Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Turning 22: Expectations vs. Reality

Have you ever walked into a business (any business, a restaurant, CD store, assassin’s hideout, whatever) and looked at someone who worked there and thought, “Wow, I wonder if this is what they envisioned for themselves? I wonder if they go home each night and cry while leaning up against the shower wall like every single dramatic film ever made?”

My 22nd birthday is rapidly approaching, and this morning after having a really bizarre dream where I was being chased by physical representations of responsibility (they looked like stern brown bears with business suits), I’ve been wondering if I’m where I should be at this point in my life.

But first, some background information...

When I turned fourteen my father, who was a very strict and if we’re going to be honest a little bit of a hard-arse, sat me down and gave me a talk. Not “The Talk”, mind you. “The Talk” I had to go through just before my 11th birthday, which I only agreed to after extorting my Dad for an early present; a Discman.

Totally worth it.

No, this talk was more along the lines of what plans I had for myself in the future. Plans like attending university, a career, maybe even where I wanted to live someday.

Remember that I was four-fucking-teen years old. My answer was quite simply, “Uh, finish high school and go to university, I guess?” Pretty decent answer for fourteen, I thought. Sure as shit beats what some teenagers aspire to do. Apparently “Getting knocked up at 16 ½ and working at Hungry Jack’s for the rest of my life” is a completely acceptable answer these days.

When I turned fifteen my father sat me down again and said, “Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time that…”

My mind started working overtime. “…it’s about time that…” That what? I started conjuring up all the possible ends to that sentence:

“Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time I told you that you’re adopted.”


“Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time that I told you that I’m actually a Russian sleeper agent polar bear.”

Maybe perhaps,

“Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time that you joined the old Aldridge family tradition of SLAUGHTERING LADYBUGS WITH A BLUNT CHEESE KNIFE!”

Or quite possibly,

“Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time that I told you that this isn’t actually 2005, and this isn’t actually Australia. This isn’t even Earth. You were genetically engineered in a lab on Blargon by me and my team of scientists as a super-weapon to combat the fearsome killer Death-Kittens of Purina IV and it is now time to fulfil your ULTIMATE DESTINY and BRING PEACE TO THE UNIVERSE.”

But no, what he actually said was; “Okay, son, I’ve been thinking it’s about time that you found yourself a job.”

So, it had come to this.

The free ride was over. No more asking for $12 so I could go see a movie with my mates. I’d have to pay for my own clothes, mobile phone credit and bus tickets.

In true “Not in tune with the real world” style, I quickly found a job working at a local Chinese restaurant, having been dating the waitress there at the time. No interview, no questions asked.

This is where things go sour for me. Seven years ago I was waiting tables in a crappy little restaurant, getting paid $25 cash a night and a serving of vegetable noodles. No, seriously. And not much has changed since then.

I guess what I’m saying is back when I was fifteen, 22 seemed so far away and so full of hope. There were so many possibilities. High school would be five years behind me, I would be finishing a university degree, probably on my way to becoming an Astronaut-Rock Star-Billionaire-Superhero.

The reality is I’m sitting in a modest house, eating a microwaved burrito for lunch, sipping on a two-litre bottle of Coke Zero and blogging in my underpants.

But you still love me, right, Internet?



mortarnpistol.com said...

My god, this hits too close to home!

DeMi More said...

Jealous. I've had more than one interview for every entry-level job I've gotten. Super selectivity for lame skills...

Post a Comment