Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

What do we want? When do we want it?

Yeah, so it's looking more and more likely that I should be on strike, yet I know nothing about it. maybe it has sthg to do with the fact that the address the university has is the first one I had when I arrived in Montreal. Since then I have moved three, no, four times! I'd feel guilty about this but I'm staging my own form of protest by not doing any work. Y'see, it really makes little difference, I have no time sheet, I have no contract, I virtually don't exist in the university system (they give me no official leave, I'm not entitled to healthcare) but every two weeks a nice plump deposit pings itself into my bank account. So, my going on strike won't affect my pay or my rights, I guess the fact that I give the money at all is a little dumb on my part but I'm not into reading the small print, especially when it's in French. I did manage to successfully avoid setting up a pension scheme, which was pretty pitiful. Perhaps this is a little irresponsible of me, but the thought of RRSPs and all that mumbo-jumbo means little to me whenI don't know where I'll be this time next year.

I have in a way become deeply allergic to planning. I've always been obsessed with having things organised and defined, anyone who's ever tried to arrange a meeting with me will know that I will specify a time and a place and I'm always, always on time. Actually that's wrong. I'm always early. I think this was drilled in by my parents at an early age, cos I don't remember them ever teaching it to me! However, I realised that this was some what stifling and so I'm trrying to chill out a little now. The problem is that cos I was always on time, I know how much of a pain it is to be kept waiting, and so would hate to inflict that on anyone else. However, sometimes I do force myself to leave the house late, I tell myself it's just so I won't have to hang around so long.

But I digress, I guess when it comes down to it, most people have some sort of plan: "after uni, I'm gonna get a crap job, earn some bucks, work out what I want to do, meet someone, settle down, have kids and make my first million by the age of 30." (the reality turns out to be staying in the crappy job cos you've got car and mortgage payments to meet and before y'know rather than settling down, yuo've found your feet stuck in conrete) I think most people do it subconsciously, but I've noticed a few women who get a little caught up. Trust me girls, there's nothing scarier than someone explaining to you that they want their first kid by the time they're 25. And you wonder why guys are scared of commitment.

Me, I've always been in control: After high school, university. Which university? Well, I need to leave home, I don't really fancy living in England, Edinburgh's got a good rep. No brainer. After uni, get a job. Even this was relatively routine - I'm an engineer, it's very vocational. Also, I had a Quebecoise girlfriend, I fancied a change of scenery so I looked for a job in Quebec. Then I was to stay for 2 years, Steph would finish her studies we'd move back to the UK, she'd do a PhD at Cambridge anbd I'd work in the Instrumentation group there. Pretty specific huh? I thought life was sooo straightforward.

Then it all blows up in your face, and everything that you'd built your life around is gone in an instant.

So now as a reaction, I consciously don't decide what I'm going to do (if that isn't an oxymoron). Even summer is relatively open. I have a vague idea of where I'd like my life to lead, but now I know that chance encounters can throw everything off, so why bother deciding everything early? I guess I used to use it as a means of support, I didn't have enough self-belief to think that I could adjust to things, or make new things happen, to take risks knowing that I was strong enough to deal with the consequences. But I survived my first 3 months here, which were as dark as dark can get, and bizarrely, it may even have been the best thing that has ever happened to me.

That's the inspiration behind the rant; I was checking out a few other blogs of some angst-ridden teenagers which reminded me of where I was: full of pseudo-intellectual musings about life, when in reality I knew nothing, but still thought I had great insight. I was angry at the world wihtout even knowing what it was like to be out there. Then thinking about it I realised, y'know, I've pretty much got my shit together. Who'd've thunk it?