You work all day and you sleep all night

I like to write a blog entry every 2 or 3 days normally. So seeing as this is the first one I've written since Christmas eve, I've either been way too busy, or I've had fuck-all to write about. And this is the former. I've worked 11 of the last 12 days now. Which is good because I can live off my pay happily at the moment. But if I wanted a life right now where I worked all day, then I'd start a career. The whole point of coming travelling was to escape the cycle of education, work, retirement, death. It just doesn't appeal to me. So to be in a position where I work all day and I sleep all night, isn't so great.

Of course there are subtle changes to the typical 9-5 office job. How many people get to ski down from their office at the end of their shift? And how many people can look out of their office window to a view like this?

Panorama Mountain

So it's not all bad. But since I've been in Canada, I've been to the gym... Once. Compare that to what I was doing before I left. And I guess skiing is some kind of compensatory exercise, but it's hardly the same. But that brings me nicely onto a phone call that I got today.

I was working the early shift on the Gondola today. That's the lift to save all the lazy cunts at the resort from walking up about 20 stairs, God forbid they should exercise. I go on my lunch break as normal. Then Dan, the other guy on the early shift goes on his. And as normal, we end up swapping positions afterwards. I had the top, he had the bottom.

Working the gondola, there really is fuck-all to do. I must have done, maybe 6 shifts on there now. Never has it stopped working, or has anyone fallen off it, or any of the things happened that you'd expect on any other lift. It's a real dos shift. You're essentially there with the purpose of chatting to guests, or "creating memories" as the management might put it. But fuck! When you've spoken to one of the guests here, you've spoken to them all. So generally you'll spend your days sat in your little hut, trying to stay just conscious enough, that if a manager happens to stop by, you have the where-with-all to make up some excuse as to why you aren't outside. Like "I've been outside all day and I just came in that second to warm my hands up." Something along those lines. In fact yesterday I was on the late shift here. And with about 20 minutes before we started, me and the other guy working there last night went to the pub and split a pitcher of the cheap beer. Make the night go a bit quicker. That's how worried I am something's going to go wrong. I'm happy to start drunk.

Anyway, I'm sat in my little hut up the top. I say hut, really I mean telephone box. Down the bottom you have a log cabin with all the controls and the brains for the gondola in it. Up the top, you literally have a white telephone box. You can just fit a patio chair in there. I love it to be honest. You have a thermostat just above your left shoulder so you can get the temperature nice and cosy. You have the 3 buttons you need in the blue-moon event that something goes wrong. And you have a com-phone. You don't even get a real phone up here. All you have is a com-phone. All the other lifts have it. And it's there in the event of the main phone-lines failing, this is a direct line between the top and the bottom of a chair lift. Not much more sophisticated than having 2 plastic cups connected by a bit of string. It's always connected. It doesn't even ring. To get someone to answer the phone, you have to ring 3 bells. One bell means you stopped the lift. 2 bells means it's safe to restart. And 3 bells means pick up the phone. And I was sitting in my cosy telephone box after lunch, with Dan back down the bottom, and I get 3 bells.

Working at Panorama, you get staff trips to other resorts. They're just charged at cost, so you'd be a fool not to take at least one. I'm planning on waiting until I'm a good enough skiier that I can make the most of any resort I go to, so I'm not planning on going on any trips for at least another month. It'd be a waste to go to a resort just to stay on the easier runs. Even if I am becoming comfortable on black runs now. Well there's a trip this week. I think it's on Thursday. And Dan had been up to employee experience on his break to book a spot. Employee experience is just the fancy way here of saying the personnel department. Or the human resource department. Basically, the useless cunts who sit in a warm office all day pretending that they have an actual role within the company. But the reason Dan was calling me, was because whilst he was up there, they had offered him a spot in accomodation, up at the mountain. He already had staff accomodation in Invermere, but apparently they're trying to get more lifty's living on the mountain, because apparently there isn't enough here. I guess they've had problems when the bus has been late in the mornings, for example. They haven't had enough people there to get the lifts started. So they're trying to house more lifty's up at the mountain. And the reason Dan was telling me this, is that I must have told him in the past, that I'm paying more for my accomodation than those in staff accom., yet getting less. Over the course of the season, I'll probably pay in excess of $500 more than someone in staff accom. And on our pay, that's a lot of money. And Dan was trying to help by telling me this. He thought I might want to enquire. But I'll be honest; all it did was make me so fucking angry for the rest of the day. Here's why.

Would I want to take accomodation up at the mountain? Yes. Can I? No. I've signed a contract at the place I'm currently at. People move from staff accomodation in Invermere to staff accomodation at the mountain all the time. You only pay staff accom. by the day, so it's no big deal. But can I do that? Can I move as soon as a place opens up at the mountain? No. I've got a contract here. And it pisses me the fuck off.

Look at it this way. Who will my supervisor call if they're short of staff one day? Are they going to call someone living at the mountain, so already at work, or someone who would have to hitch in, so can't guarantee when they could even get there? He'll call someone living at the mountain. So living out here is essentially costing me money. Who's going to be inline for promotion? We just had a crew-chief quit last week. Who do you think's going to get offered that position? Someone who lives on the mountain and can be there to fill in at short notice? Or someone who lives 20km away with no car? Then think about how much money I'd be saving in staff accomodation. $500 over the Winter perhaps. Maybe even more. And what about time. I have to be at work everyday at around 8. If I lived on the mountain, then I could leave in the morning... at 8. Instead, I have to leave at 7 everyday to catch the bus to work. Every single morning, I lose an hour of my day, just because I don't live on the mountain. How about at the end of the day? Most lifts close at 4. Closing up and then skiing down the mountain, I'll normally be done at around 4:30. So if I lived on the mountain, I'd be home at 4:30 everyday. As it is, I have to wait for the 5:15 bus, and will normally get home sometime between 5:45 and 6:00, depending on the bus driver. Essentially, I'm losing up to 2½ hours of my life, every fucking day, because I'm not living at the moutain. I'm losing 2½ hours of my life everyday, and $500 over the season. This season is what? 100 days? So because I'm not living at the mountain, it's going to cost me 250 hours, and $500. 250 hours! Over 10 days! All because I don't live at the mountain.

And this wouldn't piss me off, if I'd got this job at the last minute. If I'd rushed into it, only deciding to come out here in November. But I first contacted this company about the same time I wrote the first blog. I was the first person to get interviewed for any Winter job, in any department. The very first of the season. I was as organised as anyone. And I somehow missed out on getting staff accomodation. And when I found that out, what did I do? I actually pulled my finger out of my ass, and found myself a place to live. What happened to the lazy fuckers who couldn't find anywhere? They eventually ended up in staff accomodation. They might have had to sweat a bit. But I haven't met anyone who was on that waiting list for staff accom. that I was near the top of, that didn't eventually get given a place before they arrived. I was more organised in getting the job here, and I was more organised in finding a place to live. And now being in a position where my hands are tied and I can't move up to the mountain, where I really would prefer to live, just because I was organised... It pisses me the fuck off. I am so tired, and so short of time at the moment, that I haven't written a blog in what? Nearly 2 weeks now? Look back over the past entries. Never, apart from when I took a break for Mexico, can I recall going this long without writing. Even during my university finals I found the time to write. But I lose 2½ hours of my life everyday, because I don't live at the mountain. And now... Now they're looking for lifty's to move up there. But because I was so fucking organised, I'm tied to Invermere. And it pisses me the fuck off.

I've really enjoyed this Winter so far. The work is right up my alley. Skiing is like a drug to me. But this... It's like a monkey on my back. No matter how good this season is; no matter how much I fall in love with skiing, this is always going to be hanging over me. And it's something that I try to put out of my mind. I try not to think about things negatively. But every so often, like this phone call from Dan, I just get reminded that because I was organised, I'm getting a raw deal compared to everyone else. We already had the blog, 'Honesty is not the best policy'. Now organisation can be added to that list. Not only am I going to lie my way through life because that seems to serve you much better, I'm also going to be unorganised doing it. Because one thing I've learnt this Winter so far: Honesty and organisation do not serve you well. It's just a damn monkey on my back. However good this Winter will be, it'll always be in the back of my mind, that it could be that little bit better. Was I living in staff accomodation in Invermere, I'd have been straight up to employee experience after work today to arrange to move to the mountain. As it is, my hands are tied. And it pisses me off.

You know what it reminds me of? Tony Blair and the war in Iraq. Blair was in office for over a decade. And yes, I thought he was an idiot. But that doesn't mean that he didn't do some good. But he could have cured world AIDS, stopped global warming and shot George Bush. Yet all people would remember him for, was starting a war in Iraq. You may have cured AIDS, but remeber Iraq. That's how I feel right now. In April when I'm finished for the season, you know how I expect to remember my time at Panorama? I loved the skiing and the job was a dos, but I'm still down $500 and 250 hours. It's just always going to be there. And it pisses me the fuck off. It's just going to be a monkey on the back of this Winter.

But then I ask you, does it really matter? I want to look at this from a different perspective. My thinking behind the following was spawned from the fact I was enjoying skiing all day, and was exhausted all night.

I've always had the belief that everything has a way of finding it's way to the status quo. We've been trying for world peace for years. Yet in watching the BBC world news today, there's essentially a war in Gaza. There's another in Sri Lanka. Then we know about how violence has been escalating in Afghanistan. And there's drug cartels killing each other in Central and South America. The bottom line, there is no less violence in the world today than before the days of NATO and the UN. All efforts to end world violence are in vain because it just pops up somewhere else. Like those games at the fair where you have to hit a mole with a hammer. Everytime you hit one, another one pops up somewhere else. Then look at disease. Is there any less disease in the world now than there was before the first hospital was ever built? No. AIDS is taking over the world. SARS, cancer... all kinds of fun ways to die. I live by the belief that there is no such thing as eternal ecstasy. No such thing as long-term happiness. Everything always comes back to an equilibrium. You have a great night out on the piss on Saturday night, on Sunday morning, you're hungover as fuck, and paranoid about what you did. You eat a food because it tastes good, you get depressed afterwards because you're all fat. A 250lb man would be happy to be 220lb. But a 220lb man isn't happy. He wants to be 200lbs. You're never going to be happy with what you have. Even getting to the gym 5 times a week before I came out here, I was never satisfied looking in the mirror. Now though, I'd kill to be back in the shape I was before I left. You have all these emotions inside of you that need to be satisfied. You have an equilibrium. And if you're taken out of this equilibrium, say something makes you really, really, happy. Then as a counter-effect to this, you'll always get a stage of depression afterwards. Apart from possibly sex, which I'll come to later, there is no activity that you can do that isn't countered by an opposite emotion later on. You get drunk, then you have a hangover. The better the drug you take, the worse the come-down. Take heroin and the high is supposedly the greatest thing ever. Then the come-down is the worst ever. I used to love running. I'd get back feeling a sense of achievement after going a few miles. I'd feel like shit for the rest of the day though. Have you ever noticed that if you get drunk and have a shit night, the hangover isn't as bad as if you have a good night? Get into an argument with your partner before bed and you'll feel great the next day. I truly belive that for every activity that you do, there is a reactive activity that will provide the opposite emotion. I guess it's my take on the pleasure/pain theory.

You go on holiday for 2 weeks and have a great time. Then you get back, and work is shit for the next 2 weeks because all you want to do is be on holiday again. Look at it in a more macro way. If we cure world AIDS, what will happen? A shit-load less people will die. What does this mean? More people on the planet means more energy being consumed. What does more energy consumed mean? It means a speeding up in the effects of global warming. And what does that mean? It means an increase in natural disasters, meaning that more people will die. You may have saved all the African's from AIDS. But they're just going to die some other way. Everything has an equilibrium. And it has to be balanced. And emotion within a person is no exception.

Is the billionaire any happier than the hobo on the street? A hobo's problem is that he needs food to survive. A billionaire's problem is that the butler's bow-tie isn't straight. But does the hobo's problem seem any bigger to the hobo than the billionaire's to the billionaire? No. You can never be in a position of happiness, because you need a counter-emotion. You can possess everything in the world. You'll still find something to be angry about.

Back when I was in Vancouver in 2005, I did silver-service waiting at various posh hotels. At one of the dinners I was working at, the auctioneer did something. He said that to scope the kind of audience he had, at the start of every auction, he'd auction off a $20 bill. Not a special $20 bill. Not a magical $20 bill. It hadn't been farted on by Christ or anything like that. It was just a $20 bill. You know how much someone bought this for? $500. Someone bought a $20 bill, for $500. That's how rich these people were. They most definitely had more money than they did sense. Yet were these people happy? They had all the money in the world. Yet you've never met such upset, snooty son's of bitches. Not one of them could force a smile. You'd look at these people who had everything. And you'd look at the waiting staff, slaving away for minmum wage. Who was the happier? The waiting staff were having fun. Why? Because staying in our cheap accomodation, eating our cheap food, we didn't get so much happiness from home. Spending all day in health-spa's, or whatever the hell these rich people do with their time, they were all out of happiness. So to get back to equilibrium, even though they're eating in a 5-star hotel, it's still their downtime. It's their time to be depressed.

Where I'm trying to go with this, is if you agree with me that their is no eternal happiness. That you will always return to your state of equilibrium, then what the fuck does it matter what you do? It might piss me the fuck off, that I'm stuck in a small, expensive, and poorly located appartment for the Winter. But taking into consideration what I've just said, surely the down I get from living here, will be countered by a high somewhere else. Avoiding dropping into a state of depression, I'm going to return to my equilibrium. So even though this makes me depressed, will it not be countered elsewhere by a high?

Everyday I ski. And everyday I love it. But that skiing is taking away from time I could be in the gym. And everyday I look in the mirror, and I'm seeing my physique deteriorate. And that depresses me. And I have no time to write either. And that's something that depresses me. So although I'm loving to ski, maybe the fact that I'm living somewhere that I'm not so happy with, is a good thing. Otherwise, if I was happy all day, and I was happy all night, then something would have to give. This way I know where my happy place is, and I know where my depressed place is. It gives me more control.

It's a very depressing way to look at the world when you think about it. In essence, if you agree with what I've just said, you have no real control over your life. There is no point to doing anything that makes you smile. When I played American football at uni, the away games were awesome. On the bus home, there'd be drunken players, drunken cheerleaders, it was a blast. We lost most of our games in my time playing. But you know which were the 2 away games that the bus journey home was miserable? It was the 2 that we won. And I think this explains it somehow. Playing football you go through pain, you're banging your head on stuff for ages. And whenever you got a win, it was worth it. It was ectasy that you were standing at the end of 4 hours of blood, sweat and tears, victorious. It felt immense. Flip that, and in my time, we lost a couple of really, really close games. You fight, and you fight, and you fight, for every inch. And you still end up losing. And after games like that, I'd feel phyisically nautious. So why is it that after those losses you'd have an awesome night out? Yet after the wins everyone was coming down? You have the ecstasy, you've got to come down. You have the heartbreak and the only way is up. So you have to ask, is it better to win, or to lose? Well win is the obvious answer. But win, and prepare yourself for a fall. Or lose and know things can only get better.

What I'm trying to demonstrate here, is we spend our whole lives trying to better ourselves. To make ourselves happy. We work, and we work, and we work, for a better life. But after it all, are we really any happier than if we hadn't bothered. You go on holiday for 2 weeks and all you've got to look forward to is being depressed back at work. You work for 2 weeks, and the only way is up. Is it worth us even bothering to try and better ourselves? Or in reality, is the lazy bum who never moves a muscle, and lays about in bed all day, going to end up just as happy as we do? I'm not too sure. I'd like to think not. I'd like to think I have control over my destiny. That my overall happiness isn't pre-determined. But when you think things through, do you really have any control. Or does the fact that I live in a small, expensive appartment 20km from the mountain, just mean that I'll enjoy my work and my skiing more? Because I'm loving both of them! Just something I was thinking about. I bet Dan never thought that little phone call would lead to all of this.

You remember the one exception to this rule that I made? Sex. There really is no comedown. I'd guess that's because sex is necessary for the continuation of animal lifeforms. If there was a risk of depression from the act of reproduction, then the whole game of life that we're playing would be a little too risky. Animals would catch on. But what I'm interested in here, is the evolution of species.

I'll put it out there: Sex is weird. Look at it. You take your penis, put it inside someone else, rub it around a bit, and dispose of some goo. Does that not seem weird to anyone else? What interests me here, is how we evolved this way. Ignoring micro-organisms and single-cell creatures or whatever the fuck they're called, there are 2 types of creatures on planet earth. Plants, and animals. What I want to know, is how did evolution develop animals to have to compromise. No animal can produce without a mate. Every animal that wants to continue it's family chain, needs to meet, and co-exist with another. Essentially, they have to compromise with another being. What I'm curious about, is why? Why the hell didn't we evolve so that we could reproduce alone? Surely it would be much more efficient. If I could reproduce alone, there'd be millions of little Jro's walking the earth right now. But we can't. Therefore any species which is going to evolve, needs to have the skills of co-existion (is that a word?), co-operation, compromise, and a shit-load more words that start with co. And co, means together. You have to work together. And it fascinates me as to why we evolved to need to co-exist. We kill each other in wars all the time. Yet every living person has the genes to co-exist.

Then look at what I was saying previously. You need to keep an equilibrium. You need a balance. I fucking hate compromise. I hate having to sacrifice what I want to do, for someone else. It's just not me. Why the hell do you think I travel alone? Why the hell do I do everything alone? I hate to compromise. Looking at things this way, my personality type, really isn't built for the continuation of evolution. But because I'm not willing to compromise, I'm happy by myself. I'm happy in my own company. Where do I lose out? I'm shit at relationships. I've never in my life had a long-term relationship. And never do I plan on it. You've got to know your strengths, and mine quite simply, is not relationships. And I think in there, is where I find my equilibrium. I could spend a year alone on a desert-island, and be happy. But being happy alone, I can't continue my family chain, if you see what I mean. Add in science, and I could donate to a sperm bank. But failing that, by natural means, being content with my own company means I'm just not designed for relationships.

What about anti-Jro's then? People opposite to me. Can't walk into a pub alone. Can't go to the cinema alone. Someone who always needs someone. They're miserable alone, so find their equilibrium in relationships. These are the people who're going to reproduce. And these are the people who are willing to compromise. For some reason, evolution has made us so we need to work together. And I find that very strange. Trees can reproduce alone. They just can't move. To be given the gift of movement by evolution, the gift of independence is removed, and replaced by a dependence on the social services of others. You see how it evens out? How it finds equilibrium? You can't be happy when you rely on other people, because other people let you down. Yet you can't be happy when you're totally independent. Because then, you're a tree. There is no such thing as prolonged happiness.

All this, is just a rather long-winded way of me saying, I'm pissed that I can't move up to the mountain because I'm not in staff accom. But shit happens, and I'll make up for it some other way. Fucking Dan and his phone call.

So anyway, when I last wrote, it was Christmas eve. I didn't go out Christmas eve, but a lot of other people did. And I remember seeing people at the 08:15 meeting at work on Christmas morning, and fuck that was ugly. The crop of female lift operators at Pano is damn disappointing. The only marginally hot one is Laura. And from what I can tell, she really doesn't have the personality to match how good she looks. But you think they look ugly on a normal day? You should see them hungover. Damn that was hideous. And it was at this meeting that the ball really dropped. I just don't want to be that person anymore. Going out, getting trashed, not remembering a thing and being hungover the next day, was fun in uni. But at 23, I'm just feeling I've outgrown that lifestyle somewhat. Everyone looked like shit. And I just don't want to be that person anymore. The ball had finally dropped.

I say that. On Boxing day I got trashed and didn't remember it the next day. And apparently, as a joke, I said to this moody little midget girl who works in the pub... Once again I said it as a drunken joke, in a funny voice, probably a bit like Dave Chappelle doing Rick James: "Get me a drink, bitch." The fucking moody little midget cut me off for that. Can you believe it? There's only one pub in the town. I can't get banned from it! Man, so I had to build bridges based on what people told me that I'd done. The 27th, the day afterwards, was the only day since the mountain opened on December 12th, up to and including today, that I haven't done at least a little skiing. And this is why I mean, I just don't want it anymore. I don't remember shit. I don't know who's pissed off at me and why. I just have to go by what other people tell me. I'm too hungover to fucking ski. And it probably cost me a shit-load of $$$ just to get there. And I have to ask... why? I just don't want to be that guy anymore.

Obviously it was new years a few days after that. And again I don't remember what the fuck happened to me. But even then I was mellowed out compared to the old me. I'm not the loud, brash drunk guy that I was in uni. But you know the problem here? No one else is stepping up to the plate. I'm still waiting to see someone become the person that I'd be after a few drinks. Just someone to make things fun. Because right now, I have to say the social life here, is a bit rubbish. I said before I came out here, I wanted to mellow out. No more big partying. But even so, it just doesn't measure up to my low standards here.

I wouldn't normally do this, but I'm going to stop this blog, when I'm really only half-way through. I have a butt-load more that I want to write about, and a load more pictures I was planning on adding. But tiredness has suddenly hit me. And I'm not going to produce anything readable when I feel like this. Just look at the last couple of paragraphs. I have a couple of days off coming up, so hopefully I'll find the time to do some more writing soon. I'm just suddenly feeling very dead though. And I'd rather write something that I can stand to read back later, so I'm going to stop tonight. I'll try and carry on soon.

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