Sunday, September 15, 2013

The big switchover (I could do with one)

I never thought digital-only telly would come to New Zealand, but in two weeks they'll be switching off our analogue signal. I remember my grandmother grappling with digital TV on one of my visits to the UK; they really should have waited for all the old people to die before making such a confusing change. I'm not a big telly watcher (my flaky undigital reception might have had something to do with that) and the whole digital thing just wasn't a high priority for me. Plus I didn't want to spend the money. Last week, despite feeling like crap, I forced myself to at least think about it, and this morning (having browsed PriceSpy) I bought a 32-inch Samsung TV from Noel Leeming for $400. I was in and out within five minutes before all that light and noise completely engulfed me, although when I saw an 80-incher on display I felt like asking them if they had anything bigger than that. Installing and tuning my new TV was surprisingly painless. I had visions of, well, no vision, but instead I've got a really sharp picture.

This morning's first America's Cup race (the NZ boat almost capsized) was the lead news item at 9am. It's a shame I missed the race - it seems to me that, just like in Formula One, the exciting bits are when someone crashes (or nearly crashes). I turned on the (old) TV in time for the second race. Right, I still don't know whether it's a jive or a jibe but I'm going to watch this and it's going to be great. But it was abandoned half-way through due to high winds. The commentators thought that was farcical and I was inclined to agree. They then had some expert on, trying to explain things for people like me. He said, "the pre-start is the most exciting part of the race." What?! Imagine if the warm-up was the best part of a tennis match. When we stayed in NZ in the summer of 1986-87, there was some America's Cup series between the Stars & Stripes and a Kiwi boat called KZ7. They played Rod Stewart's Sailing over and over. My older cousins, who sailed all summer, were right into the yachting. I was too young to have a clue what was happening. Many years later I still don't have a clue.

It was a superb day yesterday (I was secretly hoping it would be the exact opposite) and although I had little energy I went for a walk, trying to make the most of the weather. I stopped for a coffee and ended up talking to a 72-year-old woman (what's the cut-off beyond which women happily tell you their age?) who knew a lot about Syria and other conflicts, and was pessimistic about the future of the planet and its people.

Last week was exhausting. Everything had slowed down considerably. It took me noticeably longer to walk to and from work. Normally I'm a reasonably fast walker but people were streaming past me. And as for the bit in between the two walks, well that had almost ground to a halt. I sat at my desk, shaking, unable to remember what I'd done 30 seconds or two minutes before. I was constantly having to backtrack. Work kept piling up in my queue. I was unable to prioritise: my depression had taken over everything and become Priority A and B and C and D.

It was my old boss's last week, so we had leaving lunches and drinks on Thursday and Friday. That was all I needed. At least when I'm at my desk I can sort of pretend. Friday's drinks after work were particularly horrible; we went to the Green Man - several hectares of floor space crammed with people, some of whom I was supposed to interact with. I wasn't there for long. I spent some time with two blokes from work - they both knew me from our work involvements but they didn't know each other, until they got talking about guitars and bands and karaoke, and after a while it was clear that they were getting on like a house on fire, so I left them to it, and soon left the Green Man altogether.

When I got to work on Thursday my payslip was in my inbox so I checked my bank and credit card statements. What's that $65 for? Ah yes, now that name rings a bell, didn't I look at that site ( when I was trying to find that 56 Up movie? But I don't remember giving out my credit card details (I don't do that willy-nilly) and I sure as hell didn't sign up for paid movies. A quick Google gave me the answer. I'd been scammed by those bastards at, and if I did nothing I'd get charged $65 every month. Wow. I went to the bank and got my credit card cancelled for a $10 fee. So 56 Up became 75 Down. I was given a "disputed transaction" form to fill in - I haven't done so yet and don't fancy my chances of getting that money back.

The first time I felt like this, where life went by in slow motion and took on a grey, metallic tinge, was in Lyon back in 2001. Just like then, the last thing I want to do is see or talk to anybody, and almost everything I do is a function of my depression. Dad had a call from her sister who is going through a bad depressive spell too, probably worse than mine. After talking about her, I then mentioned my latest bout. Dad said that with the possibilities my app might still give me, my mood should instead be elevated. My parents have been really supportive with anything app-related and I do appreciate that.

I'm going to Auckland this Friday night. I'll be staying till Tuesday. It's a well-timed trip for me. After last week, I desperately need to get away. Spending time with people who don't freak me out will be a welcome change. When I get back I plan to start my new diet (it won't be easy) and advertise for a flatmate.

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