5 Less Awesome Things About Station Life

Bonus non-awesome thing: barbed wire. That shit is like pointy velcro, just waiting to rip clothes and remove hair. Whenever I’m tightening a length on a fence I keep waiting for it to snap and gut me. I will never do another barbed wire tattoo IN MY LIFE.

Because balance is desirous in (almost) all things, as a compliment to Thursday’s post might I present the following five ‘less awesome things’ about living out in, as the locals say, ‘woop woop’:

1 – The non-existence of free time

When I first moved to Mellish, I had Sundays off. Now, goats still needed to be milked, and laundry/dishes still needed to be done but, for the most part, the day was mine. That lasted one month.
Once the muster kicked in life was eat/breathe/sleep cattle (quite literally. I was pushing the tail in my sleep, waking myself up when I’d pull the ‘reins’ [read: my blanket] to the side too hard). By the end of April I was fucking knackered.
But the hard part wasn’t the amount of work. I like working hard and your bed never feels better than at the end of a long, hard day. What I found hard was never knowing what came next, or when pockets of free time would ever begin to appear again.
I’m obsessive about ‘having a plan’. Particularly given that I have a number of personal projects I like to put work into when I can, this blog among them, I like to know what my week is going to look like so I can schedule my time to fit everything in. Chaos is fine for a while, but several months of it tend to wear me down.

Along the same vein:

2 – The complete and utter lack of anything even remotely resembling privacy

Despite copious amounts of publicly shared narratives and photo sets I am, in the end, a private person. If I’m having a bad day, I don’t want to see people. I definitely don’t want people to see me. When you’re living on a farm, this becomes an impossibility.
You share a very small space with a lot of people. You work together, and eat together. When you’re on the computer, people are walking around behind you, glancing at your screen. You can try your very best to try and find a private corner of the farm to, say, do yoga in, and chances are someone’s still going to need to walk by there. And perhaps make a comment as they do along the vein of, “Come on Canadian, you can’t even get to your toes?
Which is less helpful than you’d think, particularly if you’re doing yoga in an attempt to bring your stress levels down, and the fact that you can’t reach your toes because of the scoliosis in your spine is somewhat of a sore point for you.

3 – Loneliness

I know, it sounds antithetical to complain about a lack of privacy in one breath and isolation in the next, but it’s one thing to need pockets of time away from people and another entirely to be cut off from the ability to seek companionship for months at a time.
I was fortunate in that the people I work with are lovely. But, that said, I don’t really connect with most of them.
I’m a conversation junkie. I was having a conversation about this (meta) with a friend a little while back – how we both thrive on good conversation; the back and forth, the turns of phase, the 10-year-old running in-jokes. (Further proof that all conversation is fair fodder for blog posts, said friend also wrote a blog post on the subject, here).
I miss that here. It sees me instead having conversations with the voices in my head, which is dangerous, because a lot of those voices are assholes.
I also miss strangers. Back in the city I’m a big fan of, when the mood strikes, hopping on my bike and riding somewhere random. Coffee shop. Op shop. Bar. Park. I’ll ride or walk or wander until I find a stranger that catches my eye and then I’ll make a friend (or enemy or just random encounter) of them. I’ve met some good (and strange) people that way.
If I were to do that here I would be driving a minimum of 1 hour just to reach the Gregory Hotel, where I would only experience a ‘stranger’ increase of approximately 7 people, at least 5 of whom are likely to be drunk.

Picture credit – http://georgegodley.com

4 – The lack of internet connectivity

I know, I know. It’s going to space, give it a second (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to watch this video). I don’t care. I want this page to load NOW. I want it to have loaded YESTERDAY.
Wasting time makes me angry. Any effort on my part to be a patient person ends at exactly the place a slow browser starts.
It was my mother’s 60th birthday today and I wanted to send her an e-card. Because 60 is no joke, I wanted to pull out all the stops and send one of those fancy ‘starring you’ jibjab cards with the faces and stuff. I couldn’t even get the damn ‘options’ page to load. A Skype call is a distant pipe dream.
Which, again, is fine for a while. But long term it would get to me, particularly as it further feeds into not awesome thing #3.

5 – FLIES

I hate them. I fucking hate them. I double plus hate them so fucking much that I would introduce a species more destructive than the bloody cane toads if it meant getting rid of the little bastards.
They are malice given winged form. They are genetically engineered to fuck with me. They can’t just land on you. No. They will land and, if you do not react, they will move. Then move again. Buzz. Land. Buzz. Land. What, I’m not bugging you by crawling around your ear? How about now? Here? Your eye? Your sunburned lip? Hey, what’s up your nose? How about I check that out?
The locals said I would get used to them. The locals lied.
There is nowhere you can get away from them. They will keep pace with you when you run, they will follow you into the car. Aw, it’s beautiful outside. Wouldn’t a yoga set under that tree be just lovely? Yes, it would, if not for the tiny pellets of black rage that will assault your every available orifice.
When I was in India I saw Buddhist monks meditating in tents. You want to know why? BECAUSE YOU CANNOT ACHIEVE ENLIGHTENMENT WHEN THINGS ARE TRYING TO CRAWL UP YOUR NOSE.

But, you know, outside of that it’s really quite lovely here.

*

*This pairs Thursday’s post, ‘5 Awesome Things About Station Life’. That post can be viewed here.

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