January 20, 2003

Moving RIght Along...

I decided to take Stephanie's advice and skip the angst (with regard to my issues over quitting).

Well, most of the angst.

I think I did the right thing in leaving the job at the bank.
Only after I spent a few days sleeping off the fatigue did I realize how much it was taking out of me.


The emotional stress I could handle; what I hadn't bargained for was the pure physical exhaustion.
I suppose if you start younger you get used to it but after years (decades!) of being a couch potato it was too much of a shock to my system to stand for hours on end.

So for now I'm keeping an eye on the postings at the school board and general employment websites; trying once again to get my house in order; paying a little more attention to the stock market since it's showing some signs of life (or is that wishful thinking); and reconnecting with my friends.

Yes, a hermit like me has actual local real-life in-person friends.

I've met Annie for lunch twice since I stopped working. These lunches used to be a weekly event but had tapered off in recent years.
They started more than ten years ago when, during a particularly bad bout of depression, I decided I needed a confidante and chose Annie.

I had known Annie casually for several years but was closer to her younger sister who had recently moved to Toronto.
Annie had (and still has) a reputation as a gossip.

So why did I choose her to trust with my innermost feelings?

I received a sign.

Laugh all you want but I listen to these things and they don't fail me.

One evening back then, Annie and I happened to be in a third friend's kitchen, as our children were all out for Halloween together. The conversation took a strange turn and I heard Annie say things that mirrored my exact feelings - things that had to do with men and marriage and issues that were weighing heavily on me.

I had never heard her talk like that before.

I later called her and told her I needed a friend, someone to talk to.
And she listened. And listened. And listened.

Annie has never, to my knowledge, betrayed a confidence. I would probably know, given the vitality of the grapevine in this community.

She got me through one of my worst depressions by listening to me during her lunch hour, week after week, for months, really years on end.

Those days were pre-internet, even pre-computer, and Annie was my only source of sanity, when even my own psychiatrist was telling me I was being "adolescent".
(I dropped the psychiatrist but kept the prozac she prescribed!)

Since then Annie has married off two daughters, become a grandmother, moved to a smaller home with her husband and son, and survived her mother's near-fatal illness last summer.

Last summer was also when I realized she was becoming addicted to gambling.

VLTs (Video Lottery Terminals) are within walking distance of just about everybody in the greater Montreal area. They are in neighbourhood restaurants (respectable places, not just hangouts) bowling centers, clubs, and probably places I'm not even aware of.
The problem here is so great that our newspaper ran a twelve part series on it late last year, and keeps it available online. (See below)
The restaurant in the strip mall where Annie works has these machines.

She stopped for awhile, or says she did, and I believe her because it was all too apparent that she started again recently.
She admits she has a problem. I know that's supposed to be a big step and I guess it is but when I read about how and why this happens and how strong and destructive the addiction is, it terrifies me.

Annie told me today that she's again trying to stop. She also didn't reject the idea of going for help if she can't stop on her own.
I've been looking into local resources and found several organizations, including Gambler's Anonymous.
I want to be ready with options for Annie when she's ready to pursue them, and to give her as much love and support as she gave me when I needed it, and still gives me now.

Not quite two weeks back to the lifestyle of the unemployed, and already into a new drama...

Linque Du Jour:   VLT$ An Investigative Report
From the Montreal Gazette.

Looking Back
Very approximately...

One year ago:
Take Your Lumps!

Two years ago:
Miscellaneous Minutiae

Three years ago:
Et Tu, Linda - still one of my favourites.

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