Monday, May 7, 2012

Post 1988 - A Year Of Change

Here we are, at post 1988.  That was a year of great change in my life.  Let me take a few paragraphs and tell you about that year.

I had a few months to kill prior to my graduation from Acadia University in May.  I was allowed to take one last co-op work term, and was hired for a 4 month term with the Nova Scotia Department of Finance.  It was with the understanding that I would be allowed to apply for full-time work.

I worked for that department from early January until mid-March.  Around the middle part of February, I received a phone call from Yolande McDonald at SHL Systemhouse, asking me to come in for an  interview at a certain date and time.

I had the interview.  Yolande must have liked what she saw because she decided to hire me on the spot.  I would be working out of another government department starting on... March 14th, I think it was.  I'd have to check that date.  I do remember that I signed the contract to work for the company on my birthday that year.  My opening salary: $23 000 per year.

I gave my notice at the Department of Finance.  I gave them 3 weeks when I only needed to give 2.  I felt generous, and in retrospect that was a mistake.

I needed a place to live in the city.  My sister and father and I scouted the apartments to let ads in the paper and found a place on Dahlia Street in Dartmouth.  A tiny, one room apartment (plus bathroom) at 55  Dahlia, apartment 208.  The one window overlooked the parking lot.  It was furnished.  Which was great, because I had little furniture of my own.  My dad built me a bookcase, which I transported to the apartment.  I still have that bookcase, by the way. I moved there around March 19th, 1988, a Saturday.  After my parents left, and Reg and Kathy left, I was alone in my new apartment.  I can't remember feeling more alone in my life than I was that day.  I spent the rest of the weekend preparing for work and getting to know the big city of Dartmouth.

I started work for the company and soon felt overwhelmed by the corporate world and what was expected of me.  My university education was all about the academic with insufficient focus on the practicum, and I struggled in my new role.  I got better at it.  I guess I'll leave it at that.

At that government department I met people and made friends with people I still see today.  Kevin was one.  And... Patricia was another.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I been hired by another company or things had zigged when they could have zagged.  I likely would not have met either of them.  Pity.

May came.  I took a vacation day to graduate.  I was driving to my graduation when my car broke down, a harbinger of things that would come with me and my vehicle.  Anyway, I got my degree and returned to work the next morning.  I remember being teased at work by folks who thought I'd been drinking to celebrate my graduation, when the reality was that I had just returned to my folks' place for a meal and then driven to my one-room apartment in Dartmouth to prepare for work the next day.  No booze!

By October, my 1982 Plymouth Horizon had broken down one time too many, so my dad found another car for me, a 1986 Plymouth Turismo, a car that I would drive for the next 17 years, a car held together by near supernatural means toward the end of its run in my life.

The months flew by.  By year's end, I could look back on the tumult of 1988 and decided that, as tumultuous as it had been for me, I had survived it and felt I could take on whatever challenge confronted me.  It was bullshit of course, but I told myself I could.  

I had faced so much in a short 12 months.  Moving away from my folks.  Graduating university.  Starting a new job.  Paying back my student loan.  Meeting a ton of new people.  Figuring out the city.  Friday night downtown fun times.  Nearly getting fired.  Buying a new car.   Being as single as single could be.

1988 was over.  What awaited me in '89?

Let's find out... tomorrow!


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