Empty Days

Friday, March 25, 2005

The great unknown.

So I completed my first 2-week bike messenger experience. Tomorrow is Good Friday and nobody works and neither do bikers. How very fortunate - because I am totally run down and exhausted. Apparently they think I am supposed to rocket back and forth across town as if I were on a diesel-propelled moped. Like hell I am. Yet they get upset that I don't do my calls fast enough. Yet I don't see how I can carry a bunch of fragile gift-bags in my hand and climb a super-steep hill at the same time - because clients give you all sorts of fragile fancy-looking shit and dispatchers just have no clue what sort of calls they're giving out - they only have a street-map in their head minus actual reality out there.

Also, the main dispatch is a real pissant and a drama-queen - he always sounds like he's going to kill himself, upset and pissed and totally green, making scenes on the two-way radio, freaking out, blah... As a result of these nervous exhibitions he sends me out on needless runs and into places where there is either nothing to pick up or no waybill prepared or where nobody knows who ordered what delivery - and then he gets pissed when I call him to talk about these problems, and he gets just as pissed when I don't call. So today I just took it all in stride and was super-calm and obliged his hysterical moods.

One thing though: the weather was just great. I got too hot in my winter jacket but there were gusts of chilly wind here and there, so it's not like I could have done without a coat altogether. But I did get all sweaty and a bit miserable etc.


Next Tuesday is pay-day, I believe - so I will have to make a decision as to whether I stay on full-time or ask for part-time or maybe they'll fire me. I am prepared for all of the three eventualities. My preferred option would be part-time but I can stick it out full-time for another little while to get a better idea of what I can or cannot do, or how fast I improve if at all. So far I do a steady 15-17 calls a day - and can't do more, it seems. Considering that most of these calls are barely paid $2 commission, I can't be making more than $30-40 a day which is perfectly ridiculous and does not warrant all the effort.
This is why doing this peanut-job full-time is such a huge waste of time. But part-time it would be just perfect - nowhere as exhausting and I am gonna remain on welfare anyhow.

Speaking of money: I've been spending more than I've been earning, I think. The paradox of being outside a lot is that I am constantly tempted to either have a coffee, or stop at the store by the end of the day and buy some food. Or even the simple fact of having to bring my own lunch - that's just more expense too.
With less active life I always stay home and spend money only rarely.


Also, by April 17th I will need to have made a decision as to whether I stay on in this apartment after July or move out. March is the best month to find a new flat because it's the very beginning of appartment-hunting season. In April it already becomes much harder. Not to mention later on.

It is clearly impossible to be looking for an appartment while working full-time and being exhausted in the evenings and weekends. But I would really want to move out of here this year!!!


In the end, I just don't know what I need and why I am doing all this. I might as well do something else or not do anything at all. It's all completely meaningless - I am going by the hunch and it's all unclear and unknown to me.

The why of it is unknown.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dog tired.

Yesterday was a mess - burned half of my rides, was too tired to push harder or to think straigther. At the same time I seem to have stopped caring. One thing is starting to become clear: I do not wish nor desire to do this job full-time 5 days a week. It's too exhausting, the money is ridiculous, and I like to have some free time on weekdays. The problem is that this company probly won't want to keep me part-time, so I'll have to go somewhere else. Thus I rather tell them now, so they can start hiring somebody else more suitable for their needs.

The bikers I meet are really of every possible walk and venue. There are young punk-like boys heavily invested in their lifestyle; then there are tough serious guys in their thirties riding expensive power-bikes; then there are all the "college students"; then there are goofs who look like they're either homeless or just out from a nut-house; then there are all the girls - the stylish sporty ones and the baba-cool ones; and then of course there are all sorts of other non-descript people and I am most certainly one of them at this point.

What does worry me however is the weather they're announcing for Friday: ice rain and a significant drop in temps. So, what do I wear? I don't know, or rather - I just have no rain-proof clothing. The only possible solution would be to wrap garbage-bags around the sleeves of my winter-jacket and wear a simple rain-poncho for the rest. I do have those vynil pants still from this summer - they'll probably tear to shreds on the first day but that's something to wear still. As to shoes... Again, plastic bags over the remnants of my winter shoes or just let the shoes get soaked.
All in all I hate the idea of biking on Friday. One hope is that it will be a holiday for bikers too :-/

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bike-messenging in NYC is listed as one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Certainly biking in Montreal is no such thing. But I still have to consider that it's a bit too much exposure to the chance of traffic accident.

I wish I could understand this for once and count every day as my last, just in case - and thus start living in the present when it comes, instead of brooding (past) or fabulating (future).

I-Ching is brutal towards me. I am getting this:


Going forward leads to obstacles,
Coming meets with praise.

In the midst of the greatest obstacles,
Friends come.

36.Darkening of the Light


Woke up again - it's 2am. Neighbours are not to blame for once (they're not home) but it seems I already got into the habit of waking several times per night. And I've been generally out of my mind lately in any case.

Yesterday (Sunday) I was in a totally desperate and hopeless mood - I am living the depths of depression and yet I am very active physically. Biked all day in frisky air of early spring, sat in tumultuous cafes, watched crowds - and throughout all this I was utterly miserable and entirely detached from that whole universe - to the point of scavanging a front-wheel from an abandoned bike on the most crowded street in french part of town - homeless people act that way, as if they were alone in their living-room :-/

At the same time I probably looked fairly well-to-do in my leather-jacket and thus even more crazy with my actions (nevermind the fact that I got the jacket at $10 on garage sale, it's still one of those bomber jackets etc).

This feeling of misery and hopelessness is so very familiar, I can't even describe how familiar it is - and how tired I am of always having to re-experience it. This feeling comes from me trying to break through towards the world by performing all those "normal human actions" - like working and interacting with people socially or just go out about town etc. I think what happens at such times is that I am made to experience my inner loneliness with increased violence - the closer I get to the world, the more I feel how utterly removed I am from it. There is just no possibility of a door opening - because I can't open it inside myself, I can't see a possible inner community with some people at least. Nothing - no light - no entrance.

All this might also be exaggerated by purely nervous depression, like me raving for a smoke - I had to be especially disciplined yesterday to avoid finally buying another pack of cigarettes - the craving was just immense (and still is - I guess that's my habitual reflex while filled with emptiness, I literally have "nowhere to go" except light up and get some dopamine going).

So yes - drugs are a weapon against hopelessness - even if it's a bad weapon, it's the only one entirely suitable for the desperately lonely. It would seem that the drug addiction problems plaguing so many people is a sign of generalized loneliness and hopelessness of modern society.



What I am trying to say is that it makes absolutely no difference if I go to work tomorrow or not - if I do that bike-messenger thing or not - if I live or if I die. That's how I feel - that everything is in vain no matter what I do - because I just don't exist in any case, I can't break out, I am trapped.


The silence of night (all building asleep) is a relief. I do need a smoke right now. But I can't indulge in smoking anymore because I can clearly hear the noise in my bronchis and it's not very promising - it's full of muck. I can't deny that fact. So I can't smoke anymore. Maybe I should shoot some stuff then, heh.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Poisonous nerves.

After a week between the hammer and a hard place (at the courier office - then neighbours at home) my body is so full of stress and exhaustion I feel like I am a bomb ready to explode.

I seriously don't know how to flush out all this frustrated aggression. Yesterday I went to see my parents and gave them a lot of shit for no good reason at all except that I had to take it out on somebody. I think if I could be sure that my performance at the job is siffucient, my self-esteem would be strengthened and I'd be less affected by my being stuck in this hateful appartment. But maybe not - maybe my self-esteem is so utterly and chronically impaired that no amount of experience can prove it otherwise and give me back any of that peace of mind I long for.

Oh lord, how tired I am - of myself!


Notice please: the stress I am getting is not from biking in downtown, from clients, or from taxis and pedestrians. Oh no. The stress I am getting is from the office-people who want me to do things without telling me how. This behavior is caused by office-culture - it's made to work like a machine and people inside it are like little hammers that are made to hit on little keys and then those keys put in motions the wheels of the machine and this motion produces income/profit/cash. So everybody is constantly hammering everybody under them, and those under hit and hammer those still below - and this whole shitty construction is called operational-overhead. The more overhead and managers and hitting and ass-fucking there is, the more stressful the office-culture. This is exactly all the feelings I've experienced at my high-paying office job 5 years ago. I ran from it because it was not worth it for a minute. And here it's the same, except that I am still sustained by the positive vision of biking and being outdoors. So - either I will learn to ignore the office-overhead and make sure they're ok with me so I rarely ever mess with them - or... but there is no other alternative except either being fired or quitting.


I hoped the courier job will relieve my depression - the mere bustle and effort of it - but it didn't do nothing of the sort. This depression is clearly related to my self-esteem (or the desperation I feel about my life in general) and the job is only putting more stress on that very point - instead of just letting me bustle and hustle in peace.

So it's official: tremendous amounts of physical exercise do not relieve depression or stress - I exercise all day long like a professional athlete and it doesn't help one bit. But if I were given the chance to feel that I do something well, it would certainly improve things tremendously in my mind. I hoped I could do biking/messenging well - but it involves so much people-overhead and so much communicational-shit, that I am not sure I will ever have a chance to get past it and improve myself at the biking per se.

I ran away from office-culture because it nearly killed me - but apparently even bike-couriers are still too close to those shitty offices and the miasmic world they produce.



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