Saturday, February 25, 2012

No one.

2.25am and I can't sleep. Earlier today my parents left for home after an epic 10 days.

Epic because for a week of that the Grumpy Old Man was visiting them in Adelaide and getting in as much automatic driving as possible before his test. Epic because at the same time my parents were putting their house on the market after making the huge decision to simplify and downsize their life and become debt free and footloose as well.

Epic because they sold their house in record time, for the price they wanted, and bought their next home within two days (to be ready in July).

Epic because they have to move out of their home in three weeks time following an extremely short settlement time.

Epic because the Grumpy Old Man had yet another driving test to get through.

He did his driving test today - well, yesterday, Friday. If I tell you in wasn't straight forward, you'll be pretty much not surprised, right? On Thursday afternoon, after spending most of the day out of the house buying my parents new caravan (did I mention they're becoming grey nomads - although a little less of the nomad bit for the first couple of years before mum actually can retire), we came home to discover a message on the answering machine.

The message was from VicRoads and was for the GOM informing him they'd just discovered that his hazard perception test papers had lapsed and he'd need to take the hazard perception test again before he could take his licence test.

My parents were only able to stay until today because even though they've sold the house, final signing of contracts is on hold until pest and building inspections clear the house for the new owner, so there is another open for inspection scheduled for Sunday. So, having to schedule a hazard perception test first suggested the GOM would not be able to take his licence test at the time we'd arranged and might have to rebook for the earliest opening in 7-8 weeks time.

This stressed us all just a little.

The Grumpy Old Man called VicRoads and was told they could squeeze him in for the hazard perception test just before his licence test. Instead of just doing one test, he would now be doing two.

Test day... The boys went off to school and mum and I took Ari off to Forest Hill shopping centre to keep our minds off the tests - that didn't actually work so well and even remembering the day makes my stomach turn with anxiety.

We wondered around, did a bit of retail therapy (work clothes for mum and she bought Ari and I a present each), tried to have some lunch - my stomach was too unsettled to eat... It was almost time to head home on the bus to pick up the boys and I felt the vibration of the phone in my bag.

The Grumpy Old Man had left a message for me to call him back.

I did and s-dad answered the phone because the Grumpy Old Man was driving them home, for a microsecond I felt excitement - he got it! He got his licence, I thought...

No, he didn't.

Sadly, he got pinged for - get this - speeding. Of course, I didn't even believe that. The Grumpy Old Man is too cautious to speed, there is no way he could have been speeding, if anything he tends to drive too slowly.

Well, I was half right. He was doing 65 in what he believed to be a 70. Unfortunately, he believed wrongly - it was a 60 zone. That was his first critical error.

His second was that he was approaching a zebra crossing with lights, he was slowing in case it changed from green to red, and he once he was within about 20 feet of the crossing and it hadn't changed yet, he thought he would be right, but then it changed, he breaked as gently as he could, but unfortunately his tires were on the white line. Second critical error and he failed.

We're gutted. 7 was not our lucky number, after all...

Next test is scheduled but is two months away.

No car means no work. No work means no money. (yes, I know some of you don't believe that, or have a millions ideas about what you think he could be doing if he really wanted to earn some money...  Don't bother to suggest them, we've considered them all already. Believe me, we do not want to be in this position)

Life feels pretty unfair at the moment.

Possibly we're just bad, lazy, heathens who are only getting what we deserve for our wayward ways. Possibly if we worked harder and believed in the right gods and gave more to charity things would start to go our way and the Grumpy Old Man would get his licence and get a job and I would get a job and we'd buy a car and save for a deposit on a house. Possibly the answer is staring us in the face. I don't know. I really don't. I feel like we follow the rules (I so, so, so badly want to get a dog right now and the tenants agreement be damned, but that would be wrong, right?) and feel like we try to be conscientious and good people. I feel like we try to keep our chins up and just keep swimming and having faith that it will all work out and I feel like right now the powers that be are flipping up a great big bird.

I feel angry and manipulated by reality.

I feel emotionally and physically exhausted.

I feel like what is the point? What exactly is the point of all of this, of struggling, of having faith in anything or anyone, of trying to play the system according to everyone's stated rules when those rules don't guarantee the desired outcome.

I want to feel safe. I really need to feel safe. I haven't felt safe in a very, very long time.

I'm sorry that this post is so dark, I'm in a very dark place. Sometimes, I see some light and I run towards it. I run as fast as I can but it doesn't seem to get any closer and sometimes - like right now - it disappears completely.

Some people say surrender, let go. I have. I have let go completely, but the falling never stops. The roaring of the wind as it soars past me in the darkness is frightening and deafening and there is no one there to catch me. No one.

I appreciate all the help the Grumpy Old Man's parents have given us over the years, and all the help my parents have given us (twice already this year they've driven interstate so the GOM could practice in and drive their car during his driving test). I am in no way saying that our families have not helped us. Unfortunately, they can't influence potential employers or testers, so they can't catch us in that sense. I'm not angry with or ungrateful of our families.

I'm angry because I don't actually believe we're lazy or bad or faithless, and we're raised to believe that if we do the right thing and are good and play by the rules and have faith that life will go our way - or at least be balanced in how much it does and doesn't go our way. Yet here we are in our 40s and 50s and we can't get a foothold. We don't expect to be handed life on a platter but we have always thought we'd be met halfway for our blood, sweat and tears. I'm beginning to suspect there is no one out there to meet us half way.

Maybe this is just the exhaustion speaking. I'll probably regret posting this in the morning - I'm going to post it anyway for honesty sake. Maybe one day I'll read this post and laugh at how blind I was.


Jayne said...

Fuck :-( I'm sooo sorry honey *hugs* That sucks epically and monumentally. Life can be very unfair. I don't believe it's anything to do with not believing in the right gods or being lazy-you clearly aren't. It's just that society is skewed in favour of those who have advantages from the start-it's not a level playing field and anyone who tries to say it is is deluding themselves. Older workers, people with vision impairments, people with mental illness, those who have grown up in a lower SES or found themselves there due to circumstance (often mental illness or disability), indigenous people, refugees, people who are LGBT, fat, disabled, female, black, catholic, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, pagan-have been discriminated against in some sectors of society from the beginning of time. It's not right, but it's the way it is. All we can do is continue to fight thhe prejudice, because it is possible to overcome it, but it can take a hell of a long time.

I hope you get past the darkness soon. Much love xox

Sif Dal said...

Thanks hon, you're right, I know you are - I see it every day happening to people I believe are more worthy of a break than we are...

It sucks so bad though, at least right now. Next week I'll be past this, I'll be preparing for my parents to visit again a week later and bring over some heirlooms I'm getting to inherit early because they are downsizing. I'll be in a different place emotionally and we'll be that much closer to the next test and a greater possibility of him getting work.

Thanks for the love, I really need it now...

Lee said...

Oh Sif, that is awful, bloody awful. I dearly hope that something goes your way soon and restores your faith in the universe. xx

bek said...

Ergh, that sucks about the driving test again >_< And hey if they sign the roads as well over there as they do over here I'm not surprised he got his speed zones wrong. There's a stretch along the highway close to me where I don't actually know if the speed limit is 60 or 70, the signs keep changing as you drive along. Hope better luck for the next time around, he'll be so old hat by then that he'll probably be bored and pass with flying colours ;)

Anonymous said...

These testers are really starting to piss me off. Do you think they're prejudiced against him? Do they know how many times he's gone for it and they're more critical of him than of others? Have you SEEN the way some people with licenses drive!?!?!?

Good Job!