There is still a week to go and it isn’t as if we’re moving far (four or five streets away) but life has already changed. It starts the moment the first picture is removed from the wall, the first box filled with books; we are unsettled, not sleeping well and thinking differently.
Taking a new place makes a person think about time and, more specifically, time scales. Nebulous wish thinking finds itself slotted involuntarily into the concrete schedules of feasibility. It’s a healthy process I suppose, but it feels like a bad case of malaria.
For example we wouldn’t undertake this – packing, redecorating, heavy lifting – for the sake of a mere twelve months of relocation, so that pretty much means we will be in Tarifa for a minimum of a further two years. Puts a shape on things.
We are dealing with two different orders of time scale on two different…eh, scales. Firstly, micro; for the next week we will be pottering around an increasingly chaotic apartment busily surrounding ourselves with boxes and bags where once there were books and personal bric-a-brac. I have called our internet provider and been informed with some confidence by their English speaking department that we cannot have adsl in the new place. I think you can imagine, given that I run a blog and two other websites, just how welcome that little nugget was. Not to mention surprising.
It’s the kind of thing that, in the year 2012 and where a perfectly modern home in a modern, family-oriented neighborhood is concerned, one might have expected the real estate agent to mention.
“And this is the kitchen. Compact, isn’t it! And this is the patio; the tiling is typically Andalucian, you know. You have an outhouse for storage and the washing machine and freezer, and all of the bedrooms have ample wardrobe space. By the way, your online life is over.”
Something like that. That’s the real pitfall of making a move, or a change; dealing with the kind of people who want as much (money) from you as they can get and who work hard to deliver as little as possible. You see, the thing is, we think there’s been a mistake. We think we can have adsl in the house. We think the street name of our new address has been incorrectly entered in the records of our internet provider – that the whole thing is a simple misunderstanding, a clerical error, and that there is in fact no issue.
So we’ve asked for that to be confirmed, and now we’re waiting. And waiting. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to us that before we hand over hundreds upon hundreds of euros to someone who appears to make a living by swanning about making phone calls and generally lurking around the place while prospective victims – I mean clients – inspect the kitchen cupboards, could pick up the phone (again) to get some information, and then get back to us in what I would call a timely manner, and answer a simple. fucking. question.
Breath, Robin. Back to the happy place. You’re floating on a sheet of ice. All is cool and blue and quiet. Polar bears frolic, at an appropriately safe distance…and exhale.
Secondly, macro; with all of this going on, and in a week during which the behaviour of my younger students has been positively atavistic, the long term has shimmered beyond all the turbulence – either a distant oasis or a mirage. Both privately and together, we have been thinking about what we want, and the increasingly urgent need to give the how-to-get-it side of things some consideration.
Goal or process? The self-help sector has sidestepped the question by coining the term “process goal”. Nice move, if you’re in the business of selling books. They’re different though; for one you concern yourself with the question of what you should do. For the other, the question is how you should be. Once you frame it like that you can see how reductive both terms are, and how spurious the dichotomy. Both, is the answer to the question. I’m not sure whether to coin the term “proal”, or “gocess” – what do you think? And hands off – they’re both ©Robin Graham 2012.
We will concern ourselves with all of it – there are items on our to-do list that dwarf this week’s packing or next week’s shopping. When are we going to have these children we keep talking about? We’ve been telling people we are engaged for a few years now; we should probably get married at some point.
So it turns out that our agent has actually been busy making calls on our behalf, going as far as tracking the landlords down on their foreign trip to inquire about previous internet accounts. It makes my rant above seem a little unfair. Still, an anti-real estate person diatribe is ever entirely wasted, is it?
We can have internet after all. The life blood of my digital aspirations will continue to flow. It feels good, at the end of a frankly unpleasant week, to get the issue out of the way. Having put it behind us we can concentrate on what lies ahead.
Exposure. Sacrifice. Realisation.
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