Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clean the slate

It has been a very stressful September for me this year. I have been moving house from a place I called home for four years, to a new place in a new area. Closer to friends and further from work; the way life should be. It had been such a long time between moving drinks that I forgot how stressful it was, but at the same time how cleansing it can be... similar to colonic irrigation.

It gives you a chance to wash away the filth that has been accumulating over the years, to sift through the memories inspired upon by objects once lost, and maybe get together with a few mates and have a laugh.
But that’s colonic irrigation, and this is not one of those types of blogs.

My old roommate said it best, “[moving] is a chance to clean the slate”. It pains me to say, but he is right. Moving is a clean slate; a new house, a new room, a new reason for my girlfriend to take me through IKEA and buffer their profits. It is one of the few times you can take a step back and look at your stuff and say “where did all this crap come from?” and “why did I keep all this crap?” and not to mention, “Gee I hoard a lot of crap” etc.

You could clean your slate by other means, and it got me thinking about the times when I got out the old industrial cleaner in my life and gave the slate a good scrub.

If you start at a new job, your career gets a clean slate. You can pretend to be someone cool/smart/funny and your reputation, providing it was not the reason they hired you, starts fresh. My first job was after uni and up to then, I had never had a professional conversation. There were new spots to catch the new topics, but it usually found its way back to sport or TV, and there were new and interesting people to talk to. Not at first, because the first are usually the most desperate for new friends.

You can extend your slate to not only your home, but your own self by moving town. You can pretend to be someone cool/smart/funny just like a new job but with less expectations of being professional. Then they look on Facebook and you are back to square one. When I moved to the city for university there was not a soul within 100 kilometres who knew who I was. I did not just clean the slate in this instance; I just got given a brand new one and threw out the old one.

I have never been married, but I have been in a long term relationship that went south quickly. I am told that getting divorced is similar to moving house in the cleaning slate stakes, not so much “why did I keep all this crap” but more akin to “stuff the bitch, she can have the shit”. In this case your slate is not so much cleaned, but cleared away so that you can see the stains underneath that will haunt you for years to come. Your slate now comes with baggage.

Earlier in the year there was a fad sweeping the globe for cleaning the slate of politics through revolution. I have never even attended a protest march myself, but something is really worrying when a country gets bad enough that they start throwing rocks at police. But is bringing rocks to a gun fight cleaning the slate? I believe that a political clean slate is a misnomer, as there is always baggage hanging around, usually left unattended by conspiracy theorists claiming that it was all orchestrated by the CIA. And for some of the crack pots I have had to sit next to at dinner parties, I am surprised that they could lift their aluminium hats up for long enough to find out what orchestrated means. For as far as I know, no CIA agent has ever carried a baton.

... Or have they?

Do you know of an occasion when America's national security was managed by a man waving a stick? Or  of a time when you have had a clean slate? Let me know below.

And remember to lift with your knees.