A personal milestone

Working freelance after a full time job takes time.

I’ve done a number of contract projects since being made redundant in July.

Ad copy writing, corporate gigs, research projects: they’ve all been very interesting, and I’m learning new things as I go, even about myself.

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A contract worker, for example, must hone his business skills, even if he is “creative” or “stupid”.

This fact dawned on me a few days ago when I realized that I’m just as equipped to manage my own business as the next guy, who at that moment was a Down Syndrome-dude selling pencils on Queen Street.

Add business to my growing “incompetence list”, right up there with being a techno-tard, fuck-tard, bastard and leotard.

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Business is just not my thing. So yesterday, I finally got my ass over to a professional. I went to see an accountant.

This was a huge milestone for me because on the way to my appointment, I stepped in dog shit.

It was the first time I stepped in dog shit in New Zealand. Not only that, but it was also the longest I’ve gone without stepping in dog shit, by far (363 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 17 seconds).

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. I stood there on Dominion Road, my Birkenstocks tread-deep in dog shit, overwhelmed by tears pride my accomplishment.

In case anyone didn’t know or you forgot, I’m New Yorker. Asshole.

And everyone in New York is constantly stepping in dog shit. You’re lucky if you don’t step in shit before getting out of bed in the morning.

It’s not unusual for subway commuters to get to work completely covered in all kinds of shit. This means they have to go back home to clean up and change clothes.

The braver ones sometimes go back to work, only to go through the cycle all over again. Usually, we just call in sick, but if you’re in a union, you might get some annual “covered in shit” paid-leave days.

It took a while to sort out the mess. I didn’t want to start off a professional relationship with my feet covered in shit.

So I shuffled through some twigs for a while, and used a snot-rag I had in my pocket to clean the shit from between my toes, as I happened to be wearing Birkenstocks.

The accountant showed me into a conference room after arriving at his office. He was really helpful in giving me advice about starting my business.

But even though I’d cleaned myself thoroughly, there was still a foul smell in the air, faint but persistent. It seemed possible I was imagining things.

Then the accountant started finding one excuse after another to leave the room. Kiwis would rather do that than to openly acknowledge a problem. So he kept interrupting himself from giving me advice, staying away longer and longer.

The last time he was gone the longest, maybe three minutes, and when he sat down again I could see a bit of whatever he’d had for lunch on his now-stained tie.  (It sucks when you think you’ll make it to the toilet in time, but don’t.)

Then he asked me to leave and if I could show myself out.

Which I thought was a little on the unprofessional side. If he’d only asked, I could have told him about my milestone. But when I got home, I realized it wasn’t the dog shit I was smelling, but the natural odor of my feet. In which case, sorry, Mr Accountant. My bad.

<<first draft. Not proofed. No SEO. Heading out the door.>>

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