Over lunch on Saturday, Tim announced his intention to get out of the rat-race. He was going to jack in his job, and wanted them to move to the country where he would maintain a smallholding, a simple subsistence living off the land.
‘Are you insane?’ Amy squawked.
‘I’ve never been more sane,’ Tim replied evenly.
‘You’ve lost the plot,’ his girlfriend snapped, ‘and if you think I’m going to move out into the country and live some kind of ridiculous hippie lifestyle, you’ve got another thing coming!’
Tim went to speak, but Amy declared the discussion closed and ate the rest of her meal in irate silence. She carried her mood through the afternoon’s shopping, too, and while she went out with her friends for the evening, Tim decided to give the drinks with his mates a miss. None of them had been in touch to confirm the time or place anyway, and he’s not heard from anyone but Matt all week. Fuckers. They were all on the ever-lengthening off-limits list, cut off, excised, out of his life. He didn’t need them.
The following morning, Tim wandered around the house in his dressing gown and decided that perhaps his plan had been a bit radical. He didn’t have a clue about farming, so decided to modify his ambitions to more realistic levels. He’d start with an allotment and learn home brewing. He could sell or trade any surplus, thus creating his own micro-economy.
It slowly dawned on Tim that he didn’t have the first clue about gardening, or even where he might go to get himself a plot of land. Then he remembered his uncle had an allotment, and that he had been complaining about not having the time to maintain it, so he rang it up and offered to take it off his hands, or at least take over its running. His uncle agreed, and by that afternoon he had the keys to the shed in his pocket and was standing, surveying his new domain. It made a change from surveying dilapidated buildings as he did in his day-job. He felt a swell of pride and a small surge of excitement, despite the fact that the plot was badly neglected and massively overgrown. By evening, he had cleared some of the weeds, but was slowly beginning to realise that getting the land in order would be quite a major undertaking.
After the first week, anyone who initiates contact may be allowed back onto your list. However, should they fail to return your subsequent response within a week, then they are back off the ‘ok’ list and onto the ‘no contact’ list.
A week later and his patch of ground still resembled a weed-infested battleground, despite his having toiled from morning till night for the majority of the days. That said, he had indulged himself with a few lie-ins and leisurely breakfasts, and afternoons off down the pub. He had also given in and checked his emails a handful of times, and signed into his Facebook account. Each time he had done so, he had desperately fought the urge to update his status, although he found it impossible to resist responding to a fee of his friends’ updates and comments. While his bursting inbox and the number of voice mails on his phone, which were mounting by the hours caused his the same nausea-inducing combination of panic and dread, he was beginning to notice a shift in the nature of his correspondence, in that most of it was either work-related or otherwise spam, and that the number of direct, non-circular missives received by both email and via social networking was beginning to diminish.
His feelings about this were conflicting. On the one hand, it came as a relief as the pressure to read and respond to so much peripheral shit began to fall away. On the other, he began to feel as though he was already beginning to fade from society and from his friends’ thoughts. Out of sight, out of mind… he pushed these negative thoughts to the bank of his mind and slipped a DVD in the player. It had been years since he had simply sat and watched a film, at home, on his own, simply because he felt like it.
Over the next fortnight, Tim toiled on the allotment and spent the hours cooking up more ways of sustaining himself while pursuing his new, alternative non-capitalist existence with its corresponding technology-dependent modes of interaction.
Before he knew it, a month had elapsed. He had sent a letter of resignation to his boss after wrestling with his conscience over whether he really owed the cunt or the company so much as a formal notice but in the end drew the conclusion that it was only decent to honour the terms of his contract and besides, he didn’t want to be hauled through whatever processes, from tribunals to courts just to maintain his right to jack in his job.
Before too long – a month, perhaps – you will have a fair idea of who your true friends are. Cherish these people, and make every effort to remain in touch forever.
You will probably find that you have, in actual fact, far fewer friends than you thought. That’s because people are busy, self-absorbed and lazy. Or maybe it’s just that everyone hates you. Deal with it. The positive to be found in this is that you will have significantly more time to spend as you please.
And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk