About two weeks ago when I started my blog I was mental electricity in a jar. Bottled lightning.
I think that I was moving that fast in my head because I didn’t want to stop and consider what was going on around me. If I wasn’t drinking then I had to fill the space with something – and my list of things to do in my time that I planned to take off work grew and grew.
My list was as follows (in no particular order)
- Get a dog (it will happen one day)
- Learn a language
- Get fit
- Sort out blood sugar
- Decorate house
- Sort out overgrown garden
- Add to my youtube channel
- Take a course in something I’ve never done
- Write a book
- Play a musical instrument
- Take a photo every day
- Write a blog
- Turn my garden into an allotment
- Join a geocaching club
Some amongst the people reading my blog may note that these were not entirely arrived at on my own, and whenever a well meaning reader contacted me with an idea (other than jumping out of a plane) I added it – after all, it was all something I’d never done, and that was the point!
For a brief moment when I decided NOT to leave work I stared at my feet and thought ‘well thats all on hold now’.
But after a little while I realised – that was the old me thinking. The old me lost 6 hours most days getting drunk in the evening.
New me has 42 hours extra a week.
New me has 2190 hours a year he didn’t have before!
So I can’t get a dog at the moment, but I can do other things…
Number 15 on the list was something I had promised myself I would do on my year off – and the other day I issued this as a challenge to a friend during a lengthy and heartfelt discussion.
‘Speak to someone new’
Originally I intended this to be a daily exercise. This is not so easy with full time employment – but the spirit of the challenge is a good one, as meeting someone new isn’t always easy and it forces you to step outside your comfort zone.
If I couldn’t do it every single day I had resolved to make a point of doing it whenever possible.
I agreed with my friend that we would both meet (and most crucially) talk to and get to know about someone we had never met before.
My new person unexpectedly turned out to be a man I was getting a quote from for furniture removal.
I’d phoned him earlier in the day on the recommendation of a colleague who said his prices were very reasonable, and that he did a good job – including sweeping up after himself. He sounded full of beans on the call, and as luck would have it he turned out at the last minute to be in the area of my mom’s bungalow this very evening and said he could pop over to do a quote.
Although I originally had other plans I needed to get this sorted and not worry about it any more so I agreed to meet him after work and discuss the items that needed removing.
I knew I had met my favourite new person for the week when he appeared from the darkness of the nearby car park wearing a cowboy hat, pushed back at a relaxed angle on top of his long blonde hair.
He greeted me cordially at the gate.
‘Hi Dave – nice to meet you!’ he said with a warm handshake, and a personality enhancing facial twitch, which manifested as a friendly wink.
He’d arrived in a van with his young daughter in tow, and as she sat inside the warm cab playing with her toy he followed me into the house.
‘This looks like an easy one!’ He said with a big twitching smile. ‘I’m used to places being full to the ceiling and giving a nice big quote – I’ll have this done in no time!’
I mentioned to him that me and my brother had moved the worst already – but it barely registered. I realised then that this was a man who loved his work, so I asked him about what he did on an average day.
‘Everything.’ He said.
‘I’ve chased rats out of houses, gone in with full facemasks and white suits, climbed over piles of rubbish only a foot away from the ceiling! I love it. The bigger the pile of stuff the bigger the quote!’
I smiled. ‘Where there’s muck there’s brass!’ I replied.
‘Oh yea!’ he said ‘ AND you find all sorts in house clearances.’
I looked like I wanted to know more.
‘Rings.’ he said. ‘Loads of em. Cleared a place a few months back – found a box full of gold rings. That was a good un! Made a packet on that!’
He looked around the relatively bare bungalow again.
‘But this one’s an easy one – be done in no time!’
We agreed on a quote and a date. I already had a figure in mind which he’d significantly undercut – as well as saying he was happy to disconnect my mom’s cooker, so he’d made a swift sale.
‘Thing I can’t stand though is the smell…’ he continued, after shaking my hand again.
‘I went in one place, droppings everywhere – and the woman kept complaining we were making the kitchen work surfaces dirty when we moved boxes. Kept wiping them even though there was rat crap everywhere. Lads wouldn’t go in in the end. Had to throw the bags out of the window to them!’
He smiled nostalgically at the happy memories of airborne refuse and then handed me his business card with the agreed sum marked on the top left corner in green pen.
Who has a green biro? Clearly this man did.
I liked him.
Eventually his twitchy cheerfulness exited the bungalow and I was left smiling – in a place that previously I felt pretty miserable in.
This rat chasing, smell resistant, rubbish hurling treasure hunter with a cowboy hat had just become my knight in shining armour.
I watched him ride off in his metal steed with his playful daughter, and felt glad that my to do list had one less thing on it for the week.
New person met (tick).
Now… About the other 14…