It was inevitable, and the bad day I predicted came yesterday.
Like most days I woke with a full agenda of things to do. I had to review some documents sent to me, add in my recommendations and then forward them on. I had to pay for a contacts database. There was a white paper I wanted to edit. In the back of my mind I hoped to actually do some creative writing. And I needed to work on my PC's.
I haven't made mention of this till now, but I upgraded from a PC to an Apple iMac last week. That entailed some excitement for me not just because it was new, but because it was unfamiliar. I've always had PC's, always worked on a PC, but always taken a great interest in Apple and everything it does (who doesn't these days?). So anyway I'd been mulling over the option before signing on the dotted line, and I've got no regrets. It's a lovely machine in every way and I hope to write a lot more about sometime soon.
I may have gone to the light side but I can't totally divorce myself from the world of Windows. If for no other reason I need Windows so I can run MS Office, essential in my line of work, and very puny in the Mac version. Cut a long story short that means I had to create a virtual desktop where I could install Windows and my Windows programs side by side with Leopard. It's quite easy, and pretty elegant.
So I've spent the week transferring files and setting up programs and so on, and all was tickety boo. That is until the Windows update runs overnight and I find my virtual desktop wont open. Twice this has happened, and each time I've had to start from scratch and recreate the desktop and re-install my windows programs. Very frustrating. And something I had to do again yesterday.
Unfortunately for reasons I've yet to understand I've been unable to reinstall Office. This is more than frustrating, it's a problem. I tried all sorts of tricks, done Google searches, rebooted etc, and so on – no dice.
At the same time I'm setting my old PC as a Media Centre PC which I'll hook up to the TV to record programs and connect wirelessly to the home network. That's the idea anyway. Unfortunately there is some issue with the BIOS which means the Media Server CD can't be read for installation. Ok, I think, why don't I reformat the PC and try and install from blank? Fine except no matter what I do I can't seem to reformat the HD for the above mentioned reason.
So I'm doing these things in parallel yesterday morning, turning from one PC to the other and totally neglecting the more important tasks I'd set myself. Unfortunately my nature is that I can't let things go. I seem to take these obstacles as a personal affront and the more I'm denied the more I want to beat it. That's how it was yesterday morning. I was fierce to the point of distraction, and sadly, found no solution – yet.
Some sense prevailed in the afternoon and I attended to at least some of the tasks I had to do, I reviewed the documents and sent them off, I started on the white paper. Then I organised to pay the bill for a contacts database I am renting – $750 – and discovered to my shock that I had about $8,000 less than what I expected in my account. Upon investigation I found that some EOFY prepayments had gone through automatically without any reference to me. And then discovered that these organisations had sent the relevant correspondence to my previous address despite being advised of my current address.
Well, I was fuming. I was also worried. It leaves me with a skinny bank balance with about another $4,000 committed to different things and reliant upon rent coming in and any work I invoice between now and then to cover it.
I needed a drink. Whisky came by and picked me up and drove to his new home in Fitzroy. We wandered down the road and had a couple of beers at a bar called Libation in Brunswick Street. It was about 5.30. Then we hopped on the tram and got off at the corner of Gertrude and had another couple of full strength beers at the Newport Workers Club. We walked back the way we had came, picked up a kebab on the way, met up with JV, and then proceeded to Polly, where we had a couple of bottles of good red between us.
I was meant to go to the football, but somewhere in all the drinking that slipped away – just as well really, as it turned out. I pulled up stumps at about 11. It was damn cold. I jumped into a cab stopped at the lights and directed to Hawthorn.
Every time I go to Fitzoy I have a sense of nostalgia. It is all very familiar to me over many years, but particularly because of that year I spent working around the corner from the main drag. I don't feel greatly sentimental, but I do remember things, and at times find myself sliding off into some kind of reverie. Funny how times change and life moves on.
Last night it was perhaps keener than usual. I think it's probably because it was Friday night and it reminded me of the many times we would go to one – or a few – of the local pubs for our end of week drinks. At one stage sitting in Libation I almost felt like sending Amy an SMS: Having a drink in Brunswick Street. Come and join us. I even speculatively checked my phone address book while Whisky was in the gents, only to discover I don't have her number any more. Probably just as well.
In the end my nostalgia was more general than particular. It was as if the memory of Amy had set off other, similar memories. At the same time the return to these familiar places reminded me of those times in my life time stamped by those occasions.
A few weeks back heading for Red Hill for the wine tasting I was powerfully reminded of the matching visit 12 months before, and how much as changed since. Last night walking by the Black Pearl I remembered a night 18 months ago when I had a very large night ending there at about 2am, remembered the money splashed around on wine and cocktails. Once more I thought, how times have changed.
I guess that's the thing I realised most last night, or perhaps was reminded of – that no matter how settled and stable our life may seem we are always really in a state of perpetual flux. Things change, that's the nature of life, challenges are thrown at us and people will come into and leave our circle.
I was reminded of a lot of things last night, but it was this last point that resonated strongest with me. How odd it seemed, that we could become so closely connected with a person to the point that we cannot imagine them out of our life, only for that to actually happen. There were a roll call of names and faces. I didn't feel sad remembering – I'm past that – and I don't think it was even regret. More than anything I thought in a perfect world I could make my peace with those I parted with unhappily. It's strange to me that that is the thing that lingers most.
Today is another day, and all this soon forgotten and that fleeting desire for reconciliation dismissed as irrelevant fantasy. End of the day it doesn't change anything really. I've got these PC's to mend.