It’s been a while, I know. I have been lazy in adding entries, photos and the like, and my I can picture the look of perplexity on the faces of my readers as to why. And so although it is a few weeks late, allow me to summarise what I have been up to, and if you’ll have patience, the year in review, 2004.
I was glad to see 2004 end. Not that I ever enjoy getting older or tumbling forward through time while memories and opportunities slip away forever, but it was just such a crap year, one of the toughest I have had to endure.
On NYE2003, I had planned to stay in and do nothing, but Jay dragged me out to watch fireworks with the girl he was courting called Debbie. While it was nice to chat with people over age 18 for a change, I probably should have stayed home. The early winter was marked by me feeling disappointed in the fact that I was no longer performing in with the Underground Shakespeare Company (because I felt shafted out of roles for too many consecutive seasons) and because my Fraternity had all but died with the news that we would officially not have a line in the Spring 04. Winter Term at Drexel wore on with little consequence, and Spring came in vainglorious Philadelphia fashion.
The only good point of Winter was being accepted to grad school in England. It gave me something to keep in mind when I was ready to break things … and people.
There were, in fact, two clear highlights to the Spring Term. One, I won Research Day for my project on Vampires and was awarded $500 and a certain amount of prestige. Of course the money took 10 weeks to clear and I never did see my name in the paper, but that’s not the point. And, Spring Term 04, my final term at Uni, was the first time I managed to get straight As. I had come close several times, earning a lone B, but this was the first and only time I hit the 4.0
Dance seemed to be the only thing in my life that hadn’t fallen apart. In fact, dance got better and by the end, it was a lifestyle I didn’t want to give up. The performances were great and the memories weren’t bad either. History will smile upon my time dancing at Drexel.
And then I graduated. This was the most inflated and overrated event of my life to date – even more-so than the Senior Prom five years earlier. The whole event was over in two hours or so and aside from the cap and gown and other ridiculous rituals, it was just like any other day. Our parents came down, but we all cleared off quickly to evade the traffic and just to get on with our lives. No one seemed to care what I had gone through, no one even said “good luck” or “I know you’ll do well” or any of the banal lip service-esque phrases you usually hear at graduations. It made me seriously wonder “Why the Hell did I put myself through it all?”.
Summer was miserable. It began on a low note, having to move out and sublet my flat to what turned out to be a complete wanker of a frantic Pocono-based Temple student, and steadily got worse. I took me nearly two weeks to fully move out of Philly so for a while there, I was practically commuting. I will spare the comments about rising fuel prices and the fact that my car had shit air conditioning, but it was not a fun series of events. I was ‘working’ at Ron Ridgeway, Inc. which wasn’t bad except for the small detail of not being paid. It actually cost me money to go in and work. Seriously.
Somewhere along the way I sold everything I could including clothing, futons, my home theatre system and lots of other randomness. In spite of it, I had no money, no friends, no job, and really no direction. Summer, for all its natural glory, was the most depressed I have ever been in my life and I only made it through by playing music by Josh Rouse, MeShell Ndegeocello, Norah Jones and The Beatles and by watching re-runs of the West Wing.
Come September, and I was on that plane and my life had taken a serious turn, whether it was for better or worse remained to be seen.
Having arrived at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, more trouble began, mainly concerning money. In fact, I have had every monetary problem imaginable in the nearly 6 months I have been here including funds sent to the wrong address, wrong account and in the wrong currency. I have been the victim of the dollar and its ever-plummeting nature. (Thanks George) and not to mention being brushed off by many, many, would-be part-time employers. But it was definitely an experience, meeting loads of new people, starting a new school, new rugby team(s) and all that.
October was Hell weatherwise. Even for England.
November began badly, what with the election and all. Plus I dislocated my finger and will likely bear a lifetime reminder in the form of reduced mobility and possible altered shape of my right little finger. I gotta say, the election depressed me quite a bit. I think at one point I actually said “I want my country back”. And so the future assumed a sense of urgency, I must remain in England, can’t get sent home for fear of living in Bush’s America.
I missed Thanksgiving, and soon it was time for Christmas. Mischa and Johanna showed up for some European escapades on what turned out to be the coldest week of the Winter. And so we three took a brief tour of the capitals of Europe, and their mass transit systems. An adventure, that’s certain.
2004 marked a lot of understated changes in my life. My friends, the ever-constants in my turbulent life, all seemed to be getting on with life and moving on at the same time, so when I turned up fresh from Uni, they weren’t there. Needless to say, this was no fun. Additionally, I took new looks at my career and where it seemed to be going, if anywhere. There is no shortage of depressing articles about how the job market sucks and how designers, of all varieties, are unemployed. Jolly. And while material possessions are only one portion of overall well-being, in my case they helped make me feel like shit quite a bit. Next time you sit in a comfortable chair and drink some Tropicana OJ, think about it. Or, when you want to print out directions to where you are about to drive by car, think about not having a printer at your disposal, let alone a car! And let me tell you, it is plain sick not to have steady internet access.
Adieu 2004. Get thee gone.