Oh I could cry, I could really, really cry. Have you ever had a problem with all the companies that service your life? I try to stay off the grid as much as possible. I don’t have a car, I don’t own a house, I don’t have a gym membership. I don’t have a dishwasher, or a washing machine and dryer. I don’t have any debt, kids, pets or garden.
But every now and then, it’s as if all the official bodies I have to deal with come crashing down on me all at once. First – it was the Tax Department – I seem to have ongoing issues with these guys, basically because I’m the type of person they like to pick on – single, hard-working and with assets. Therefore it is my job to pay for those in my country who cannot or would rather not work.
Then it was my phone company. In the 4 years I have been with them, I have never paid a bill late and never gone over my data or usage plan – until now. And suddenly to the tune of $400 – unbelievable. Then it was a whopping bill from the energy company. In my three decades and a half on this planet – I have never had a big energy bill – probably because I have next to no appliances and I am always out of the home – working to pay my rent and taxes towards those that would prefer to go to the beach. My excess amount this quarter? Double what I usually pay.
THEN – I had someone try to phish my card via a PayPal scam. Then I had an unexpected debit taken out of my account. In short – the universe is taking all my money away – so that I can’t afford to live the simple life I try to eke out daily. Why must it be so hard?
We work pretty hard here in Australia – but not as hard as many other countries – but harder than many. Our typical working week is between 38.5 and 40.5 hours for a typical full-time job. For most full-time office roles, we get 4 weeks paid holiday a year – meaning that we work 48 weeks out of 52 weeks. Most Australians begin full-time work at around age 20 – and the government has just raised the retirement age and is planning on doing it again – to age 70 or older, meaning that most of us will have at least 50 years in the workforce – if we’re “lucky”.
I’m so bloody tired. I’m exhausted.
The only thing worse than working is the frightening prospect of not working. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I love my job and I adore my colleagues. I work in a (mostly) ethical business and we have good working conditions and fair remuneration. In this country, remuneration is particularly good for those workers who have a penis. For those who made the mistake of being born with a vagina, the remuneration is not quite as good as we earn 18% less than our male colleagues. But that’s because we’re not as smart, not as valued and probably want to skive off and raise the next generation of capitalist workers. So it’s fair, really.
Anyway. The worst thing about dealing with your tax department, phone provider, energy provider and phishing scams is being put on hold on an endless loop. Honestly – I could have cried after being put on hold for yet another 40 minutes only to hear the same 2 minute music track in a perpetual loop.
I think, “What would my grandmother have to say about this?”
I’m sure she would have thought I was crazy and pitied me enormously. I used to think the same thing when I was running daily on a treadmill. “What am I doing?” I would think to myself. “I’m running, running, running – and getting nowhere!”
Modern life sucks. It’s crappy. Particularly since the advent of the iPhone. We are addicted and it’s way worse than any drug. People are unable to think for themselves. We are unable to detach. We are unable to be still.
Every morning I anchor myself in awareness.
As I stand on the platform of Kings Cross station, the train thunders into view.
I think to myself:
- What can I see
- And feel…?
Suddenly the reality of my circumstance hits me. What the f**k am I doing?
The train is a giant, steel beast. It makes so much noise as it thunders towards me. It’s terrifying. Seeing the train as if for the very first time – as if I had just landed here – I think, “why am I getting on this thing?”
I see rows and rows of people lined up, sitting like miserable sardines on their way to Armageddon. Are we all fools? All crazy? Must I get on this train? What if I can never get off?