17 years in this city

I came here on 3 November ’92, supposing it was only temporary – but stayed.

Funny, in a way. I came to begin here my first full-time job, one with a supplier of a nearby power station’s construction, the idea being to escape from the town in which I was born. My employer had HQ in the city in which I attended the Tech, this place was comparatively far as well, and after all I only expected to spend here some two years before their presence at the station was over. I can still recollect the first night, strolling among the concrete-panel blocks of flats in search of some homely pub and thinking “Oh shit, what a hole did I get to!”

In the end it took more than seven years before the construction proceeded to the point at which I found myself redundant (my employer having no other work for me) – and by that time I had more friends and acquaintances here than in the other city, so it made more sense to stay than to try to get there. By then I had already even learned to like the place and its inhabitants to some degree.

All right, some of them much more than “to some degree”.

Anyway – perhaps it’s time for a few statistics?

6 places of abode. Although I had better called four of them sojourns, having only lived in each for less than a year before having to move on. Nevertheless, this summer I’ve been living in my current place for ten years – and I’d prefer to only move again if and when I’ve got guts enough to emigrate from this flickin’ country altogether.

10 full-time jobs. The first was the longest; the third the shortest, lasting only a fortnight. Two more lasted over two years each, and from several I was sacked before the end of my third month – invariably in connection with booze. Don’t ask me where I liked it best, though – I’ve no idea. When all is said and done, eight of the ten experiences look tolerably pleasant in retrospect.

3 howfs. No, several, as a matter of fact. But only three of these pubs I used to visit virtually daily for some considerable time – by which I don’t mean a few weeks but several months. Sure, there were quite a few more in which I could certainly call myself a regular at one time or another, and I daresay at least one of them was as important in my life as the three “daily haunts”.

1 “best” friend. Of course there were dozens on dozens of mates, pals, cronies… and a few close friends, but so far only this one relationship withstood the so-called test of time. (I still have two of the three best friends I’d already had before coming here, though, and a few relatively new close friends into the bargain. Infuckingcredible, considering.)

11 loved ones. Never you mind. (Actually the number 11 refers to the seventeen years; only 6 lived here, fewer still still do.)

4 languages. I arrived speaking two fluently and one, say, fairly well under the circumstances. With no false modesty I believe that while I lost fluency in one of the former, I gained it in the latter; and I’m ever so slowly getting better in a language I only came in contact with when already here. Not that I’m satisfied – I’d like to get some basic knowledge of two particular other tongues yet before I die.

And 4 names. The official one; the nickname I deliberately brought here from the Tech days; the one I created when I came online; and the one I’m using online (and in my soliloquies) nowadays.

Keith “Dzim” Robertson, at your service.

 

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