Battery Life

It started off with 28%. That’s not very much considering. But that’s how much battery my iPhone had when I walked out the house into the pouring rain this evening.

28% of anyone’s life is limited. I mean, any exertion of any kind is going to kill the battery completely, so in situations like this, it’s advised to limit use to only ‘the necessary’.

Well, my mum rang me. I was glad to speak to her. Although I know she doesn’t always understand my depression, she’s knows the situation of the last few days.

Low Battery: 20% remaining! Declares the pop-up message. What would happen if I let it reach 0%? I know from past experience, it would probably get to 6%, then the phone would shut down completely. Forever. No more input. Should no-one take the decision to recharge it; nurse it back to its full health.

My pint of Stella (in a posh Stella goblet, no less) is half empty. Or should that be half full? The goblet makes me think of the last supper. I wonder how many people have sat in a pub, having a drink, before their battery has died completely? How many have chosen not to revive it, to pump life back into it? How many have just let it stay black?

The glass is still half empty and outside the sky is still dark. Out the window, on the opposite side of the road, is a kebab shop. In the flat upstairs, the sash windows are open. Inside, well, the inside is as dark as the dark, grey sky.

18%. Its lifeline is red now, well the life it has left. The rest is black, dark like the sky and inside of the flat window opposite. There is no green here, no bright green bars, nor bright green leaves. There is only grey and that dark.

But wait, there is laughter. I look up, at my half empty Stella. I glance past the glass, at the seats opposite. I was wrong; there is no laughter there. There is only silence. Silence, solitude, surrounded by a sea of chit chat. Nattering that bypasses me, because I am not laughing. I am sat alone. With my pint. With my 17, no wait, 16, per cent.

I check outside. I hear the spray from the passing cars. The rain that fell not so long ago is all but gone. But the sky remains dark, and the open window of the flat opposite, is like someone has taken a picture of the dark sky and framed it.

I take a sip of Stella. The lager sloshes around, before settling to its position of half empty. But wait, could it be half full? No, it’s still half empty.

Outside, a girl walks past with a purple umbrella. Purple, to match the dark of the sky, and the inside of the framed flat window opposite. Funny, she didn’t look sad, despite the purple umbrella.

15%. A double decker bus drives past. Although I know its colour to be blue, its advertisement on the side panel is illuminated in purple. The only light, in a world of darkness. Even the light, is dark.

14% remaining; the thin red line pushes flat against the side of the battery, its white outline looking like the chalk outline you see on those old cop shows. 13%; here lies battery.

A second bus drives past. Also, purple. The Ritz’ pink neon lights illuminate the overhang of the front of the building. A smoking woman, with short hair, and bad teeth, draws an arch shape for her friend, who remains inside, not wishing to inhale her friend’s passive smoke.

No, I’m wrong, it’s not another woman, it’s a man in a red t-shirt. He reads the paper, ignoring the outside world completely. I try to picture them together, but I cannot. The smoking woman with bad teeth surely is no friend of the man with the red t-shirt, whose hair is neat and shorn.

The two older couples opposite me, sat in the window seats, are oohing and awwing. They say there is a rainbow; no, a DOUBLE rainbow. They observe it a few more seconds before returning to their conversation.

10%, my battery screams. Even the numbers are in red now, and a pop-up message warns me I am down to my last 10%. It doesn’t say whether I’ll get another warning, or not.

Out of the window, the sky is still dark, though it is illuminated now with a sunny haze. It doesn’t know whether to be dark or light, whether to laugh, or cry. No wait, that’s me.

In the kebab shop window opposite, two pink neon strips line the whitewashed window. A girl from the bar comes collecting glasses, as the two couples put on their coats.

“Is it still raining?”, “No, it’s not too bad now”, “No, it’s not too bad now, is it?”. The conversation continues as they all go their separate ways.

A man comes out of the big, red doorway opposite, squeezed between the kebab shop and the travel agents. I cannot see where he is going, but I feel sure he is heading to the Spar, for more cigarettes, or maybe a tin of beans.

6%. I should get some beans on my way home. Home. I look up at the sky, which is getting darker again. I check the time; 20:13. It’ll be dark soon, and the sky doesn’t have to decide if it should be dark or light. It only has to be dark, and cloudy, or clear. The windows of the upstairs flat opposite remain dark. I wonder if the man who came from the red door lives there. It seems a strange place for a red door, like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

5%. The thin red line is pushed right to the side now. It knows it cannot survive. A decision must be made. Live, or die?

The pedestrian crossing sounds, and then the traffic starts again.

I glance at my glass; Not even half-half empty now. The lager pushes against my bladder, warning like the 4%, that a choice needs to be made.

I swig half the remaining liquid. Outside, the pink neon glow continues its own rainbow on the window of the kebab shop.

“It’s not that bad,” the conversation from the couples comes back to me.

3%. I glance at the glass. I finish it, then place the glass, with the Stella Artois logo facing me. Just so.

I glance outside, then back at my battery life. Like the weather, it’s been a stormy night. But it’s not that bad, and now, like the storm, I have calmed.

2%. I leave to the darkness. Tonight is not the night.

Copyright Jodie Orton/33andLostinLife 2012


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 43

I’m reluctantly typing this blog post before bed.  It’s not that I don’t want to do the blog, it’s just that my head hurts from drinking too much mulled wine.  Yes, I know it’s not Christmas.  But it was leftover from Christmas, or rather two Christmases ago, and we found ourselves dusting it off and cracking it open to accompany our lasagne, once the bottle of rose wine I’d taken home from Wetherspoons last night had been finished.

I have also been drinking water and coffee, so I’m hoping tomorrow won’t be too bad, but I already have a headache, so the signs aren’t good.  As long as I don’t see my dinner again, today will have finished a good day.

After the hiatus of the last few days, I managed to get my arse back in gear, and both applied for jobs and did some reading for my next assignment.  I can tell you’re impressed.

The job was somewhat of a surprise, and came through on one of the daily listings I receive.  After being told the other day that I need some publishing experience, I’ve started to think about how I could use the experience I have to help me towards where I want to be.  I have twelve years’ experience within NHS administration, and a total of 16 years’ admin experience, so why not try and use that medical experience to my advantage?

The job I’ve seen is a writing job, although still based within the health service.  I’m hoping I might have more chance of being shortlisted for a job like this, with the experience I have.

As well as applying for jobs, I’m headed down to my nation’s great capital next week, in a bid to do some research into jobs, housing and get a general feel for the place.  I’ve put feelers out to my friends down there to see them, and who knows, maybe I’ll make some new ones.

It’s funny, after making the decision not to go to China, I’m actually looking forward to going to London and spending some time on my own.  I remember how much independence I had when I lived there before, as a shy 19 year-old; I went to the movies by myself, swimming by myself, random walks, sightseeing.  You get the picture.

Anyway, I’m waffling now and I just remembered that my head hurts, so I’d best get some sleep.


Fight…or Flight?

So here I am, aged 34 and 4 days and writing another blog post.  Aren’t you impressed?  Of course, it is 4:33am and I should be sleeping but although I’m on the verge of tears, I’m also actually so happy to be writing at all.  So I shall fore-go some sleep and get what’s on my mind onto my blog.

First off, you will note that despite my change of age, my blog title remains the same.  I don’t think I can change it right now, because I cannot deny that I feel more lost in life than ever.

I WANT TO RUN AWAY.  Far, far away.  Perhaps that is the problem – to a land far, far away, a fairy tale place where all is good and I can be happy and not worry and not have any problems.  Unfortunately, I know from the ‘Boston Debacle’ back in February that running away doesn’t solve everything.  Sure, it gets you away for a bit then brings you back to your problems with no money, which then causes a ton of issues in itself.

But the fact is, I’ve been finished work for a week now, and those feelings of escapism that plagued me in the first few months of this year are back.  If it weren’t for my cat, Harry (aka The Bish), I would have been on a plane by now, in the reckless abandonment of The Pursuit of Happiness.

Well that’s the motto of the USA isn’t it?  Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness.  But the US closed its doors to people like me years ago, after god knows how many millions flocked there in the few hundred years since Mr. Columbus “discovered” the place (any good American Studies student will tell you the Natives were living there squillions of years before the English came and started colonising the place for their own fulfilment.

Perhaps I’m only doing what hordes of English have done before me – run away to try and find a new life.  Undoubtedly for some, it worked.  Others were not so lucky, like the settlers of Jamestown, Virginia who, by the time the ship bringing supplies from England returned, had disappeared off the face of the earth.

Yet the more I fight against the flight, the more I just want to get the hell away.  I’m tired of fighting.  Fighting against not belonging.  Fighting against not knowing my place in life.  Fighting against being me.

Maybe the idea of going away has been exacerbated by the book I’m currently reading, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Written in 2006 with a film adaptation in 2010 starring Julia Roberts, the tagline says it all: “One woman’s search for everything”.    With the exception of Liz’s pursuit of divine intervention, mainly through getting up at 3am to pray in an Askram in India, that book could have been written by someone else – me.

But I must stress, I don’t want to run away based on the fact that Liz Gilbert ran away and found happiness.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for more than half my life.

When I was in my mid-teens, my parents talked about moving house.  I begged them to, although they never did, and my dad still lives in that house now.  When I was almost 19, I ran away to London for a year (with my parent’s blessing), but came back when the going got tough.  I guess the truth is, you can run somewhere new, but you have to take yourself with you.  In the words of Matchbox Twenty, “I can’t get myself to go away.”

Throughout my marriage we had a few opportunities to potentially move away from Lincoln, for which I was always for 110%, but alas, we remained in Lincoln.  Last year I managed to run away to America as part of my degree, but had to come back for fear of US immigration not ever letting me back in.  In November 2011 and February 2012, I ran away to the States for shorter trips, with varying degrees of unsuccessfulness.

The only time I have ever properly “run away” was last summer, when I got as far as Sheffield.  Making a spontaneous trip to meet a guy I met on an Internet dating website, I stayed overnight with him then got the train home.  I’d told my housemates I was going to Sheffield, to which they assumed I was visiting my mum, until lack of communication forced them to contact my brother and then my mum, and I returned to the Spanish Inquisition of where I had gone and why I had gone.

So fast-forward almost a year, and here I am again.  I carry my passport with me, so it’s a miracle I haven’t just disappeared off somewhere before (trust me, I’ve thought about it).  And before you ask, that’s not why I carry my passport.  But when you’re a student and you hang out with young people, you will inevitably get asked for ID.  There is nothing worse than reaching a point in your life when you just need a goddamn drink and Wetherspoons refuse to serve you because you look under 30 (at the age of 31 – but don’t get me started on that one).

I have the opportunity to go away for the summer, well, there is potentially somebody who could move into my room almost straight away, and who adores Harry.  The only thing stopping me I guess is money, and not wanting to leave myself in a worse situation on my return (assuming I do return), well, what to do?(It’s times like this I wish I had a rich aunt with a big house somewhere hot I could just go and stay.),

As I sit on the sofa, snuggled under my Sainsbury’s boucle throw, Harry sits on the floor looking up at me.  Then he wanders off, in the direction of my bedroom.  His thoughts on the matter are obvious.  This could take forever.  Let me know when you’ve made a decision, mother.  Until then, I’ll be fast asleep in our bedroom. ❤