Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things are looking up (especially my mana level)

I've been offered a permanent role downstairs at work. I've been given three options:
A: go back upstairs (which would be sheer lunacy in spite of the extra money)
B: stay downstairs
C: leave.
This is a very easy decision for me. Lock in B Eddie. It’s clearly a less taxing (and depression-inducing) role than the one upstairs, but it’s still a permanent job in a multinational corporation and everything that comes with that: team meetings, performance appraisals, little red squares on my screen. All the stuff I want no part of. My strategy will be to pretend it isn’t permanent at all. In 2012, who really has a permanent job anyway?

Thursday was an interesting day. I set a new PB that morning for the number of letters I sent out, not that anybody would have noticed. I then had lunch with Tracy from the autism group. We have quite a lot in common. We’ve both lived in France, we both like British comedy and we both take antidepressants. However she has a lot more self-confidence than me (that isn’t that hard I guess) and does get very animated when talking about certain topics. One of her interests is board games. She plays a variety of (sometimes obscure) games with a bunch of friends, participates in an online forum and even attends conventions. She sent me a link to the forum; I found one of her posts where she asked what to do when her mana level drops to zero. The next time I see her I might ask her whether she managed to top up her mana. I’m not sure whether she has a boyfriend, but if she does I bet his mana level is off the scale.

After work I went to the depression group on Cuba Street. There were only the two of us – the long-haired six-foot-five bloke and myself. After a few months of living with his parents (whom he said he didn’t speak to – yikes) he was about to move into a boarding house. He was also about to change jobs (from one office job to another) but had no interest in pursuing a career in that kind of environment. Instead he fantasised about becoming a (semi-)professional online poker player. That gave us plenty to talk about. I’ve since sent him a long email telling him the story of my poker career so far. I’d be more than happy to teach him strategy for badugi and triple draw – I’m all for people having dreams, and here I’m in the unusual position of being able to help someone along the way. To deal with his depression he has tried a number of unconventional therapies – with considerable success I might add. But, like me, he often loses the ability to take pleasure in things. When I got back there was an email (there’s no way I could have read it in time) saying that the depression group had been cancelled.

So New Zealand wants to lead the world in becoming smokefree, which apparently is now all one word. By 2025 the price of a packet of 20 will be $100, which nobody will be able to afford, so nobody will smoke. Simple. I think it’s time for one of those Tui billboards. In reality cigarettes will be smuggled in from countries where they cost a fraction of the amount, and the purchase and sale of tobacco will be driven underground like we already see with marijuana. Previously law-abiding smokers (yes they do exist!) will turn to crime to feed their addiction, and it’s a very strong addiction! Yes it would be nice if nobody smoked but the Ministry of Health seem to be going about achieving smokefreedom in completely the wrong way. In this weekend’s Dom Post there were several statistics given about New Zealand’s smoking. So 650,000 Kiwis smoke. My back-of-a-fag-packet calculations tell me that’s about 20% of adults. Between them they bought just over two million cigarettes, so while one in five Kiwis smoke, on average they only smoke three fags a year! My hunch is that the number of cigarettes is missing three noughts from the end. If my hunch is correct, that’s nearly nine a day per person, which would seem about right if you also add in the 600+ tonnes of rolling tobacco.

Last week I got a birthday card from my aunt (Dad’s sister) in the UK. This was a pleasant surprise – I wouldn’t have thought she knew either my birthday or my address. I must reciprocate in six months’ time. I should also write a blog post about my aunt at some stage.

I live almost next door to the National War Memorial (whose campanile houses 74 bells) so I had absolutely no excuse not to attend the Anzac Day ceremony there. Plenty of my relatives have fought in wars so I feel duty-bound to go. It seems to get bigger every year and has surely overtaken Waitangi Day as our national day.

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