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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Year I Woke Up

Young, Ambitious but Arrogant and Untouchable? Something big one day will make itself known to you and will slide you down the big snake on life's big board game. You will find yourself at the bottom of the ladder back where you started.


It's the year 1990 I am ensconced in my office, there is a peculiar small square hole in the top left wall of my office, through it I can hear typewriters clacking, yes. Typewriters. Queries are being answered on the phones manned by some of the best logistic men in the business. All is well in my world. I've just had lunch with a big Italian American, having been flown over especially to dispense his wisdom on "How we do it over there" to me. I smugly know I do it better.  My driver picks us up from the R.S.Hispaniola moored on the embankment, where I have spent the afternoon being fed and watered. The big Italian stopped the car and he bought a plastic police helmet from a souvenir stall underneath one of the bridges that cross the Thames for his son in New York. Stopping a car on the embankment is never a good idea. got a ticket, chucked it out of the window and drove off laughing.

Nice Lunch

After leaving the world of back biting, metaphorically knife wielding bitchiness of the fashion industry, running one of the biggest and fastest growing specialist logistic companies in England was easy for me. My team I created were miracle workers, magicians that could solve anything, we were untouchable, the directors of the company meekly turned up every now and again to see if every thing was ok, of course everything was ok, I was in charge, everything will always be ok.

I bought a new house in one of the quays in Rotherhithe by the Thames in south London. My ex secretary, now my live in partner, is a sexy bright legal secretary, we are both earning salaries that would disgust most people, obscene even. 

New years eve, most of our customers are shut, we, like some of our larger blue chip clients are eternally open. A big brash driver, feared by some, but on time, loyal, never let us down is told to do one extra important pick up, instead of refusing to do it, not answering the phone or feigning sickness, turned up at my office, whilst coincidently, after hearing about his displeasure in not wanting to do it, I was tapping out, one fingered, a new contract for him that would have extended his hours by five a week and made him richer by one hundred pounds a week.

I woke up in Guys hospital A&E, a glass ashtray was still partially embedded in my skull, the nurse was sewing up the last of eighteen stitches, a young policeman wearing an identical replica of the plastic helmet the big Italian bought recently was hovering nearby. Mr Brash the driver and his son decided to pay me a visit. Cowardly and from behind, they succeeded after several attempts to break the aforementioned ashtray, y'now one of them old pub type really large ones.  The pain in my ribs and back are from from the kicking I got whilst unconscious. They also wrecked the office, threatened me and others not to ever say a word.

Heavy and satisfying for some...


The police had them in custody within the hour, charged with section 24 of something or other, apparently that's serious, (no shit Sherlock.) Six months later in Southwark Crown Court, they walk away with a suspended 2 year prison sentence. Yes, I don't know why either.

It is now late June, 1990.  The now, not so sexy legal secretary partner of mine moves out and shacks up with the driving instructor that is training her to be an ADI, she leaves me with a massive mortgage. A week later my little sister dies.

I'm think I'm coping quite well, I have just let out my beautiful quayside home and move onto a housing estate just off Borough High St near London Bridge not too shabby really, s'ok I'd thought.  A month later one of my two cats are run over, the second goes blind from leukaemia and my stupid arse sentimentality wouldn't let me do the decent thing and let him die. He slowly dies instead. That was big of me wasn't it?

I was "Promoted" at work to run the head office operations, but politically that was to remove me from the power base of the city of London operations where I really did my "Thing."  Apparently my cracks were beginning to show, the "Boy wonder" wasn't so wondrous anymore and by Xmas I was gone, made redundant. After contributing building the company from a handful of cars to a multi national with nearing a thousand commercial vehicles it was over.  A guilty senior director gave me a cheque, a big one and a free cab all the way home. I left the company car, pension, private medical insurance and a "Whatever" expenses account behind.  I also left what was making me bad.

It's a year that's all, twelve divisible months broken into four or five week segments. I started at the top of a tree, untouchable. The year finished with me driving a van for a courier company for a pittance a week.  I tried to get a job with some of the other logistics giants but they could get a uni graduate to do it on half the money I was getting. Strange at first that my colleagues never said goodbye, no leaving card or party, no contact.  Its as if I no longer existed. They didn't call because I was a true son of a bitch.  I took too many of them down as I trampled over them to get to the top of my little tree. Evaluating that year has taken me twenty years.  It was the year that replayed the most in my mind, like a torturous and hideous mocking haha! from the past.

My arrogance and failure to deal with my emotions cost me my job, Did I mention the wife and two children I'd left? Although the reasons were outside my control, It was doomed to fail, married at nineteen, by the time I was 31, twelve years of marriage was over and a third of my young life gone. I missed my children during all that time, made difficult to see, and I being too busy to see them.  I was wrapped up in arrogance and my self denial that I even had a soul. Didn't need one.

It was the passing of my little sister that did the most damage, unknown damage, the viciousness of grief tore at me and my psyche, changing my DNA strand by strand, slowly revealing my secret real self to me. I realise now I am on a journey of some of the most rawest emotions known to man, I stop at all of them, experience them, indulge in them, disgust myself because of them.  I am not a victim of them, just an observer. I have since lost both my parents and nieces and nephews of my other siblings. Yet, crushingly another beloved little sister. Someone in particular, because of our closeness in age, understood the nuances of our early lives that is continuing to either shape me or beat me.

My own cancer gave me a surf on the edge of a wave of death, I have learnt one important thing.  Nothing stays the same.  Everything and person is in a transient state of decay, if it's good it won't be for very long.  So, I now enjoy the moment I am in.  No doubt I have a lot more lessons yet to be shown to me.  Is this maturity speaking? Maybe, or maybe it's a cosmic mindfuck I'm having, a worse case scenario on my life that's being played out for real.  The angel of death showing me what will happen if I don't change.  Maybe, I'm still in my office with the square hole in the top left corner of the wall having my own small apocalyptic nightmare of how my life will pan out during a quick smug nap after a fancy lunch with a fat Italian American who's just bought a stupid plastic hat. Maybe.