Dispatches from the Island where it doesn’t matter what day it is.
“Nothing refreshes like a nervous breakdown.”
– Dr Imaldi, My London Psychiatrist, 2013.
I used to have purpose. I had structure and goals. I was ruthless in my pursuit of success. I had a to-do-list with objectives written on it. It was a list longer than other, lesser men’s lists. It was filled with important tasks. I would raise an eyebrow, remove my jacket, punch a kitten in the face and then set to work striking the tasks off that list with the ink of a pen that was made from fine ebony. “Ha ha ha” I would laugh while I decimated my to do list. “Ha ha ha” like a turbo engine that ran on mythical businessman bluster.
I was on my way to the top and I was wearing shoes. Leather ones with hard bottoms. The type of shoes you might wear to a divorce hearing, the funeral of a parent you were too important to care about or to kick a corporate rival in the gullet, gusset and giblets while he was down.
My nose was of an industrial hardness. Calcified by the grindstone and the constant snuffs of success. They called me “Diamond Nose Neal’ because I was so hard nosed, not because my name is Neal – it’s not – it’s Oliver. But I was too busy knocking down doors and shattering glass ceilings with my hard nose to correct them about the name thing.
B.T.W. – I spoke in acronyms, as I was too busy to say whole sentences. And FYI, I even used U.A.’s – AKA ‘unnecessary acronyms’. And in a moment of meta genius I started pronouncing the acronyms as actual words to save valuable zilli-seconds beeteedoubleuew, effwhyeye.
I was in the main thruster room throwing small pieces of my humanity into the furnace to facilitate the warp speeds brand value I was driving for esteemed clients, cohorts, warlocks, warlords and this guy named Dane who started living in my head and demanded satisfaction.
My average (above average!) London week looked like this:
Monday – Crush my enemies, see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of their women… And sit it on status meetings. Drink heavily.
Tuesday – Go to client meetings wearing shoes and make powerful points using the medium of PowerPoint. Drink heavily.
Wednesday – Business pitch luncheon followed by expensive soul blackening treatment. Then 3-4 hours of bald faced lying and laughing in the face of truth. Drink heavily.
Thursday – Stare up at the gleaming towers of capitalism and offer my first-born child and my unceasing servitude to the chromium Gods if only I could earn more money. How much more? Just more. More money than the next prick. Drink heavily.
Friday – Drink heavily. Kick a poor person into a puddle and then turn a seal cub into a cellphone holder. Drink heavily.
Saturday – Drink heavily. Howl at the neon. Complain to other captains of industry that nothing is good enough.
Sunday – Stare into the mirror at a face you no longer recognize and question the pointless inevitability of this slow march to death. Ask what will be remembered. Drink heavily.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat….
When one’s mind snaps is much like, say, an ankle tendon. There’s a POP some pain and everything goes limp. A stress induced ‘episode’ works the same way. The wrenching POP in your mind, followed by the pain and finally the total unblinking limpness and unwillingness to move. You lying on the kitchen floor staring across the slate at the cracks in a freshly broken iPhone’s screen while tears trickle down your face joining the snot on your top lip as you slowly remove your shoes and lose focus on the world around you.
But as the old saying goes – what doesn’t kill you makes you buy a plane ticket.
Bali is the opposite of London. In Bali there is not structure. There are no goals. There is no furnace of success. In Bali it doesn’t even matter what day it is. There is no Monday dread, Tuesday apathy, Wednesday numbness, Thursday homicidal grief or Friday flailing panic.
Here in Bali. Sorry, here in beautiful Bali, everyday is the same day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. Time is meaningless.
Everyday in Bali is Flemensday. My average Bali Flemensday to Flemensday looks like this:
Flemensady – Watch a dog watch an ant.
Flemensday – Read something. Instantly forget what I read.
Flemensday – Write something silly down. Lift something heavy up.
Flemensday – Take a photo, immediately don’t post it to a social network and wait for the LIKES not to roll in.
Flemensday – Sigh.
Flemensday – Stare at my own testicles (yoga).
Flemensday – Think heavily.
As Dr Imaldi said to me in his London office whilst pretending to care and drawing cock ‘n’ balls onto his note pad, “nothing refreshes like a nice nervous breakdown.”
You might be coming to Bali as some sort of much needed and deserved pressure release valve that will stop you heading into your workplace in a long black trench coat to dispatch everyone you share a cubicle with using the medium of shot guns. Or you may be coming here because you’ve figured out that your life is finite but to-do-lists are infinite. You may be staving off your breaking point or you’ve reached it in a pool of your own despair… Either way, welcome. Enjoy the opposite of a stress melt down. Enjoy your own company and your own thoughts. Remember you’re a good egg underneath it all and you shouldn’t let the bastards get you down. Not on a day as beautifully meaningless as this one.
If you want to hang out – just get in touch. We can watch some geckos hump or chuck a rock at a can or something – I don’t have to check my diary because I don’t have one and I’m pretty sure I’m free every Flemensday for the next 6 months.