What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?
We try to avoid scenarios we might regret, but indeed regrettably, our fallibility and earnest pursuit of goodwill can leave us socially, emotionally and financially fucked.
What’s your biggest mistake?
Mine was an 8 year farce, known loosely as a relationship. Don’t worry. If you are reading this, it’s not you, I promise.
Once upon a time I met a bloke who was very different to the other blokes I’d met. He was more of the manual labour ilk, which was refreshing, since I’d been at university for $20,000 worth of education, and I was boring people to death with facts about the Renaissance that they didn’t need or want.
I found myself in need of a flatmate and placed the cringe-inducing ad in the paper. You know, WANTED but not in a stalkery way, more of a
My next rent is due to bounce. Help. I need help.
kind of way.
I spent a Saturday interviewing three or four people. They were all male. The first guy was a blinds salesman. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I could see us sitting there, in the lounge, having a quiet flatties’ night in, with me being forced to watch Home Improvement and then Everybody Loves Raymond. He’d drink out of my mug and then shudder because of the sugar I have in my coffee and that would become my fault and he’d always streak from the shower to his bedroom, if you get my drift.
The ‘successful candidate’ was someone quite different. He made stuff. He could build things. He could service my car. No, that’s not perverse sexual code. He really could service my car.
I should have known it was going to fail. During the interview he said some things that I now know are called ‘red flags’. Here are just two. You’re welcome.
1. He’d just come out of a relationship
It’s ok if someone tells you this, in fact it’s a bit of a public service announcement in many ways. The red flag should go up though, when the conversation about it goes beyond 10 minutes, and includes the statements ‘soulmate’, ‘she cheated’, ‘I’m not looking for anyone right now’ ‘you seem different from the others’ and so on.
2. He had a business card
OK, hear me out. I fully expect people to have business cards. For business. Don’t show me your business card in a friendship or potential flatmate situation, let alone a budding romance. Why don’t you just turn into Edward Norton right there and then and bind and gag me as well?
I ignored the red flags, and went full steam ahead into…
…eight years. Eight years I can never get back of my precious 30s. You know what I mean. The 30s. When you actually have a job and money, no kids and you have your figure, no grey hairs, no albatrossy albatross around your neck. You get on with your parents at last. You have a car of a year beyond 1981.
And you give it all to someone who ultimately doesn’t care. You didn’t really see it. You just thought they were a confident lad, with a good self esteem. You didn’t see that you had turned into a giver and he had turned into a willing taker. You gave and gave. Money, time. Sure, you said, spend all that money on whatever you want, if it makes you happy. Yes. Have all that freedom you crave. Was it Sting who said
If you love somebody, set them free. Free free, set them free.
Of course Sting would say that. He was deep into his tantric phase. He wanted Trudie to set him free so he could go and play tantric pocket billiards over there on the internet, or get on the brothel route.
I can so relate, Trudie.
What these people need is to be tantrically told to fuck off. They are the emotional vampires we read about in the women’s magazines. They are ‘onto a good thing’, while you think you are in a ‘loving relationship’.
They take everything as if it’s a given. You strive for excellence. They strive for a bare achieved. That’s some NCEA talk right there, in your face.
The biggest mistake I ever made was to give my time, my goodwill, my trust and humanity to something that didn’t really exist.
I have a saying, which I like to believe is my own: You can get money back but never time.
You can never get time back. So don’t let senseless situations sap your precious time.