Published in this months MaiLife magazine is this. Written by yours truly. Enjoy the random ramblings that spewed forth from my mind. I was actually surprised when I got the email to say that they wanted to publish it. It's not the most polished piece I've ever written.
My lecturer at school calls me Robert. Repeatedly. I didn't have the heart to correct her, trying to coerce a group of 40 young adults into learning about the joys of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism is tough enough as it is. Besides, there's something I kind of find appealing about this new name of mine. It makes me feel like I have a secret identity, a kind of double life. By day I am Robert, university student, and by night I am Freelance Man, with the power to design posters in a single night (changes notwithstanding).
Robert is quiet and unassuming, he sits in class, usually near the back and scribbles almost constantly as the lecturer speaks. Some of the time he's actually taking notes, but most of the time he's doodling pictures of flying pigs or sentient ant creatures. The thing that I've learned about university, and school in general, is that if you read the sources you're given and absorb the knowledge that is flying around the room at class time you'll do alright. My grades aren't the best in the world though, so don't go quoting me on that.
Freelance Man cannot afford to be quiet though. Oh no, he must ask questions almost constantly, and he rarely has time to doodle when it comes to taking notes. Freelance Man is kind of like the X-Men, except instead of defending a world that hates and fears them, Freelance Man works for a world that hates him. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but talk to any designer for a short period of time, and if there's one thing that all of them can agree on, it's that the people who pay them to do work are usually the biggest obstacles to getting the job done.
Freelance Man was once offered a job to write a whole bunch of articles for a magazine that was to be released. Maybe the word "job" is too loose here, more like, he was asked to write a whole bunch of articles for free. Sure, they did offer him money at a later date, but that did not mean that they would pay for the articles when they were delivered. The conversation just before they stopped calling him went a little like this:
"Have you finished the articles yet?"
"Look, about that, I was wondering if you'd finished off the paperwork on that. You know, a small contract just to ensure I get paid for doing this."
"The accountants are working on it, but I really need those articles."
"Yes, I know, it's just that I've done work for people before that I ended up not getting paid for. It's incredibly frustrating."
This, by the way, is beyond incredibly frustrating. It's more a feeling of wanting to pound your head into a brick wall over and over for being so gosh darn stupid.
"The thing is, we really need those articles so that we can do a layout to show the sponsors. Then we can work on the first issue, and then we can pay you."
"So...basically I'm doing all this for potential money. That doesn't exist yet?"
Just because his name is Freelance Man, doesn't mean he works for free.
And so, I continue to lead this double life. No, there is no Mary Jane Watson in this story (yet. that's right ladies, I'm single!) but I do have a pretty good Aunt May who does her hardest to keep me in check. Speaking of Mary Janes, is it just me, or are relationships the strangest things in the world? Perhaps it's just the women I'm attracted to. For me it's either the incredibly neurotic or the incredibly psychotic. Yes, it's probably the women I'm attracted to.
This week, in class, I almost corrected the lecturer when she, once again, called me Robert. We were in the middle of a quiz on research methodology, and I didn't think that it was the right moment, what with the chaos that was ensuing. The energy levels from all forty brains trying to recall information that they had just skimmed through the night before was enough to power the Monasavu Dam for at least a year. Perhaps FEA should look into harnessing the latent energies in the brains of frustrated Uni students.
Anyway, I'm glad I didn't correct her, as I was running to catch the bus while pulling the last dregs of nicotine from my cigarette I heard someone call behind me, "See you later, Robert!"