The Doldrums

Ancient mariners spoke of cursed regions of the seas. These were places where no winds blew. Where heat rose from the very ocean and where ships could drift for months at a time, the crew slowly dying of thirst and starvation while their ship drifted aimlessly like graduate student searching for research funding.

The doldrums are an equatorial belt of calms, slightly north of the equator. At this point on the earths surface large amounts of solar radiation cause the land and ocean ro become intensely hot. This heating results in the rising of warm, moist air; low air pressure; cloudiness; high humidity; light, variable winds; and various forms of severe weather, such as thunderstorms and squalls. Hurricanes originate in this region.

The doldrums are also noted for calms, periods when the winds disappear, trapping sailing vessels for days or weeks. Time would slip past slowly, like a mildly disabled bear that has just raided a large supply of rum.

The doldrums, oh my friends and relations, is where you find me this morning. My arms are sticking to my desk as I try to type. I am watching the clock tick by. Teachers are moving out to supervise yet another round of tests. I am sitting at my station, sweltering in the heat. It won’t be long now until we move into the cooler part of autumn. Soon it will begin to be cooler in the evenings, then by the time the balloon festival rolls around a jacket will be a compulsory piece of evening attire.

My cell phone just received an email.

This provoked a wave of laughter around the staff room. What the fuck is so amusing about my phone in particular? This room is permeated every day with about 50 different annoying, cute ring tones. We get everything from obscure Japanese opera to Numa Numa. What is so absofuckingloutely incredible about my phone receiving an email?!

Jesus wept! Look at that foreigner! He must be able to work a piece of Japanese technology! I thought they just used hollow drums made of sticks, feces smearing and smoke signals to communicate in New Zealand! Do Maori people live with everyone else in New Zealand? Do you have schools and bridges too? How strange that a stylized cartoon bee is a symbol of New Zealand!

This coming from the people who live in the land where the cartoon animal is the king of advertising.

Sometimes, when it’s hot and I have no real work to do all day, I get so fed up of being constantly novel out here in the inaka. You’d think after a year it would wear off wouldn’t you? It’s the days like this where people become amazed at the fact I eat a small salad for lunch everyday that get to me a little bit and provoke outbursts like the one above. Sometimes the comparative anonymity that living in a large Japanese city would provide sounds nice.

Oh well, it's part of the job isn't it? Deep breath and focus on something else.

You don't think our paychecks are just merely remuneration for the services we provide in our working hours do you? Whats your thoughts on the matter? Where does your professional employment end in this country and your personal life begin in terms of the dictates it places on your everyday behaviours?

Personally, I consider that there is a certain percentage of my wage that is devoted to compensating for the kind of frustration that can build up when you live in a society as traditional, for lack of a better word, as society in Saga can be. There certainly is a gap between pay thresh hold and actual job responsibility that I fear will vastly skew my perception of any employment contracts I glance over in the future. Imagine glancing over a contract and looking at a large list of position responsibilities and saying something like,

What do you mean I won't have days where I am paid to sit around and read about UFO's on the internet all day?

crazy world huh? I suppose that in a society where teachers occupy a certain social status its to be expected that you have to alter you lifestyle to match in with what is viewed as being socially normal behavior for a teacher to exhibit.

Thats not to say you have to meet those expectations.

And that is where the fun lies.

I have been pretending to be busy experimenting with DVD backup software this morning. Moving my region 4 DVD of The Wall by Pink Floyd over onto a new region free DVD using the software I posted a link to on sagaJET the other week. It’s really working well. It has taken a couple of hours to analyze the DVD and encode it again, but I have it on the highest quality settings and it hasn’t been sucking down too many system resources, so my laptop has been running along nicely while it’s been working in the background.

Yes, maybe after lunch something interesting will happen, but for now, the bat has descended and test time inactivity has commenced. Yesterday was really busy, and I felt I had a good productive day, I was useful and won a few minor victories. I need to hang on to that today, as this posting fits exactly into the description emblazoned at the top of the website like a stamp of confirmation that some aspects of this system of employment we are involved in need a bit of change. Time to motivate and make some English posters or an English board or something to do with English.

Oh, that software works well, just put my new DVD in the drive and it runs perfectly. The world is mine.....