They say people go through a series of different stages (eg shock, denial, rage) when dealing with The Recession. If handing out business cards to people lining up outside Billy Kwong's was a 'stage' in my coping strategy, I had certainly moved on (ran out of business cards).
I returned home and worked on Some Projects, before retiring early. The following morning I arose and checked my To Do list - zero items. I wandered down to Bourke Street Bakery to get coffee and something to eat. It cheered me up to see a long queue of people spilling out the door, waiting to pay too much for things. 'What recession?' They said (with their souls). What recession, indeed.
I sat across the road in the park and drank my coffee. It was a glorious day. The Recession couldn't take that away from me. I'm going to get myself behind some Philadelphia cheese today, I remember thinking at the time. 'Ah, my dear friend Life! Why do you throw me such straight, easy to hit balls?'
All of a sudden my phone rang*. It was a private number, so I answered in an English accent. 'Hallo?' I said.
'Ah, hello, is that James Ross-Edwards?'
'It is.' I said. 'What is thouth name, madam?'
'Hello James, this is the school secretary from your old high school, how are you?'
I couldn't believe it. 'Are you the one from sick bay?'
'No, I only started last year.'
'The "Sister" works in the sick bay. I'm the secretary. I am calling on behalf of the Headmaster. He would like to invite you back to the school to address Year 12 students on entering the real world at the end of this year. That is, if you'd be interested.'
'I see. How long should the performance go for?'
'It's just a speech - around 15 minutes I'd imagine? It's during assembly.'
I won’t bore you with the further details, but it was settled. I rushed home immediately and began preparing my speech. I started out by writing a piecemeal series of dot points containing various things I know about the real world. In order to engage with the intended audience, I tried to keep in mind things that year 12 students would probably find cool. Here is the my research from that day:
THE REAL WORLD – Some points by James Ross-Edwards:
- People generally get way more interested in fonts after high school. This is regardless of gender, so applies to ALL of you. I can strongly recommend that you all invest in a black t-shirt with the world ‘helvetica’ written on the front.
- Dudes are always raving about Europe. You should probably all try that out at some point. Like when you are on summer break from your GAP year where you work in an English boarding school and learn so much about the world.
- Once when I was 18, I arrived home to my parent’s house late at night and there was a guy trying to break into the house. He said he was just looking for a drink of water, but I knew what was going on.
- Every couple of years you will meet someone you can’t quite place. They are full of contradictions, may have an accent that doesn’t match where they grew up and don’t appear to have a set group of friends or social context. They are willing to drop everything immediately to become your best friend.
a) The person works as a security guard at a pub/night club:
Don’t stress this is normal. If necessary, request that they don’t show you their photos of dead people in Iraq… The conversation will probably go like this:
You: Hey, how you going?
Them: Wanna see my Land Rover?
You: ... Wow, it’s a nice one!
Them: I also have a Harley Davidson.
You: Okay, I’m not really equipped to appreciate that though. My main bragging point is that it’s 2003 and I know who the Kings Of Leon are.
Them: I take a bath every single day.
You: Sweet man, that could be fun.
Them: If you ever need anything like eccies, go or blow, I can sort you out.
You: You can tell we have different ideas about the world because your nicknames for party drugs make me feel uncomfortable.
b) The person does not work as a security guard:
If this person is of the opposite sex (or you are a gay), you should pash them. These people are way easier to pick up than the people you went to school with. This may be because of their insecurities. It could also be because they dissolve half a gram of speed into their Mount Franklin bottle each morning. Earlier in life they probably excelled at something like ballet or child acting - they never ever mention this. Their fashion sense is inexplicable.
If, when you mention a local band to them they recoil in horror, all ‘DO NOT MENTION THAT BAND IN FRONT OF ME! NEVER EVER!’ Ask them why. You may want to start a blog.