Monday, December 14, 2009

The final countdown

My new laptop arrived last Thursday so I’m back in the world of the living. I never thought a computer would become an indispensable tool for me, but I now realise I’m lost without one. Despite this, I still don’t like computers that much and generally feel more comfortable with a pen in my hand than a mouse. I see a computer purely as a tool – I’m pretty much oblivious to all the noughts and ones and nuts and bolts that make everything happen.

Ten days ago I attended the mental health support centre’s Christmas party. It was a very well-run event with close on 200 in attendance, many of whom are isolated at this time of year and rarely get to go to something like that. It was great to meet up with some people I hadn’t seen for a while, and the food was a definite bonus.

On Friday I had another meeting with Mrs You’re Screwed, a.k.a. the careers advisor. Things didn’t seem so bleak this time, mainly because we didn’t get into the specifics of my future career options. Instead we concentrated on my CV – I showed her both versions. She took a real dislike to my choice of font in the old version. “It’s Times New Roman, that’s so old-fashioned.” I protested, saying it wasn’t Times New Roman (it was Garamond) but she insisted that fonts with those “little sticky-out bits” belong in a previous century. So serif fonts are dead then? Has she picked up a book lately? Or a newspaper? Once we’d done with the font debate (by the way, font design is something I’d like to get into) and focused on the content, she actually talked a lot of sense and was very helpful. We’ve got one final meeting, about interview tactics (hmmm) after Christmas.

I’m now in my last full week at work, and to be honest I’m relieved. I've worked with some good people (not least my current boss) but I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. Four months shy of thirty, it’s time I jumped off this conveyor belt. For too long I’ve been drifting along, letting everything happen to me. School just happened to me. University for the most part just happened to me. And for the last 5¾ years, work has just happened to me. In fact working in the corporate world has been similar to school, all the more so since we moved to our expensive new offices in a soulless business park two years ago.

Competitive tennis is over for 2009. My record since the start of the season (seven wins, nine losses) is disappointing. I lost my last match, a mixed doubles, by the unusual score of 7-6 (7-0), 7-5. Unfortunately I’ve played very little singles which is my forte (if I have one). Yesterday we had great weather for tennis so I turned up to club day, which I enjoyed more than usual. Bazza was there, perhaps for the last time: he’s moving to Papakura at the weekend. Though house prices are considerably cheaper there, I seriously question his move because he won’t know anyone. If he joins a tennis club down there, people won’t accommodate him like they have done. He won’t get away with making dodgy line calls all afternoon, tell his partner she’s a bloody idiot whenever she misses, and swiping food from the fridge afterwards. I tried to convince him to stay in the area, but when he’s made his mind up there’s no stopping him.

It’s a while since I mentioned online poker but I haven’t given up, although I no longer play those time-consuming freerolls. I deposited US$10, as a challenge to see how far I could get on just ten bucks. My bankroll (if you can call it that) now stands at $22, mainly from playing hold ’em at penny stakes. I think I’ve got the right skills and temperament for poker. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t frustrate me when that fourth diamond hits the river to give that muppet who played A 2 a higher flush, but crucially I don’t let it affect my play on subsequent hands. Obviously playing for inconsequential stakes helps in this regard, but when I was younger I’d have been far more susceptible to what they call “tilt”. I’ve played very little poker with real people and real hands, but at university I remember being dealt a king-high straight in a penny-ante draw game. The hand was dealt out of turn, we all had to muck our cards, and I went ape-shit.

I’ve just got home from my last Italian class of the year. Our teacher Matteo has done a good job of selling all things Italian. I’d love to go there some time next year so I’ve enrolled in a five-day intensive course at the end of January.

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