Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting into a new routine

I am into the new routine of working in London now; this will be my third week. I am enjoying it mostly so far. The job isn't at all like what I expected and I've realised that it isn't what I want to do long term. I intend to stick it out for six months at least, as the pay is good and on the whole the people I am working with are fine to get along with. I have no regrets about leaving my last job and see this current one as an opportunity to move onto other things, as and when they come up. I certainly don't dread going to work anymore, something which had become the case in the last few months at Abbey.

The journey to and from work I actually quite enjoy. The walk to the station in the morning is normally at a brisk pace as I always manage to leave home slightly later than I intended. So far though I've managed to make it to the station in time to catch my train each morning, although I am lucky in that there are at least 3 trains I can catch to get me into London to be at work before 9, although the last is cutting it fine! For some I am sure perfectly sensible operational reason, my regular train, the 7.27, is now starting its journey from Coventry rather than Northampton, as it had done up until last week. From October, it reverts back to starting from Northampton but runs 2 minutes earlier - a compensation to cover the leaf-fall period. The change to running from Coventry has caused it to be late twice last week, although as there is another train I can catch, it hasn't been a problem. Fingers crossed, the train back from Euston every night has been on-time 100% although it is becoming something of a march to sprint for me to make it from the office in Tottenham Court Road to Euston to catch the train. Last week I ventured with catching variously the bus or tube, which I found stressful to the point that I will only use that as a last resort or if the weather is particularly bad.

Being in London is both a delight and in some ways a curse. I thought to myself I'd be really good on the diet front as where I work has no vending machines, so no naughty treats such as chocolate and crisps to be had. How wrong I am and how weak my will power! Tottenham Court Road offers a panoply of places to eat or buy sumptuous food. In the first week I got into some really bad habits, nipping across to Subway or Burger King or similar for lunch. Not good at all. So I am trying to get myself out of those habits and taking my lunch with me to work everyday. Trouble is someone is always bringing cakes, sweets or biscuits into the office and although I try, I really do (!) its hard to resist.

The nice thing about the location though is how close at hand some great shops are - Borders, Virgin Megastore, Forbidden Planet, to name but three of my favourites. The British Museum is literally around the corner and Leicester Square is within walking distance, while there is a cinema just across the road.

The last couple of weeks I've done stuff on a couple of nights during the week after work - meeting with a friend from Abbey, going to the cinema or just taking myself off down Oxford Street for a wander and down the South Bank to enjoy the pleasures of a warm evening.

I really do enjoy London as a place although not always its people, who seem for the most part to be in a dreadful hurry and with little concern for anyone else. I sometimes feel like I am a door or invisible, the way people push into or past me on the street. I guess that I am probably just as bad when I am marching towards Euston and the impending departure of my train home!

I've just started watching Heroes and I am hooked! BBC 2 did a catch up weekend and I've done about five episodes so far. What I like about Heroes is that it is fresh and has a clever concept of these relatively ordinary people, whose lives are changed as they discover they have latent special abilities. I like the way it is filmed, very stylish and builds tension beautifully. I have absolutely no idea how it will end and the mystery of Sylar is an intriguing one which I am desperate to find out more about.

Another thing that I am getting hooked on at the moment is Microsoft Train Simulator. I bought this a few weeks ago as one of those bargain releases of older computer games. Its fab and great fun to play. I've known about it for a long time but it was very expensive when it first came out plus now there are loads of add-ons that you can buy. I've got my eye on two - one which includes the Southern routes from London Victoria to Brighton and the West Coastway from Brighton to Portsmouth plus the Arun Valley line, all of which I am very familiar with or a new one which features the West Coast Main Line from Euston to Birmingham.

The original simulation/game or whatever you call it is limited so adding these add-on's will add a great deal in terms of variety of track and rolling stock. And it will be great to have a go at 'driving a train' over routes that I have used regularly!

Anyhows that's all from me for now.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Putting the past behind me

Friday was my last day at Abbey, the company I have worked for since I left college in 1994. It was one of the worst days of my life. I am finding it difficult to put into context or understand how I feel. The most pressing feeling is one of emptiness; of a wasted thirteen years. It all seems to have been for nothing and the final few hours felt so flat and unimportant. There was no real closure to it all, just a hurried and almost unnoticed departure and that's it. Over. Finished. Nothing to acknowledge or remember how much this part of my life has meant for me. Okay its only work, just a job etc. Yep, maybe that is all it has been. Nothing more important and perhaps the final realisation of that is what is so devastating. That I've invested nothing but feel that I've lost immensely.

Its a sad truth that I had no friends at work. Not what I would call friends, just colleagues and casual acquaintances. That I have to admit is as much my fault as anyone elses. I am not an easy person to get along with and I maintain a careful distance between myself and other people. I am never fully relaxed in the company of others. I always hold something back and I think I am not one of these people that can naturally slip into familiar conversations with people or that can form lasting relationships on any kind of intimate level. I am very much an island and most of the time that suits me just fine. Sometimes though it doesn't work. Every now and again I crave to break down those barriers and be open and just be with other people. To feel free, I guess.

My way of coping, if it is that at all, is to cut adrift the past. Put it away in a box and forget about it, as if it never happened. That is what I am doing now. I am gradually distancing myself from my last job, consigning those thirteen years to history and trying to forget about them. I have no intentions of keeping in touch with anyone because truth is, what is the point? We shared nothing in common but the fact that we worked together. There is no deeper connection that. To sustain any sort of contact would be pointless and I feel as I have often done before, that there is a time to move on. I never look back and I never wish to go back. What is done is done. The past I cannot change.

Nobody really wants to keep in touch with me anyway. People say things like 'you must keep in touch' as a glib, throw-away line. They say it without meaning anything. It is said with no real intention that we must keep in touch; it just seems a social courtesy like bidding someone hello or goodbye. Surely, if anyone was serious about keeping in touch they would not have let me leave without exchanging contact details and why after thirteen years, when I have kept in touch with nobody that I have worked with, would they suddenly want to start now?

I didn't have a leaving do, I couldn't face it. I couldn't confront the insincerity of it all, the ritual of doing something just because 'you have too' without it meaning anything. Maybe I take it all too seriously in that I need meaning in everything. That there has to be something deeper to it, rather than just a few drinks after work. I just can't stand superficiality.

No, I mustn't dwell on it. Time to move on. The past is done.

Maybe I can be different in my new job. Maybe I can build up some contacts and some meaningful relationships.

The past is behind me now. Whether I've learnt anything or not I don't know. I just hope I can have a better future.