same fate. 8 and a half years of memories, wiped away. I, of course, have left all my albums open so that she can view and swipe any pictures that she wants because, while I would happily rejoice at hearing she’d been mown down by a bus .. I’m actually a decent person who thinks about other’s needs. The idea of erasing memories like that is just far too callous for me to even contemplate. But then that’s Esther. Not a single thought for me.
I can’t be bothered to write more. The anger is filling me with stress. I had chronic chest pains for the first time since I came back to the UK all night when I saw what she’d done. Time for some music instead.
Well, I survived yesterday. It’s a year since the paperwork came out of Amsterdam. Technically there’s another week before the “official” divorce date arrives but this was the date when the confirmation was sent to The Hague for ratification. Facebook in all it’s joy threw up the life event which I added, but it wasn’t needed. I knew the date all too well.
Heidi headed out for the day so i was left to my own devices. I debated hitting Krazyhouse and The Swan but I find it hard to justify the outlay when I’m staying here officially homeless and needing to somehow fund Amazon when it comes through sometime this month. Job after job application to tide me over have simply had no reply whatsoever. Acknowledged as received but that’s it. More irksome are the two requests, one from Transline, and one from PMP to go out on jobs for them in Wolverhampton, the latter being Amazon Rugeley again. It would’ve been so easy to be working down there. In point of fact I’d’ve started at Rugeley again anyway on the 19th.
So I sat, blasting solitaire, and being reminded of the situation many years ago when I landed at Julia’s after having tried to do the right thing with Jack, and then out of the blue I get a message from Nz from a lass who was going to put me up while I tried to sort the custody out back in February. “Happy Fathers day.” Being so many hours in front it was already Sunday there. Nothing like an added kick in the teeth when you’re already feeling crap. The lass sending the salutation obviously had no clue as to my mood and the gesture was nice, a good intention which just landed at the wrong time due to a time zone.
I switched from cards to tanks. Several hours later and it was 3am. What should’ve been a chance to grab some extra shuteye turned into nothing of the sort. I’m not sure my mind wants the comfort of sleep anymore. There’s a build up : Blame for not listening to the early warnings years ago re: Esther, and blame for trusting a system I’ve known for years always… ALWAYS.. lets me down. When I managed to get out of Holland I patted myself on the back for surviving. It feels like I undid everything I’d accomplished by trusting a system I knew was flawed. Microcosm/macrocosm I can see the Esther scenario reflected.
And so, much like my initial leaving, and my blog post from back then Another A+E closes it turns out that, even though the actual fault wasn’t mine here, there’s still a way that I’m to blame. It shouldn’t have gone this way, because the expectancy of care and honouring the contract of care was there, my instincts told me that neither would be honoured. And much like Esther has carried on and simply dismissed everything and anything about me without so much as a care, so the system will do nothing for the situation I find myself in. And there’s not a damn thing I can do to exact recompense from either.
Well, I’ve moved again. This time to Liverpool. Unplanned, unexpected and unprepared for. It’s been a strange few weeks.
Amazon finished June 19th. It was always going to. My contract with Transline was a 9 month contract, the idea being that you either get laid off before the end, or you get taken on. People completing the 9 month contract doesn’t really happen. In truth, I’m amazed I survived it. Sheer bloodymindedness and the presence of a couple of people in the warehouse were the only reason I walked away after my 9 months sane. After that, you’re obliged to take 8 weeks off before you can go back with the agency, which was pretty much my plan.
“So how come if you lasted the 9 months, did you not get taken on?” I hear you cry. Well, that’s pretty simple. I was due to be taken on, assured it was not going to be a problem by the managers. Then Glenda died. I had a call at stupid o’clock in the morning from someone in New Zealand telling me that she’d died, and then had a half hour conversation with Jack, and from then on stayed up researching what happens next. regarding my being dad and sorting custody. I went in to work that day to tell them that I was unable to work because I needed to see solicitors etc etc and thought no more of it. Transline saw fit to give me a mark against my attendance because of this, a point which lasted for 3 months. Now, the last conversion date from agency staff to Amazon staff was at the end of March, and thus, this point meant that from the day it was given, both Amazon and Transline knew that I could not be converted within my 9 month time frame. However, they neglected to mention that to me and persisted in telling me that, I would be converted and not to worry. I only found out the truth by accident after having a random drugs test in the HR department where I asked about when my conversion would be, and they said “There are no more conversions for a few months”.
I believe the word is apoplectic. In trying to do what was right for my son in New Zealand, I’d been punished to the point that cost me my permanent job, while still not securing custody. How I didn’t walk out that day when I found out I’ll never know.
Anyway, I’ve digressed. So, 8 weeks off. I decided to not bother to claim anything, and treat it as a holiday. There’s a certain stigma which hangs over claiming things, and it’s not nice. However, it became obvious that the 8 weeks would in point of fact turn into 10 while working my week in hand, and the unfortunate alignment of days meant that incorporated 3 months rent, amounting to £1050. That’s quite a hit for my savings, and so I thought for the last month, I’ll claim. So I did, and spent accordingly, trusting the system to sort everything out. I’d given my claim in on the 12th July ready for a rent payment August 19th. Seemed a reasonable amount of time. Housing claim went in with the JobSeeker thing, which came through happily, and at a meeting with them I passed on my documents for the housing claim… and thought no more about it until the Monday before the rent was due. In the meantime I’d secured both the chance of a new job, and the chance to return to Amazon again on the 19th, and also had a bust up at home resulting in a huge amount of stress. Deciding “better the devil you know” i knocked the new job on the head and decided, leave Bilston upon starting back at Amazon and grab a new place, and begin again. Use the money from last month’s rent (it’s paid in arrears) to fund a deposit elsewhere, and plough into Amazon again.
Sounded like a plan, but with one small hitch. Just to make sure I knew how much money I’d get for my rent reimbursed I called the office on Monday. “Sorry Mr Wiseman, we’ve no record of the claim”. Only course of action, submit another claim, and wait, which left me stuffed fiscally. No money for a deposit and even if I’d’ve chosen to stay where I was, I couldn’t’ve paid my rent anyway. All because I trusted the system and chose to claim what I was (and still am) entitled to. With nowhere to stay, I was unable to start back at Amazon and faced landing on the streets. Fortunately my niece Heidi-Rose has stuck her neck out and said I can have her sofa for a while.
So what now? Good question. I need accommodation, not least because, I’ve actually secured a job at the new Amazon depo in Manchester Airport, and it’s not agency. It’s actually Amazon. Mildly amused that I got my blue badge after all, especially as they rang me 4 times to get me to go over there, but… how the hell do I get to there in a morning? I don’t know. It’s a conundrum. For now it’s a case of surviving, and waiting for a start date confirmation which is late September/early October. If I can grab some work in the meantime… marvellous. If not… I’m going to struggle.
So.. It’s a year today since the wife came back from Opa’s house to Lazaru’s, and I sat at the bar and said “I can’t do this anymore. I want a divorce.” I can still see us sat there as I said “We have nothing in common anymore.” There was no argument from her. No anything really. No “I love you”s. No” Don’t leave”s. All those years I gave, and everything I gave up to be there, and in her eyes I wasn’t even worth the effort of a single protestation. She simply didn’t care. She’d drained me emotionally to the point where I was no longer of use, and thus was fine with me leaving. What existed there was just a husk.
Well. Fuck you Esther. With my help and support we probably put 10 years on her life expectancy as she dropped 76lbs and as a consequence took her blood pressure back to normal for the first time in a decade. I backed her when her family treated her like shite, and when her work tried to force her out (let’s not mention the psychological evaluation issues you had there eh which led to that?). And in return? Nothing. I even stood up for her against a guy 6 stone minimum heavier than I am, climaxing in my breaking my own rule and punching the tosser in the face.
And so, a year on, I look at that day, the day I said “enough”, and see it as the bravest decision I’ve ever made in my life. To choose to leave, no matter what the consequences to myself would be, in order to be true to myself, took balls of steel. I was so nearly consumed that I could easily have said “Sod it” and given up. It’s testament to the hell it felt like there mentally, that irrespective of living in Holland in a nice house with no money worries and a foreign holiday or two a year, I still feel so much better over here living in shared accommodation wondering if I’ll be able to pay next month’s rent.
I no longer hate waking up, and the reason for this is simple. I now know that at least one person in my world cares about me. That person is me. I’d spent so many years putting Esther van Sluijs first that I’d forgotten to look after myself. I thought that was in safe hands with her. This was supposed to be reciprocal. I hate being wrong but boy was I wrong on this.
But I got out. I survived. One year more over there and I’m certain I’d not be here, but I know if she’d have shown the slightest inclination to fight for us, I probably would’ve stayed because my investment there was so great. And that probably would’ve killed me.
So… one year on. I’m going to go. Sit in another rock pub, and grab a pint of a beer I actually want to drink, speak my language without feeling rude, grab a pie later on, and think. There will always be “What if? “s. It’s human nature. But for now, I’m going to pat myself on the back and say, ” Well done Wiseman. You did the right thing.”, because I did. I really did. And every interaction since then with her has confirmed it.
There will come a time,
When all who I’ve cared for,
Will see I did so willingly.
When what I’ve offered,
Will be seen to have been given freely.
When who i am,
Will be realised without the shadow of cynicism.
And when all who I’ve left behind
Because i was not viewed through unblinkered eyes,
Will know that what was once within their reach,
Is still beautiful, but now, so far away.
There will come a time,
When my time will come.
And I will shine.
As i’ve always done,
For those who’d only care to look a little deeper.
(written 2nd October 2006)