Monday, January 17, 2011

Real people - not so scary after all

Yesterday I really didn't want to leave the flat. I'd already agreed to play tennis with Andy at 4pm though so I didn't have a lot of choice. I'm so glad I did venture outside - the tennis did both of us good I think, even if we were both sweating like pigs at the end. We might try and fix up another encounter for next weekend. I had a quick dip in the sea after the game and then drove to Remuera to celebrate Richard's birthday. Five of us turned up; this made for quite a relaxing evening. Richard made a pasta dish and the rest of us contributed something for dessert. The second half of yesterday confirmed what I already knew: when you're not feeling great, leaving the house and making contact with other living, breathing humans (even though you really don't want to) can often be the best thing.

On Saturday I attended the monthly autism social group. Due to the time of year only fifteen or so turned up, so for a change we were able to hear ourselves think. The social group is a wonderful way for people with autism to get to know one another, but when attendances are at their normal levels it can become an acoustic nightmare - difficult to contend with even if you don't have the condition. The smaller numbers made the afternoon virtually stress-free for me; as usual there were some interesting topics of conversation. I got a surprise phone call from a recruitment agency in the middle of the session - it seemed unusual to get one in the weekend, so for a few brief seconds I got excited, thinking they might have a job for me (did I use the word excited there?) - sadly it wasn't to be.

My two potential flatmates (Richard and a female member of the autism group) have ramped up their flat-finding efforts. Both of them are currently in less than ideal arrangements and would move into a new flat last Tuesday given the choice. I also want to make the move (I'm paying over the odds for this place and I've lived on my own for too long already) but for me the urgency isn't quite the same. I've lived on the Shore for nearly seven years and have got pretty used to it over that time, so for me it's a case of crossing the Harbour Bridge when I come to it. I spoke to Mum on Friday - she said I need to find a job before I even think about finding a flat, and (how often can I say this?) I wholeheartedly agreed with her. Not many agencies or landlords will take you on if you're not working and I'd rather not have to lie on their forms. Besides, having work gives you many more options.

This morning I went to a WINZ seminar. They're always fun (!) but this time something had changed. Normally the League of Gentlemen job centre sketch (click here for the hilarious and cringeworthy YouTube clip) isn't far from reality, but today you could tell that some of the people in attendance actually wanted work. Three years ago the Devonport-Takapuna-Milford area had an unemployment rate close to zero; that's far from the case now. The bloke running the workshop didn't stop talking; this became annoying but he did make one salient point: you can reply to as many ads and be on the books of as many agencies as you like but unless you know people it'll be tough. An inability to build relationships with people has been my downfall all along.

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