Best Before

by Nic Olson

The year and a half has passed since you have returned. Thus, like a sour carton of cow’s milk, your Best Before date has also passed. Nearly a year in the same house, over a year in the same city. You haven’t done this since highschool, and your allergic reaction is anxiety, rage, uselessness, sloth, booze. This time you have the adulthood-weight of the first job in your life that you wanted to be in. The timing was poor and the circumstances were worse, but hey, you got the job! Well, actually, you got the part-time consellation-prize of a job. Not that anyone told you this (especially your university, your high school teacher, your job fair) but you’ve learnt that the right job does not indeed create happiness. Nor does money. Nor does happiness. That’s right. Happiness does not create happiness. The only thing that does is flakiness and temporary relationships. At least in your life.

You have set personal deadlines for your book. You have set personal timelines for fleeing. The former is far too early, the latter is far too far away. But they are appropriate, because you selected these dates in a moment of clarity. What kind of character can’t hold up personal deadlines, anyway? I guess the kind of character that cannot live in the same place for more than nine months, and the same character that cannot hold a relationship for more than the same amount of time.

Those activities that you do to save yourself from insanity (writing a book, casual drinking, frugality) end up as a contributing factor. Friends that you spend time with can’t do much to remedy your issues. Holidays can’t come soon enough. There isn’t enough angry or sappy music to play in one evening—the Descendents only wrote so much music.

Your instinct is to flee. A damaging, selfish, immature instinct, but one you have perfected without even knowing that you practiced it. Now you try to combat your instinct by sticking around for ‘a year minimum’ to prove to yourself that you are an able decision-maker and even-keeled human.

As a reponse to all this you are drinking boxed wine playing crokinole alone in the living room at 1am. The only depressing part of that sentence is that many have never played crokinole before.

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