Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Coward Rising


 As I come to the end of a year of moping, I look back and think yet again of cutting the cord to this life I have and simply buggering off.

I did this in 1995 when I went to Milan and again in 2008 when I quit the police and went travelling to get my mojo back (which I did in style. Impossible to stay in Plakias, Crete for 5 months and not love life again).

Now the wanderlust beckons again. I miss being able to put on a backpack and walk around across valleys and mountains. I miss getting drunk until half past cunt in the morning and waking up with a woman I don’t remember taking to bed/ beach/ couch. I miss being able to not pay rent throughout the summer. Most of all I miss the freedom to do exactly whatever the fuck I like, when I like.

It would be quite easy to move on. I’m still in probation at work and will be till April. A week’s notice will suffice and then I just give the cat back to Cats Protection, bung my property into either the local charity shop or into storage and then off I go!

Then I realise that the seeds I’ve planted over the last year could so easily be destroyed, as I’ve done quite a few times before.

When I went to Milan in 1995 that was kind of cool. I was bored of England and so with just a backpack and a grand in the bank. Got two jobs, fell in love, moved to Rome, moved back to Milan and finally flew back to the UK. By 2008 I was well and truly narked off with good old Blighty again, so I upped anchor and mooched off.

Now, the itch is starting again but after sitting down and actually thinking about this I’ve realised it is less a desire to tred the roads of the earth beneath my Caterpillared feet, but instead to not get attached to anything I’ve built up so far.

I flew back from Mexico to London in August 2011. This was to set up a life for me and my then-girlfriend away from the drug violence and killings and poverty where she lived in Tampico. It took me 3 weeks to find a flat, and 5 months to get a job. I then borrowed a thousand pounds off a mate to pay for my beloved’s flight to Italy in the January. 5 days after she got back she unceremoniously dumped me via a Skype call.

The life I had was now bereft of the reasons for staying here. I got bitter, kept doing the job (that I didn’t much want but hey! It’s a job!) and drifted along. Recently I’ve been thinking of going again but the good vs. the bad of this scenario aren’t clear cut.

So if I form two columns in my head of reasons to go or stay, we have the following:

Cool Shit About Leaving.

1). I can spend the summer rent free at my old man’s place in Crete.

2). No cattery fees for putting my house cat in a hostel over the holidays.

3). I can leave the job I don’t like very much and travel and teach again.

4). I will feel more relaxed and be free from stress about being here.

Then we get to the other list.

Bad Shit About Leaving.

1). I will have to give up my cat for adoption. I like my cat. She’s always pleased to see me and is very affectionate.

2). I will lose my cool, MI5 safe house-esque apartment. Its only access is via an alley full of rubbish bins, so for that one nuisance factor, I pay £300 per month for a one bedroom, two storey flat which is virtually impossible to find unless you know it’s there. It has a security door, a front door and a communal door, all of which are lockable. My bedroom is the attic. The flat is virtually burglar proof.

3). I have been doing Krav Maga for a year now. I’m P1 grade and about to take P2. If I leave I have to give that up and find a new club.

4). I have a job, even if I don’t like it. If I leave I have to find another.

5). The loneliness and frustration of travelling will come to the fore if I leave.

6). I’m on prescription drugs that I won’t be able to get in Europe or other countries beyond that without paying a LOT more money.

Because you see, the myth of backpacking your troubles away is just that, a myth. It’s turning your back on responsibility and attempting to simply sever ties to things that make you feel uncomfortable as they force you to care. It’s cowardice of a very basic form. I don’t want to stay and have to do mature shit like pay rent or cattery bills. I don’t want to get up every morning at a designated time and do things just to make money. But then….if I stay I can change the situation and attempt to morph things into the life I want. I love to write and if I stay I can do that and one day leave my job. Sitting at home all day, sipping filter coffee and writing. Heaven!

Finding the courage to put down roots and let them flourish is not easy. I have always ripped up the roots before they had a chance to grow. I’ve been told I’m not a coward as I will always stand my ground…but when it comes to the fundamental things, like actually having a life. I have in the past turned my back on it all.

Life is what it comes as. Time to evolve.



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