Although I have many, many talents*, decisiveness has never been amongst them. If I am given a binary choice between A and B I will inevitably dither for 20 minutes before landing on C, a non-decision to take away choice altogether. I have no idea where this comes from. I remember back in the mists of time being able to choose between a Calipo and 99, or Pick’n Mix and a Jive Bunny cassette in a flash. Days went by like rain as I ran from shop to shop, quickly equating the pros and cons of the most diverse choices before alighting deftly on the option with the greater benefit. Thundercats or Bucky O’Hare? Mighty Max or Lego? Trombone or Trumpet? All were trounced by my fearsome deciding skills.
These days I can hardly decide what’s for breakfast. Cereal with milk? Cereal with yoghurt? Toast? Toast with Nutella? Each has their own unique charms. When you multiply the gravity of the choice by a factor of ten, say figuring out what my future in Australia should be, my brain shuts off its computer, grabs its coat and leaves the office for the day. Unfortunately, but rather presciently, that last decision is exactly the one I now face. My original plan was to take up an offer to work on an outback farm for a few months, earning both an oodle of money and the right to stay in Aus for another year, retreat to Melbourne, grab myself a teaching qualification and use this to squirrel myself away in the bosom of this once proud penal colony for good. As the saying goes however, all good plans go haywire and make you wish you’d never made them in the first place. The farm job is no more. This means I can’t afford the teaching course without taking a huge financial risk which means…I have a decision to make. Curses, my one weakness etc etc.
So, as far as I can now see I have three options which I shall duly proceed to extoll:
1: Get the fuck out of Dodge.
When the Spice Girls emerged from the bowels of the Olympic stadium clad in newspapers atop black cabs at the infinitely disappointing Olympic closing ceremony I had in my mind’s eye a trip of epic proportions. Safely snuggled in my Blackheath flat I could see the possibilities unravel before me: first the USA where the Big Apple, Windy City and the entirety of Californiaa would fall beneath my unstoppable onslaught. Then Colombia, angry Communist rebel capital of the world. Then Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia before finally heading home an eternity of time in the future. I was thinking about 7 months.
Almost 2 years later I’m still going. This is frankly ridiculous. There must be someone to complain to. Somebody, to quote one of my perennial favourites, stop me. Perhaps the time has finally come to end this wayward distraction and retreat once more unto the warm embrace of Mother England. Maybe I’ll travel to Scotland, stake a claim in one of their “cities” and vote NO with all the passion I can muster. Perhaps I’ll take a job holding those giant GOLF SALE posters on Oxford Street. Perchance Speakers Corner needs another, well, shouter. So many possibilities, all at the low low price of selling my dreams to the void. Sad face.
2: Go on an Adventure.
The job I was to take was in Western Australia, the remotest part of a country whose main export is remoteness. There’s so much remoteness out there they’re literally giving it away. Emptiness, a precious resource in China, is dug from the ground and shipped on giant rafts of nothingness across the oceans where it is exported to the Chinese countryside. It arrives at its destination many weeks later and is used by peasants to move that one family no-one likes a mile further outside their tiny town of 16 million people. Everyone wins.
Option number two then is to journey through that great void to Perth, the remotest city on Earth (for reals yo) and try and find a similar job to the one that is now dead to me. All at the low low price of extremely expensive flights and even more expensive hostels full of dickhead teenagers from Dublin.
3: Commit to my one true love.
Ah Melbourne. Melly-Melly-Melbourne. Melbs. Mel. Me. M. The city that took my shattered heart, applied a liberal amount of thick, slimy stuff that smelt like soup and glued it all back together. The city that finally proved that no matter where their origins lie, an entire people can rise above petty theft and buggery and create diamonds from sand. Melbourne! Jewel of the East. Rose of the South. Wi-Fi Capital of the World. Melbourne!
I love Melbourne. I love the Central Business District with its glass Orthancs and stations yellow as jaundice. I love the St Kilda penguins and annoyingly show-offish kite surfers. I love Brunswick’s desperate want to be Shoreditch. Most of all I love Fitzroy, so much so I’m not even going to make a detrimental but affectionate jibe towards it. I love the people, I love the bars, I love the atmosphere and I love that it’s the first place I’ve truly felt at home since Bogota over a year ago. My ambition, and it is a genuine ambition, is to stay here for ever and ever until my eyes gloss over, my hands stiffen and I can go to a fancy dress party as Heisenberg without shaving my head. Why not simply spend my remaining months (5) attempting to realise this instead of mucking around in a field with some blokes from Essex bragging about how many Aussies they’ve “bagged?” Why not indeed, all for the low low price of…well nothing. It’s pretty much what I’ve been doing these past few months after all.
So there you go. That’s my quandary. That’s my choice. It’s not quite Sophie’s but it’s up there. At the moment I’m leaning towards door number 3 but that’s because I’m still in Melbourne and I love Melbourne. A week ago it was option 2 that took my fancy. Even choice the first trod the faded boards of my mind not too long ago, although the thought of dealing with the London transport system has tempered that somewhat.
Once more then I have no idea where I’ll be next month. Once a feeling akin to, I dunno, flying, this is now becoming a mildly irritating buzz just beyond hearing. 2 years is a long time to flap loose from the constraints of society and my programming is starting to do the whole Big Brother thing and long for conformity. I want a cubicle, a thought-space to rule my slice of the piechart. I want a pen jar with biros fresh from Bic of Germany. I want the thinnest polyester shirt, the cheapest nylon tie. I want a red stapler to lose, a gag sure to propel myself, Daedelus-like, to the highest pantheons of social standing. I want an inbox. I want a lunch break of no more than 50 minutes. I want respect.
As for now, I have 2 days left of my twenties. This, again, is ridiculous. When did that happen? What happened to that fresh faced fresher freshly fetched from Fleetwood, as new to the greater world as a baby snatched screaming from it’s watery home? What happened to the barefaced optimism, the flaxen haired gaiety, the bright eyed curiosity? Beaten back, says I, beaten back by a world as yet unprepared for the arrival of a soul as pure as that of the young Richard J Godwin. But do not cry for me my friends, I was but a prophet of things to come.
Right. Off to make myself some cake.
Song of Decision Making.
This has absolutely nothing to do with making choices, but I recently went to see the Cat Empire again and they were bloody marvellous, especially their rendition of the below. Lovely.
*Egg counting, card writing, deodorant applying, coat wearing to name but a few.