The Blog of Dabido (the Baka one). Everything in this blog is copyrighted. Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 by D. Stevenson.

01 February, 2005

Spinning My Wheels – Part Seven

So, I got my deferment for a year, and went looking for a job. This made it easier in one way. I was no longer a Uni student, and so people were more likely to hire me. Only problem was, I was nineteen and people wanted either 18 and under, or people with experience. I also bit the bullet and registered for unemployment benefits. This was despite my fears (as previously stated). I think my flatmates were relieved, as it would give me some financial freedom, and I'd be able to feed myself.

I got a job at Woolworth's. I passed all the tests and the interview. I was told to turn up on the next Thursday. I couldn't that night, because it was the last night of Uni and I asked them to allow me to start the week after. I turned up for work a week later, only to have the manager claim she'd never seen me before. She tried telling me that I was too old to work there, as I was nineteen and not eighteen. (She didn't remember me, but remembered my age. Funny!) I think she'd stuffed up and didn't want to admit to it. She let me work that night, but told me to phone each week and they'd tell me if I was working. So I started doing that. Only, I was never required. The job was supposed to be every Thursday night and Saturday. I was pretty p***ed off by what had happened

As I'd accepted a job, the Government decided not to start my unemployment benefits. So I was really low on funds. I had to find a job, and fast. The stupid manager at Woolworth's had robbed me of weeks of money. (Yes, I used the term ROBBED!)

Finding a job wasn't easy, but I got a casual position at a local hardware store. The work was so irregular that I still needed to be supplimented by benefits, but it beat starving like I had been. The little money I had earned had gone on food. (My train fares were free because I was a student).

It was around this time, that my parents turned up at the wargaming club I used to frequent. At the club, guys (and the occasional girl) used to play anything from Dungeons and Dragons to board games to miniatures. I was already into naval simulations like “Flattop” and “CV”, from when I was in Adelaide, so the club was a good thing to get into. Once I got to Sydney, one of my friends from school, Steve Thorpe got me involved. In Adelaide I didn't even know clubs existed. I just used to go around my friend Chris's place to play.

Well, they turned up at the club, so I went and hid nearby. I was sitting on some steps behind a wall where I could see them. I wasn't able to go back to the flat because I didn't have a key. (My friends also wouldn't let me.) So I was stuck waiting for my parents to leave. Guys from the games club kept coming over to where I was and talking to me. My mother later told me that she realised I was hiding there, because of that. She sent my father to get me. It was a bit of a shock when my father suddenly turned up behind me and called my name. Not wanting to speak to him I ran. He kept shouting abuse at me as I ran down the street.

I circled around to another hiding place. Eventually, they drove off. I wasn't sure if they were gone for good, but I couldn't stay loitering around for ever. So I went into the club. My younger brother Jeffrey ended up walking in. So they'd just gone around the block. I agreed to go talk to my parents. Basically, my mother told me that I couldn't come home because there wasn't any room for me, and she also claimed they couldn't afford it. This in a way confirmed what I had suspected, but it also made me happy because I was still free. I told them I was working in a hardware store, and would return to Uni once I got some funds behind me.

By this stage, one of the guys had moved out of the flat. The other two offered me the spare bedroom, provided I could pay rent. As I was working, I could afford it now, so I accepted.

During time off from work (which was frequent), I started hanging out with some guys from the games club. One was a student, and so had some time when he wasn't at University. Another was unemployed. I started spending a lot of time at one of their homes at Coogee. His mother ran a boarding house for Japanese students. There I met up with a Japanese girl named Chiaki. I admit, I was smitten from the start. We started hanging together a little bit, but we both wanted different things. She was lonely and wanted a close friend. A confidant. I was good at that. Only problem was, I wanted more. I wanted her as a girlfriend. I don't think I had much to offer. I was practically unemployed, and my prospects didn't look good. The only thing I had was potential.

I was spending time over their house sleeping on the lounge at night. Eventually, it came crunch time, one of us was going to have to give. My friend (who lived there), told me he had talked to her. He said that it was best to choose a level less than what she wanted. He told her to tell me we could only be friends, because he felt it would mean we'd be good friends. He then came and told me what he had said. She came and spoke to me later. She told me what my friend had told her to say. She said she just wanted to be friends. I couldn't let go though. I told her, I wanted to be good friends. Knowing what she had been told about choosing the next level down, I knew she would understand what I meant. I then told her how I felt about her. She realised I wasn't going to let go of my feelings, so she just stopped talking to me. Just like that. It was October ninth. I still remember the day. She never uttered a word to me again.

A week later, we were at a party there. One of the Japanese guys, Daijira (hope I spelt it right), had invited a lot of people over. I put on a brave face. She wouldn't speak to me. I tried to speak to her friend Mari, and she wouldn't speak to me either. I had made a major faux pas. I had gone for all or nothing, and ended up with nothing.

Meanwhile, I wasn't getting the hours at the hardware store I needed. I was practically unemployed. I was having a major struggle getting enough for food and rent. So I went looking for work again. I found a job in a textile lab of a factory. At the rate I was going, this was going to be the only way to pull my own butt out of the fire. (So to speak).

I went down to the hardware store and resigned. They'd placed another guy on anyway, so I think the lack of hours was a way of giving me a hint.

In the textile lab, I was earning Two Hundred and Eight dollars a week. Not very much, but it was enough to pay rent, buy food and keep the wolf from the door. It also meant I could stick fifty dollars away each week to save up to return to University in a year. There was a little bit of surplus. This meant, I could go to the cinemas with the other guys when they went. I also had some money to buy records. I was very much into music, (being a guitarist). So I started searching through all the second hand record stores looking for cheap records. Most were only one or two dollars. The most expensive was about ten.

When I started turning up home on Thursday nights after work with records, one of my flatmates was going on about how I shouldn't be buying records, as I owed him. I asked him, how much did he want? I had money, I would pay him. He said he didn't want money. What did he want? He wanted me to stop buying records. Huh?

My parents contacted on of my flatmates. I suspect they'd been in contact all the time anyway. They were all moving back to Perth, and wanted to say goodbye. Well, my brother Paul didn't turn up. I met them at the door. My mother gave me a bag with some sneakers and underpants in it. She said it was all she could afford. Knowing my father kept all his money for himself, I could believe her. It was the last time I saw any of them for eight years.

My flatmates kept on at me whenever I did something they didn't like or want me to do. They had started this from almost day one. It turned into a bit of a control game. Whenever they wanted me to do something, they'd start with the, “You owe us. We let you stay here when you were homeless” thing. I would always agree. Then I'd ask how much they wanted, and they'd say they didn't want money. It was becoming annoying. So I gave them a months notice. I was tired of them always trying to manipulate me, yet never telling me what they really wanted. If they wanted me to do something, they should have just come out and said it. They didn't. They'd just start raving on about how much I owed them. Fine, I admit it, I owe you, what do you want from ME?

A few weeks later they claimed I hadn't given them enough notice. Fine, I gave them another month. In that time they organised for someone to move in. In the meantime, I hadn't found a place to stay myself. I wasn't too worried about it though. I'd looked at many new places, but the people seemed weird. It might have been because I was looking at cheap inner city places, and a lot of them were into alternate lifestyles and stuff. Sleeping on mattresses on the floor and doing hash. Not really where I wanted to go.

It came my final day at the flat. So I organised to keep my stuff in the garage for a few days, and I packed a bag of clothes. The factory closed down for the December break, and everyone was given holidays at the same time. I had seven hundred dollars in my back pocket. I was effectively homeless, but it didn't bother me.

One of my old friends from school had been complaining that I should have gone to him when I was first homeless. He had a spare room and all at his place. I could have stayed there. He was very persistent about it. He kept saying I wasn't a true friend of his because I didn't go to him when I needed to. This time, I needed a place for two night. So I phoned him and tried to arrange it. For a few days, it went back a forth till it came the day I needed to move out. Then he told me his mother didn't' want me over there. I spoke to his mother on the phone. She told me I should be speaking to a homeless shelter. In the end she agreed to allow me to stay the weekend, but on Monday, she was calling a shelter.

The flatmates had arranged to go to the movies that night, so I went along with them.

Then I was on my own. I had to make my way down to Caringbah where my friend lived. I caught the train, then walked to his place. No one was answering the door. I saw his bedroom light on. So I started to throw some coins at it. He didn't do anything. I figured he'd fallen asleep. So I was without a home.

I decided to head down to Cronulla with the intention of staying at a motel there. I got to the motel, and found they were shut. I then thought, well, there is another hotel closer to the beach. If they aren't open, then I'll just sleep on the beach. I was a bit worried though, I still had a wallet with seven hundred dollars in it. What if I had to sleep on the beach, and someone took it while I was asleep? (The wallet, not the beach).

I started walking again, when someone rode past me on a bike, and suddenly stopped. It was a friend of mine from School, Anthony, whom I hadn't seen for ages. He wanted to know what I was doing in the area at that time of night. I explained to him what happened. He told me, he had one of my other friends Greg staying at his place that night, and I should go back to his. Cool, it was one day I didn't need to pay for a hotel or sleep on the beach.

The story of me going to sleep on the beach became a bit of a legend amongst my friends and acquaintances. If anyone had of checked, they would have found the hotel was open. I wouldn't have slept on the beach anyway. It didn't stop the story being told though, no matter how many times I reminded them of the first option I was going to take.