It was a wild day Thursday. I got to work late, and had a late lunch break. I walked up to Queen Vic market to do some shopping, but the place was closing down. Winds battered the building as the workers cleaned up mopping down floors and disposing of waste. I wandered through it, intrigued. I came across a section normally closed off to the public. A bunch of seagulls were feasting on large bins full of ‘organic waste’, as it was labelled – joints and bones leftover from the butcher’s hall, spilling over the top of the bins white and gristly. It was an eerie sight.
I wandered back towards work taking a circuitous route through small laneways. It was a casual day and I was in jeans and a jumper with a heavy woollen coat. The wind bent at me, making my hair crazy. I felt free and vibrant. There’s something about those conditions which liberate me. I felt more completely myself than I had for a long time, kind of rugged and individual, solo in the world and content with it. It affected how I interacted with people, I could see it in their eyes and in the easy banter when I bought a coffee or chatted to them in the lift.
Here I am, but more many months I’ve felt smaller than who I am. On Thursday I felt as if I had grown back to my full and true size.
That was Thursday, but then something else happened yesterday.
While I was at the bar last night I got into an extremely minor verbal stoush with another patron that I wouldn’t normally comment on except for what it means.
We were standing at a table at which other people other stood. Over strides a plump red-headed Brit and squeezes in beside me as if I’m not there. I let it go, but I know there’s going to be a problem.
A had gone off to the ladies and when she returned I got her to get her stool and sit where I’d been standing to protect the space while I went off to the gents. So I get back and she’s sitting where I was standing and this guy continues to jostle and back into her, to the point she says something. He stares at the both of us and then it continues.
Know I definitely know something’s going to happen, and I’m relishing it. I swap positions with A so that I’m standing on the corner of the table where she was sitting. I know it’s going to come to a confrontation, but I don’t want to be the one that starts it. I’m a reasonable man besides. I’ll give a little in the spirit of cooperation, but I won’t give way.
For the next 5 minutes we jostle continuously, our backs to each other. It feels as if he’s trying to force me from where I am, but I don’t budge an inch. Finally he turns around and has a go at me.
I can’t remember exactly what was said. Probably the usual sort of crap. I remember telling him we’d been there a long before he came; and A spoke up saying how she’d had to shift because of him. His friends watched on, more inclined to believe us than their mate I think, and keen to settle it done. That won’t do for him though – as I knew it wouldn’t.
I had him pegged from the get go. A bit oblivious, sloppy with his body, happy to bully and barge and if he can get away with it, and bit precious on top of that. He could speak a good game maybe, but he was also soft. He wouldn’t let it go because he couldn’t – but didn’t know what to do.
Like I said, I waited. Finally he said something particularly lame about how he thought I must want to get in his arse the way I was pressing up against him. I smiled, and then gave him the slow once over, and told him he wasn’t my type.
By now his friends have spoken up, trying to calm things down. Eventually it got sorted out, they shuffled over to give us space, and five minutes later he was gone. No more problems.
I make a point of reporting this because it’s a significant indicator of where I’m at right now. I’m an alpha working in an environment where there’s absolutely no opportunity to be alpha. I’ve always worked in ambitious, competitive environments, and I’ve been in my element. I like the cut and thrust. I like to measure myself against others and outdo them. It’s what I know.
Now I’m in an environment where there’s none of that. There’s no-one remotely alpha on the floor, and it’s such a structured, rigid environment there’s little opportunity to be or do anything extra. I feel completely out of place, and have dialled myself all the way down.
I can’t suppress it completely though. It feels anti-life. I’m still the same person, but without the work outlet I must express it some other way. That’s why I anticipated the little stoush so keenly last night. I wanted to let it rip. I wanted to look in his eyes and feel the force in me and let it curl from my lips.
I have no apologies for that feeling. I understand how it might seem to some, but really it’s a feeling of total engagement. You’re in the moment, and it’s vivid, and it’s in your hands.
Says a lot. I need to get back to what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve got to live to my full size, and more.