It’s easy for someone to associate an experience with the last memory involved. I’m not without guilt in this issue myself. I’ll admit that the rough patches near the end of my relationship with Loo have come to define the experience a little unfairly. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how much it’s helped and changed me.
In reality, I learned more from my time with Louise than from any previous relationship. This was a person who inspired (and pushed) me to be better, but it wasn’t only her, it was the lifestyle as well.
I try not to have too much responsibility at this stage in my life, so when I do have it I take it seriously. Being a dominant means that responsibility is assumed over another person, another being, another living soul. To be given this responsibility, as a bond of supine trust, provided me a sense of confidence I had never felt before.
And with this trust came a rejuvenated zeal for self-improvement. She was strong herself, so I had to be stronger. If Louise’s contribution was to push, my contribution was to grow. It helped me figure out what I want in the next few stages of my life. I stopped slouching. I started speaking with more authority. I started walking into restaurants first, something I could never do before, for reasons I could never explain. I demanded more out of life.
In the end, it didn’t work out. The dynamic wasn’t right. Unfortunately, I never felt like I was able to completely handle everything until it was actually over. Funny how life works out like that. What I’ve lost is only relevant now.
But what I’ve gained is more important.
I got to work early this morning, around 7:30 or so. It was an effort to make up for yesterday, in which I called in sick. By 8:30, my boss had asked me to go to his cottage and help him with his new pontoon, and we left by nine.
After picking the boat up from the dealership, I was charged with the task of driving his car from one of the boat docks of the lake to his cottage. We spent the whole day there, and I managed to get in a few photos. I like the shot of the upholstery the most: the colours are perfect, and have those luxurious, matching cream colours that are so characteristic of aqua vehicles. Even the motor is pretty sweet (4-stroke electronic fuel injection) and only requires the turn of a key to start.
I’m exhausted now, but it was definitely nice to be out of the office and on a lake, on a Thursday no less.
I already had a new computer priced out — One of the dual-core AMD Athlon X2 4400+ processors (because 0.2 MHz isn’t worth a motherfucking $500 price jump) based on the Toledo core — marking my switch to AMD, 2 gigs of super fast RAM, 200 gig SATA HDD (I decided not to go dual for RAID 0 cause striping apparently doesn’t do much), the latest ATI Sapphire Radeon series — X850XT Platinum with dual DVI (I was thinking of SLI nVidia cards, but then I’d want to buy two cards when upgrading), a DVD burner, and one of the deluxe socket-939 Asus motherboards. I even bought two 19″ flat panel monitors two months ago in anticipation of the system, and got my parents to front me for some of the cash.
Then my air conditioner broke. It’s one of those grey areas, where it would cost me $300 just to test for leaks (after spending $100 to find out what was wrong in the first place). This, in turn, is to find out how much it would cost to fix it, which could be anywhere from $300 to $1000. So instead of taking the chance on a seven-year-old A/C that may break again next year, I decided to put the money towards a new one. A brand-name one that would hopefully last me more than 10 years, with a 5 year parts/labor warranty and a 10 year warranty on the compressor coil.
Unfortunately, it’s going to cost me $3500. This means that instead of saving for a computer, I’ll be aiming to pay the A/C over the next six months. I could have stretched the payment over a year, but it’d be at 5% interest, compounded monthly. My financial goals are being put on hold now. I don’t need a new computer, although I could easily take advantage of a dual-core desktop, and it would certainly be inspiring to use such a sweet machine to work on my projects with Aaron. This has only made me more determined; I’m going to save all the money myself now, and thinking over a longer term.
The first catalyst involved in my “transformation” was my job. It could be said that the only reason this job was so significant is because I had never had such a job before. Perhaps things would be different if I started my current career at a different time, although the same could be said about the other two factors.
I was hired to work closely with one of two owners, a man with the drive, mind, wit, and personality to run one of the top companies in the industry. I see myself as a tool, an extension of his person, responsible for things that he doesn’t have time to do. By freeing his time, the company is able to grow faster, because his resources can then be put to better use.
My role is as a sort of submissive. This works out well, because in (most of) the rest of my life I’m dominant. Like me, many submissives at work are also dominants at home, and vice-versa. People want change from the everyday life of their career, and in fact, my submission in this role is what makes me a better dominant in others (more on this extremely significant point in the forthcoming part of this series).
I don’t have the personality to run a business, the way my boss doesn’t have the personality to work for someone else. Our roles are clearly defined, and I’m much more productive as a submissive in this situation. It’s this productiveness that has given me so much confidence. I know how good a worker I am, how integral my role is in the company, and how difficult I would be to replace.
Relational roles aside, however, there are several other factors of my job that contributed to what I consider explosive growth. The responsibility I have was a big thing. As the only IT person there, I have to make sure that all our hardware and software is sufficient for what we’re doing. When the nature of the business changes, the upper echelon comes to me for a solution, whether it’s upcoming VOIP implementation to save on long distance, wireless tracking of our pick-ups and deliveries, or something as simple as a server upgrade to handle the market growth.
Even things like making phone calls have changed me. I was never comfortable on the phone. Only a year ago, ordering pizza was a difficult thing to do, and Trolley can attest to this after getting him to call for me several times. The only explanation I could come up with for this behaviour is that there are people on the other end, but I still can’t really make sense of this aside from poor self-confidence. All I knew was that my telephone shyness was a problem. I got over it by forcing myself to make phone calls at work. After all, one does not stop a project at a telephone conversation when one’s boss wants something done. I still have my off-days, of course, when I avoid making calls altogether, but those are few and far between.
Not only has my job sparked a change in me, it’s paved a way for other growth as well. Even financially speaking, I now have the freedom to pursue my other goals and hobbies.
Every day I work, I’m thankful.
Not by choice, of course. I rolled around in bed for an hour or so, and decided that I should do something productive if I was awake anyway. After some shopping in the refreshing morning weather (thank god for the 24 hour grocery store just five minutes away), I made breakfast and fell back asleep for another hour.
I’m awake now, but I’m still drowsy as fuck.
I’ve been trying to get an entry written since wednesday and a pack of ground beef browned since monday, but the week has been one exhausting day after another. I worked a 13-hour day on tuesday, and it feels like I haven’t recovered yet. It seems like every week I’m waiting for another weekend so I can recuperate and get my life together.
It’s not that I haven’t had time to write lately, it’s that every time I sit down and set myself on writing, I can’t follow through on any of my ideas. I blame the close proximity of my house to my job. For years, going to university and going to work on the bus would force me to sit passively, while someone would take me to my destination. I didn’t have to think about anything, so my mind would drift about random things, like my friends, my relationships, and my life. Back then, my entries were thorough and better developed.
It’s slowly getting easier to write again. I don’t have to force myself as much.
For most of my life, I felt like I was young for my age.
I remember the later years of elementary school. I would be the one wearing things like jogging pants on the civies1 days. The other kids would be smoking under the bridge, starting playground fights over girls, contracting gonorrhea through sexual contact. Even in high school I was eating lunch on the bleachers with John while others were ODing on rat poison, winning worldwide math competitions, or being featured on cover articles of Macleans.
I had never really understood how people grow up. Most adults I know have been the way they are for their entire lives. Due to the fact that I can only figure out the changes I’ve made in six month cycles, I’ve mostly grown in small, undetectable increments.
It’s only in the last six months that things have changed. I’ve reached my (previously life-long) goal, not gradually, but rather suddenly and unexpectedly. Interestingly enough, this was due to three different factors, and I suspect that I wouldn’t have been able to reach this point without every single one of them.
Now I feel old for my age.
Louise once told me that she liked the way I say want because it apparently sounds like wunt. I can’t really hear it, of course, and I think it’s the only word that I can’t quite say the right way.
This is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever come across. People from around the world are asked to read the same paragraph in English. The paragraph has been designed to include most of the consonants, vowels, and clusters found in standard American English, so that one can really get a sense of all the variations in an accent.
I love the gentleness of Lebanese Arabic (perhaps I associate it with the charming, well-educated, velvet-voiced Lenanese gentleman at work). The interesting thing is that it sounds completely different from Palestinian Arabic. As a small example, the former has a more exaggerated “ee” sound, while the latter has a windier “r” sound.
I hate the painful sounding Cantonese accents. Somehow, each one is so uniquely bad that it’s passed humourously bad, and gone back to uniquely bad again. None of them can properly pronounce “pl“s, “th“s and “ll“s, and the consonants are harsh to the ear. There are also very subtle differences between these Cantonese speakers from Hong Kong, and a Cantonese speaker from China. One can hear the slightly more delicate letter combinations from a person surrounded by Mandarin speakers on the mainland.
For me, the most interesting comparisons are between native English speakers. I let Shirley listen to the Glasgow version, and she couldn’t get over how hot it is. Of course, the most neutral accent to me is from Toronto, seeing as how I grew up there. I hear this accent the most, and always find it amusing when foreigners can pull off a fake accent (I’ve been told we sound very bland). Jackie had the most adorable New Jersey accent, and at one point Angie admitted that she had somewhat of a Southern drawl.
Perhaps my fascination with (and attraction of) things speech related stems from an early study of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. One of the scenes in My Fair Lady that really stuck out in my mind was the ability of the protagonist (whom Shaw describes as an “energetic phonetic enthusiast”) to distinguish 130 vowel sounds from a simple, short recording of a voice going through A–E–I–O–U in one fluid motion with no consonants.
Usually I can recognize someone from a voice and accent, sometimes better than I can from a face.
I stepped outside, and the streetlights were on. To the west the clouds were clearing, while the sun was fighting the brooding sky in the east. Everything felt a little different. As I walked to work, zipped up in my light windbreaker, sweating from the suffocating material, the rain slowed then stopped.
Took care of Chaos over the weekend. Karen’s off in Toronto for a month, and Aaron went to visit Greg (who joined the reserves). Chaos is getting a lot bigger, and even though he’s not quite an adult yet, he’s getting more and more difficult to lift.
I’ve been thinking about a second cat, ever since Shirley suspected that her cats were giving her children allergies. We were playing around with the idea of me adopting one of them (the younger male), and she already told her kids that one of the cats may be going. Unfortunately, she found a bald spot on him, and needs to get him checked out first. If the vet visit goes alright, then we may do a one-month trial, to make sure that he gets along with both Dolly and Nala. I’m still not sure if I’m up for the commitment though. Dolly is enough of a handful already, and I seem to be getting busier every day.