Brain kegels. This is just me typing. I may never post this, but even if I am brave enough to post it up, it doesn’t justify that it’s a good read.
It all began, one mid summer fall winter spring morning afternoon evening when I completely forget why I needed to leave. There’s no memorable reason why I needed to leave, but suddenly I felt this massive desire to leave my life. This is an important missing step, if you are continuing into the depth of this journal entry, that missing reason is a cause of problem. Fear controls me. I am honestly scared, of most things and people. Off topic, I feel there is only so many objects in the world, take for example money, self value, and it’s representation of time. It’s a complex thing, but this is just a conscious stream of thought being typed here, so deal with the ADHD directions of this.
The base of it is that your individual consciousness has a value of it’s time. Your awareness of your own value of your own time is the cause of the creation and maintenance of the monetary system. Your awareness of a limited amount of time, and a shear fear of death, results in a hyper magnification and a bit of a panic to make best of your time; it is now more value since it is in limited quantity. Thus the idea that time is money. I will die in the future, I only have so much time until then, I’d like to spend my time doing what I want to do with my limited time. If you want a piece of that time for your interests, then you must provide something to help improve the time I have left to be just as entertaining as my time was going to be before, just over a shorter period of time. Your exchange for my time, much make my free time left, concentrated at a higher amount of value towards my goals/interests. No one taught me this in school, it’s not complex, but oddly enough, not obvious for me.
I was living in a very good version of a good life. There was no perfection, but rather a great solid example of me doing things I enjoy with my time. Somehow, my convoluted self value felt it wasn’t right for me. Let’s re-cap:
-Living in a really nice house
-Living with fellow drifters who I love dearly
-(for some reason, this list refuses to not put that little gap above this line. Weird)
-Decent drift car, built EXACTLY how I want it.
-Monthly drift events, with people I respect, with a general overall feel/attitude that is perfect. (one of the moment of perfection)
-Dating the perfect girl, who I would’ve married.
-Working a job I’m good at, and respected at, that is actually an entertaining use of my time.
-Slowly saving money rather than losing it.
-Making a life for myself, on my own.
Okay, so that’s how I feel looking back at my life before leaving for Australia. Nicely enough I can look back at how good it was before. I guess that’s one benefit, or something positive I can take from this situation. Remember, I still can’t really fathom why I left. I did however, enjoy the romance of being a vagabond, and perhaps I need to travel…more specifically….get lost and meet new people. Perhaps, I have felt a relief from an internal desire. I think I want to understand my need to leave. I need to find why I left Victoria, because on paper, it makes no sense, and my heart is absolutely broken, but we’ll get back to that.
There is few things I do in life that gives me ‘that’ feeling. There is a feeling I get that is right in the middle of my chest, runs up my spine, cups over the top of my brain, and uses it’s fingers to massage the frontal lobe. It’s the most wonderful feeling. I realize now, (please remember this sentence if you ever notice I’m not feeling well, and am angry.) this feeling has to do with sharing my creations. The things I create and putting them out to the world, to cause some sort of counter culture, or at least contribute to culture, give me this internal tickle that is far more satisfying than an orgasm. It is a very relatable feeling to that primal reward your brain gives you for making a connection with a new mate; not the sex, but that moment of euphoric where you both feel that emotional link for the first time. I get that feeling, and I’m getting it right now, just penning it onto the blog now, that I get from sharing my creations. That hope for a reaction from people is worth it. Case in point, I get little rushes, sharing my terrible car builds with people. Zee-boo, Bad-Apple, Zombie 1 & 2 as well as Lemonade. Showing people these pieces of trash, made from pieces of trash gets me off in a very specific way, no matter the direction of their reaction.
Diving into my motivations is helping me understand my need to leave Victoria. I can remember feeling uncreative, with nothing to contribute back. I remember this very clearly, as I had lost my ability to share. Even now, this is the first time in a long time I’ve been able to let out feeling and emotion in writing, to an undecided and potential-no audience. It feels good. However, I consider the warnings friends gave me before leaving, most importantly my girlfriend, and I really wish someone would’ve hand cuffed me to a post and just fed me gruel for weeks on end until the feeling to escape would’ve passed. I guess I was looking for inspiration? I guess that could be the cause of the trip. I think now, looking best, a short trip to Japan would’ve sufficed, but I have an extremists attitude towards everything, and a good story is better than an okay one. This is my story.
Losing your mind in front of friends and family can be sort of a horror, or gore like entertainment; where you are enjoying being disgusted by it. This is how I imagine looking in. There was nearly no voices of reason that told me going to Australia was a good idea, but my voice of ‘disreason’, Chaos, a need for some sort of internal Anarchy and Internal revolution somehow was stronger. Up for grabs, turning my life into a monetary value was first priority.
It must have been discomforting for Shannon to help me sell my stuff to leave without her. I try my best to empathize now, much too late after the fact. To stand there, confused by the whole Quinn experience coming out in crazy force. I can be convincing, in the right moment, when the stars twinkle just that right sparkle, and a million dead faerie ghosts haunt your soul, I can some how convince you to do the wildest things. I guess I believe in gifts, natural born talents, or something confusingly mystical – game changers – thrown into the mix by some controlling being. I guess I believe in them, if nothing but an easy answer to the question, why do people follow the things I say. I must have a knack, or talent for it, which is entirely accidental. I sometimes feel I could sell Igloo’s to dead giraffes, and turn a profit. Not for the money, but for the shear reward of the obscurity; that obscurity would be a rewarding contribution to life.
Pain is a complex emotion. Pain is not an object, but rather a self inflicted feeling, designed to grab our attention to the immediate needs for our self preservation. I’m curious, that month Shannon helped me liquidate my life, what sort of ultra complex pain Shannon felt, and what ever it was I’m sorry for it. Picturing it is easy, I know it was there, but understanding it is obviously very difficult, because I left, and she didn’t stop me. She made no mistake, but I stand now in her shoes and I see this complex pain, again an awareness of a direct need of attention to ones self preservation. We were getting along very well, I feel she is the one to spend the rest of my life with, and her actions and words often confirmed the same. So when this life partner, a requirement for social satisfaction, and possibly, though I’m unsure exactly, maybe even a requirement for a humans primal side as well; this partner leaving, with uncertain consequences to their state of life, and love. I can only try to imagine the complex, un-sharp, pain she must’ve felt, trying to decide on a social level what was happening, and if it was worth preserving, or if it could survive the new world.
I guess rushing the move resulted in a strong lack of foresight for everyone. The car went up for raffle. This is a story in it’s own. I really enjoyed this process, and I’m hoping everyone else did too. The resulting outcome wasn’t as beautiful as the process though, but I can now say, raffles and draws are more fun during the lead up than after the conclusion. The build up to the draw, the interaction with friends, and they were all friends, was an extremely rewarding process. I don’t care if it was illegal, and to those harping on about it, fuck off entirely. Like actually fuck off. There is many things I’d like to differently if I were to ever do it again, but it was entirely worth it to me at this point. I’ve had a strong lingering feeling of a great connection in Victoria, there’s something about finding a group of people who really all enjoy the same nonsensical past time together, beyond monetary value. It’s pure, and wholesome. Drawing these people together for interaction over this shared past time is righteous.
The rest of my life went on sale as well. Rare, obscure items, obscurity giving me braingasms. Sold off, not at great price, but great speed. And there, I was ready, 1 month roughly and I was ‘prepared’ to go. To document this lack of preparation, my receiving party in Australia had forewarned me they were not ready for my arrival. This was not a short term lack of readiness, but rather a subtle, ‘please don’t come’. I got on the plane anyways. I was running from something, something strong. I was scared, I still am scared of this dark, undistinguished blob chasing the emotional me inside my skull. I slam doors behind me, topple chairs and boxes to cover my path, running frantically. I don’t see what’s in front of me, just a third person view looking past myself, who is constantly checking behind myself. Tones of grey, no colour, as I see this shadow creep over my footsteps, never quite catching me, but consistently in chase. Absorbing my whole brain power, day in, day out, as I just try to run and….we’ve landed in Sydney. The entire two day journey is a complete blur. I remember none of it immediately, people are getting out of their seats, standing up, shoving their complimentary pillows into empty seats and stretching their atrophied muscles. I remember none of it, I’ve been staring at the back of my chair for over 14 hours. Another day in the life of Quinn and his fear. I guess that’s why I’m good in waiting rooms and walking long distances, I’m too busy fighting off the monsters inside to notice the passing of time.
Instantly I’m consumed by the chemical rush of suddenly being somewhere new. The Vagabond Gypsy DNA in my strands vibrates at a rewarding tone and I’m cheered up slightly, you can see it in my travel video. I’m on the bus being the ‘good Quinn'; the half I use as the projected Quinn. On a side note, if you’ve met the other half, then you must be a truly close friend. Buzzing about my journey is about to begin. I’m enthusiastic about the obscurity of my plan, to race this ghost on this mountain. I’m un-phased by the suicidal undertones of the whole idea. Important to note.
My feet, literally on the ground, I bust into my new home. Again, not prepared for me physically and socially. I’m a strong force to be reckoned with. I’m filled with the romance of an ultra obscure, counter-culture, new lifestyle. Things progress quickly. I tear up the house, making massive changes to the place to accommodate my personal future needs. I want to build a race car, for the sake of pissing people off. Not a specific person, but a specific ideal of people. Like mentioned before, the promise of building a race car, one of obscure and strange notion and showing it to the world, provides me that mental reward that nothing else in life has ever given me. That creative outlet, this creative outlet provides me such promise that I become emotionally erect.
Small problems begin to arise, I conquer them as they come about. Preparing for a new life is tough, the volume of small problems is great, and it’s taking a massive amount of time to do it. One of the problems, a much larger one than the smaller ones, is that I am doing these tasks alone. This is the beginning of a major issue, the most major of the entire trip. It didn’t matter, honestly who I was doing these tasks with, though I have preferences, I just needed someone there beside me, bantering on about life, as we cut through this thick forest of thin problems together. I did not consider this, there was a strong lack of foresight. But, what I didn’t realize was happening was a brewing and hyper cultivating of more than one major issue: Loneliness and a distraction from the original plan.
The original plan started out with a welder. Australia is perfect for welding, all the sockets, in every-house has over 200 volts of electricity! No need for small, low voltage welders, but rather, tons of opportunity for a decent welder for cheap. This was a VERY crucial part of the BIG PLAN that quickly got forgotten and skipped, and I blame my lack of a wingman for this. Which in turn is entirely my own fault. I’m now in clean up mode, the home reminds me of my childhood home, or at least the most important part of the home does: The garage. Boxes of junk, old clothes and general useless items are littered everywhere in the Garage. To be fair the rest of the house was clean, but the garage is pure-rotten. It’s a massive mess, but luckily this time, at best for me, I have no sentimental value of these items or of the people who do own these items. I begin cleaning, it’s a rewarding experience, separately of my trip, but more so a bit of a ‘fuck you mom’ activity I get to achieve with great relief. The Garage is now….not quite ready. It’s missing a bunch of tools, and getting into it is a massive challenge, both physically, and socially.
A week has passed, I’ve forgotten entirely about the welder, a key piece of the plan not only to build my own race car, but also to use as exchange for others items and services. Money is depleting. Not much, but I notice, and money and I don’t get along. Instantly I panic: Time to find a job.
Inside my head my entire motivation for the original trip is gone, suddenly, after a week. That romance with obscurity gone, to the extremity that I don’t even remember it as a recent feeling, but one of those non-time-descript memories from probably long ago. I felt entirely different suddenly, and my only goal was to find work. It shouldn’t be too tough, I mean, I network really well, fiend like even, and I’ve got decent experience mixed with good references. I fiddled up the resumé, packed the backpack: New Mission, Employment at any cost. This any cost will become a problem.
The garage was clean and empty, My vinegar is still in my step, but now I need to find work! I have no car, and a stupid flatland bike, so I better walk. This is how the next 2 weeks would go:
-leave the house at 8am
-Walk in the blistering hot Australian sun
-Drop off resumes everywhere
-Come home around 3pm.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This was an exhausting process. As it always is, no matter the location. Interrupting an employers busy day to advertise yourself to them. A simple quick blurt about yourself in a confident manner, provide them with a paper highlighting yourself and move on. This was a lonely process as well, only because there was no one to make fun of things together with me. A way of shedding nervousness and releasing pressure, humor is what works for me, but there was no one there to listen. Again, my fault. On my off time from job hunting I was hanging out with drift related people and going to events, but the more I went the more I seemed to clam up. Early on Robbie and I made a video of an Event. It turned out better than I expected, but didn’t receive much reply, I guess my style was off put. I lost sight of ‘contribution’ to the blog. An important piece of the puzzle. I wanted the world, and each post needed to be perfect or not at all. Not at all became an always and the posts stopped coming pretty soon into my Australian adventure.
Brock at this point was distant. He was on my mind, his ghostly figure, ghast on a mountain I haven’t seen. He was quickly becoming an embarrassment as I quickly shed motivational weight, the wrong weight to lose. The garage now occupied a Miata, but it was broken in the wrong way. Stupidly, I began throwing money at it, tools, parts and my valued time. Between, fiddling with the miata, applying for jobs and running around with new friends to drift events, I was losing money quickly, and sharing nothing with the world about myself.
I was balancing so many things. Too many things, and I had so little to show for it. With all this distraction, that dark shadow finally caught me. You forgot about him didn’t you? I did too. I didn’t notice quite at first when he caught me though. A few employers finally started getting back to me. At this point I had been volunteering at the local drift track, and meeting a lot of nice people, but no one was really able to provide the job security I needed that has now somehow become the only thing justifying my value, and the one thing I’ve become completely hung up on. Read further.
My observation so far of Australia, besides the heat, and the endless spider bites, was that I had trouble understanding what people were saying. Which was a variation of a traditional problem most foreigners have. Had english not been my first language, this might have been easier. Curious? Well, people could understand what I’m talking about, I have a clear, announcer like voice. The Aussies have grown up on American television, and a majority of their media has a North American accent. They could understand me just fine. The inverse is not true though, I had great difficulty understanding them. Partially, I blame the light leak of British ‘Cockney’ witt into their culture. This is a lame excuse, but just try following the conversation of a a further slanged Cockney-American mix. Aussies themselves will be rolling their eyes at this but it’s not what my ears were trained for. The result had two problems raised:
1. I constantly need to ask people to repeat themselves. Which is fine, however, the dynamic of them understanding me, and me not understanding them, results in an automatic thought. I was dating at the time, Shannon, a deaf girl. She faces this problem every day; when she asks people to repeat themselves, they don’t notice that they take offence to this. People do, and being confused that the listener doesn’t understand results in the speaker, assuming they are stupid. I often felt stupid, and began feeling very belittled. Interacting with employers and constantly having miscommunications with them was not something I was used to. This raised problem 2.
2. I care deeply about Shannon, and have constantly consoled her after interactions like the above mentioned, in her everyday life. People instantly assume she’s of a lower intelligence due to the increased difficulty of communication. This would frustrate me quite greatly as she is extremely intelligent, a very personal reason why I enjoy her myself. The combination of accent, but also vocal cultural differences, became shockingly obvious she will dramatically struggle with conversation here in Australia. This is a muli-layed problem in itself: I am now thinking on Shannons behalf, for her, which is not acceptable. I have a strong feeling she will dislike her interactions with people here. Her normal reaction is anger at her confusion, which needs diffusion, and at a potentially greater rate. I now worry, about her, my own self value, my finances, and my embarrassment.
I begin to start pushing people away. You could never tell, my conversational skills are quite good. I can be alone while leading a conversation in a group of people. I was suddenly alone. It felt like a massive globe I was standing on, and all the people were either ghosts, or I was the ghost. Meaning, we interacted, but there was a massive disconnect. This isn’t to say I didn’t have the opportunity to reach out, that I didn’t have someone close by to connect with, but I didn’t have the bravery-courage to open up.
Compiling problems were now causing me confusion. Constantly being rejected, or having my time wasted by employers became my number one source of anger. People would call me in for interviews, only to reject me, or make promises they couldn’t keep.
My first promise of a Job was at AMA motors. I had wandered onto their lot one afternoon, arm full of groceries, making the best use of my time I took an alternative route home to drop some resumes along the way. This was technically fruitful. I opened the door to a construction cubicle. This temporary building was on a massive concrete slab scattered with a few hundred ruined scraps of cars, loosely everywhere. The light from the outside world blinded a room full of small Chinese people -> triple squint, as this stranger walked into their lives. The boss, not a word of English, doesn’t even know Yes or No in Australian tongue, begins barking orders at his lackies. They scramble to assemble, as I stand awkwardly in the door way groceries draped off of me, drenched in sun sweats, holding out a resume with Chinese bouncing around in front of me, and the sounds of cars crashing and Lebanese shouting behind me.
They hired me. On the spot. My new title: “Sales”. I was their English speaking, car knowledgeable, demi-god. Suddenly, Value. I had pushed everyone away from me already, including Shannon to some extent. I began to pull some in close to me now that I felt a little just in my existence. Excitement. My first Australia job, and a potentially good one too: Selling scrap car parts! I got my own desk, a junker from the yard with most likely fake plates on it, and a promise of pay. It was finally nice to spend some time talking with friends and sharing accomplishment with them.
I showed up for work the first day. I know it’s always an adjustment period to begin with. I expected this, but what I didn’t expect, I mean, I walked into a massive facility, with tons of cars, endless action of people cutting and working, Hundreds of thousands of dollars of observable value. No, what I didn’t expect was what I was about to find out next. This was a very strange point in my journey upside down. This very moment, and this piece of information still has too much weight to it, to this day for me. I sat at my desk, day 1, excited.
That was it. There was nothing more. Nothing. I showed up, and no one knew what to do with me. What’s going on? Was the theme in my mind. There was some Chinese spoken, some English, but there was nothing for me to do there. Or this can alternatively be read; there was everything for me to do there. Let the confusion begin! Day 1, 2 and basically the rest suddenly became less of a job, and more of a mystery, or puzzle to solve. What was I doing there, why do they keep giving me these impossible tasks to accomplish?
I’m at a loss for words. They had no customers, no business plan, and no communication. It took me a long time to piece it all together: The boss moved over from China to start a scrap metal company. He doesn’t speak english, at all. He doesn’t use computers, at all. So he begins hiring young family members to help him start his business, nieces, nephews, who are slightly fluent in English. They are now in Australia, jammed in this sweltering hut with no direction either. Do they have a contract for the scrap metal? Nope. No actual buyer.
He goes to the Auction, buy 200 cars, out of pocket, from the car auction of all places. Practically all consecutively and rents a yard to jam them in. A big yard, with a high rent. The problem is, he doesn’t buy scrap cars, he buys repairable wrecks. So he’s paid triple the value of their scrap! He bought so many, and had no idea what anyone was saying, other people at the auction jokingly bidding up all the cars he was buying as they knew he would buy them anyways. $2000 for a damaged mid 90’s Hyundai accent, is an unrecoverable cost.
He then hires a crew of Lebanese guys to cut the cars up. There is no instruction to what cars to cut, where to put them, or any organization at all. They want to get paid, so they are just cutting up cars, but with almost no tools at all, it takes them tons of work, and time to cut them apart. Cars parts, EVERYWHERE. The yard is now littered with junk, and good stuff, mixed entirely together, at random everywhere. Everyone makes suggestions to the boss, but he can’t understand their language. This forces his Nieces and Nephews to mis-translate everything to him. Since they are his nieces and nephews, he does not respect what they are saying, and easily rejects any input into the matter. This is a financial nightmare at this point.
Then I show up. Hello. How are you? They give me a job. But little did I know, my job, was to save the company. That was my job.
I was to organize the lot, find buyers for the scrap cars as parts for repair, as well as find buyers for the scrap metal. I’m white, I must be Australian. Since he doesn’t speak English, he doesn’t really recognize I am not Australian, despite my multiple reminders through his family members to him, that I’ve been Australia for about a month now, and don’t know the car market as well as I could.
I begin making work for myself, trying to sell cars and parts. I begin advertising the cars, and slowly I’m getting responses. Great, I’ll be able to sell some stuff. I’ve been running around the yard, documenting all the vehicles and valuable pieces and putting them up for sale on multiple different websites. Week 1 comes to a close. Pay day. I haven’t sold a thing yet, but also had no instruction at all. His 3 family members have sold nothing either. No one has sold anything. The Lebanese guys are another week into randomly chopping cars, and he’s now bought more cars, for too much, and has no where for them to go. Great.
Payment comes up. He likes to pay cash….figures. I like Cash, but I also know what being paid in cash mea….oh you can’t pay me at all this week. Well, that’s fine I guess, I’ll catch you on Monday. Oh, the car you loaned me for getting to work, I can’t use on the weekend. That’s frustrating, but fair, it’s not my car. Then came the kicker, he offered to move me solely to commission for my second week. If I sold something I got to keep part of it. No thanks. I peace’d right there. But it wasn’t the last I’d see of him. A huge chunk of my week went to teaching his employees. I spent a massive chunk of time, showing them how to advertise cars, what was important about them, how to find buyers, as well as many other basic simplistic elements of western business. His family was quite upset with my leaving, and it became a conflict between him, and them to a greater degree. Here are his direct relatives, arguing with him keep me, I guess when you teach someone to answer the phone as “AMA Motors, Mandy Speaking.” rather than “Ummm, hello?” You gain a little credibility in your newly formed work place. Seriously, “Hello” was how they were answering the phone before I arrived.
I felt rejected, at the one thing I like most. Cars. I was suddenly back on the job hunt again, on foot, and all I did was break even. A waste of my time, and hopes. I then passed a milestone, negative one, I was now more lonely that I had ever been in my entire life. Ever. I needed a touch of gentle confirmation that everything was going to be alright. But there was none, and it was months before Shannon would be joining me in a Country I assumed she would hate. Before leaving, she even mentioned she didn’t like the idea of the place. I was too thick headed to hear her roar.
A small company hired me….sort of. Another employer screwing me around. ‘We’ll get back to you when our contract comes through’.I had a working interview with them. I remember the FIRST sentence he spoke to me “I’m not racist but….” An unpaid interview, of lifting crates of milk. Not ideal, but a job. Completely alone in my brain now, more lonely than ever, more worried, and so far off track my initial goals. I began to resent the trip as a whole. My living situation, and mostly myself. I began to feel very distant from my happy self and the people I care about. I had begun my assimilation with the darkness. Race car forgotten, Brock forgotten, Shannon forgotten.
I began to feel insanely depressed, mildly suicidal. I had put in so much effort to find that job to fuel my journey,or atleast maintain my hope that I was exhausted emotionally. It was a big thing, to have projected myself, or big to me, projected so large my exit od Canada to my friends. I needed the well wishes to push me over that hump to leave my nice life. That self value began to change in a very dark way. Although it was more noble to put food in my mouth, to be an adult, in no way did I believe in it, nor do I now. I was accepting something that bothered me on a deep core level purely for survival. Funny though, as it almost killed me in Australia, and recently as well.
We had fun times. I make it sound dark, inside it was very dark, but it didn’t mean Australia didn’t try to be beautiful for me. I remember my first ‘drift’ down under. An Rt141 of ‘Buck Buck’s, with a smashed front end, that I was asked to chauffeur full of newly acquainted drunk Aussie drift friends. I remember sliding out of a parking lot into on coming traffic, forgetting I was now to drive on the opposite side. We went to a party that night, it was actually pretty decent vibe for once. I got hit on by a cute girl, but I turned her down, I had someone I was thinking about back home.
I was volunteering at the local Thursday night drift events. Archerfield was a famous Brisbane drift stepping stone. Robbie took me out one night, I introduced myself at the gate, and by next week I was volunteering. It felt like a little piece of home. Every Thursday evening shitty drifter kids would gather to slide around a track, just barely big enough to hang loose on. This tiny go-kart out near the airport. Australia had no shortage of places to race your car legally, just a useless fuck ton of pointless bullshit to actually use your car on the actual road. Archerfield was my center for meeting drift people, run at the time by the Andersons, the owners of a shop called Nizzpro out of the Gold Coast. This is where I began to really socialize with my own kin, saw my first KE70 corolla. I met Luke Fink and his absolutely gorgeous girlfriend Tiarnah there. I also met a fuzzy headed fool taking pictures one evening. I didn’t realize saying hello to Mark was going to have such an impact.
I’m often a man of coincidence. It’s a theme that’s as consistent as people reminding me I have ‘Potential’. I hate when people remind me. Coincidence seems to be the title of movie of me. Years before moving to Australia I had joined an online car forum, a very specific one for nerds just like me. Auszoku was the only English speaking Bosozoku forum I could find in all the land of the internet. Run by aussies, I just happened upon it one day, was one of the earliest people to join. I soon forgot about it, but checked in from time to time to see what was happening in the land of the Eigo-zoku. Once entering Austown, I remembered I was signed up! So I reintroduced myself, proclaiming my pillaging of their land.
“I’m living in Brisbane now! Hello from Canada.”
–“where in brizzy?”
–“i live in woodridge, where?”
–“dude, I’m your neighbor.”
Is basically how the conversation went on the forum. Now I’m not shy in any sense to meeting new people, plus this is a new adventure still, so friends are bonus! So, I went and knocked on John’s door. John was a nice surprise; here was a man, founder of Auszoku, fellow Toyota drift, mk2 Supras specifically, kawaii enthusiast and flatland bmx rider, a few doors down from me. The chances of that happening accidentally are just ridiculous. Robbie’s life was just not ready for me, we had been great friends online for over 10 years, but he was just too busy working nights, and spending days with his new wife. I felt, and still feel a lot of guilt for ignoring his plea for me to move at a different time, or at least offer a greater period of time to prepare for the move. John and I started hanging out a lot. John and I got along really well right away. It was a really strange happen stance.
I reached out on the bmx forums as well, and found a group of guys in North Brisbane that rode flatland on Wednesday evenings. They were really welcoming guys, and just the right guys to ride with, a mix of old school dudes, and young learners. The flatland spot was really was glued the entire thing together. It was this cool, windless, quiet, smooth undeground, well lit flatland spot that was always open and empty. Perfection. The sessions went well every week. Those sessions where you just get locked into your tunes, and you feel like super man, able to accomplish any trick if you really focus. Glorious. I was driving up there each week to ride, but how was I getting up there?
I can’t remember how exactly I met Simon, but I can only imagine it was at Archerfield, a real social hub for me. He invited me over one evening to help wrench on one of the guys cars. Ben was building up a 180sx, and it needed lots of prep for painting. I remember being still extremely new to Australia, being the only person who’d rode a $99 mountain bike across the city to watch the drift events. It was still the tail end of summer, 4 guys in the sun, hand sanding the outside of a car. I was sweating, dehydrated, and waaaay to proud to admit I was struggling in the heat. Head down, be a man and power through sanding the shell. Be a rad guy Quinn. Sitting in front of Simons Shed, (Aussie name for Garage) was this RA65 Convertible, a weird one at that. I joked, in the begging, pathetically serious way I always do, that I should do something with the car. It looked severely ignored, so it wasn’t totally unreasonable, Simon seemed to agree. It was mine, if I made it run I could have it. If I ever needed it gone, to give it back to him. Fuck yes. This is rad.
It ran, fired up first try with a battery. Finally a distraction from all my severe, and self destructive, self critical thoughts. Something to occupy my brain and help me keep my spirits about this, sweaty place. So for the next week I spent time hustling rides, and luckily using my AMA loner car to get out to Simons and get it running. John helped me source an alternator for it. We searched a bunch of junkyards looking for alternators to fit the stupidly obscure and shitty, 21RC motor. It wasn’t charging, and I figured the alt had died. We bounced a few junkyards, I even scooped up a pocket full of fuses from a Camry, some factory Toyota relays, and some other parts. We checked the Repco and Autobarn for new alts. Too expensive. Stopped at one guys house who said he had one, only to find out he didn’t. He called some people, some guy knew some guy, random phone calls in a dark drive way on a borrowed phone….he’s got one. Awesome.
John and I picked it up, some shed in the woods, packed with 18RG motors, $30 and if it doesn’t work, bring it back and he’ll sort me out. Cool. I finally get it out to the car, pop it in. Nothing. Still no charge. FUCK.Fuck fuck fuck. I’ve been bumming rides all over this massively spread out city, hustling peoples time and energy to find what I need, nothing. two weeks in the trash. Dammit, I don’t know what I’m going to d…….oh, there’s no fuses in the fuse box…..wait, I grabbed all those Camry fuses. AAAaannnd I have exactly every fuse I need except one for the radio. It fires to life, and continues to run. Hmm, nothing majorly wrong with it, seems decent. Fuck yes. I have a car.
A few days later I managed to get some insurance, and a fake roadworthy certificate (for $50!!!!) and I was on the road. Look out Employers I’m mobile! I had suddenly gained a lot more hope. I had overcome a hurdle I never thought I would, and it was from the help of a ton of locals. This is well. I felt good, I felt awesome. I might still be able to succeed, no longer having to walk in the blistering hot sun for hours trying to get basic tasks like grocery shopping or job applications done. So great. But the darkness was creeping pretty hard.
I was never home. I had a phone, but the data was super expensive and the phone nearly useless to try and use for communication. When I was home, I wasn’t on when Shannon was, and vice versus. Angry, at a lack of work, lonely, an on a separate high of a new car, I hadn’t talked to Shannon in weeks. Things were bad, and when we did talk, communication was poor, broken even. I now felt lonelier, and angrier at the job market. I wanted some consistency, some financial security. At this point I was sliding down pretty fast inside. Outside I was typical goofy, odd Quinn barking off strange car facts.
Noel and Juliette didn’t seem to get sick of the car facts. Before leaving for Aus, Noel started emailing me from a forum I had posted my blog posts on. We got to chatting about his race car and the Australian racing scene. When I arrived, Noel scooped me up, and started hauling me away on weekends out to street sprint events and lapping sessions. I was used to lapping sessions, but street sprints were new. Sections of the city closed down to run time attack style laps around. Separated into performance classes, the fastest in each class would win. This was fascinating and new. Noel was also the one who introduced me to the local hill climb events that Robbie and I made a video about one day. Noel’s Commodore was quite a tidy little race car, and I never expected to ever tow a race car between towns using a Saab convertible, but here we were, pulling around a mid sized, v6 sedan race car with a Swedish FWD sports car. It was interesting.
I was quite distracted by now, from everything. I had such a whirl wind of events going on, with volenteering Thursdays at Archerfeld, going out to Queensland Race way for Friday drift sessions, weekends at the street sprints. Wednesdays riding flatland, and Monday and Tuesday nights working on my own cars, whether the Miata or the Celica. Days were still spent, sending emails and canvasing around employers. Fuck, I was busy, and sinking financially. I hadn’t talked with Shannon in a long time and co-coordinating was so difficult. I was raft with guilt, consumed. The loneliness was getting back. I wasn’t lonely from a lack of friends, but from a lack of intimacy. I was slowly going insane. No one was hiring me and my self value was plummeting. Not even the local fast food places were even calling me back. The darkness had wholly consumed me. My love life shattered. I was treating my new friends poorly. I never talked to anyone at home ever, but I was constantly busy and money pouring out of my pockets. I felt fucking horrible.
I kept getting invited over for dinner at peoples places. I loved my new friends, they were extremely supportive. Mark and Eden were having me over a lot, as was Noel and Juliette. Simon I was having trouble getting out to. This darkness inside me started creeping extremely hard and affecting my relationship with friends first. Shannon and I were now broken up, and destined to stay that way. I felt intimately alone for good now. Extremely unattractive, but I for some reason couldn’t open up to any of these people who had inserted themselves dramatically into my life with such friendly and open arms. Simon was the first to get the brunt of it as I just stopped hanging out with him. He had given me a car and I began having self worth issues with this idea that I did not deserve a free car. Employers didn’t want me, why would he give a car to such a financial wreck!? I couldn’t face him in person any more out of sheer embarrassment. Noel had taken me all over to see racing, and all he ever seemed to want was for me to get a car in one piece and track ready. He wanted a friend to compete with and I couldn’t afford it. I started pushing him away too. Mark had some sharp ears on him and he fell victim to my crazy lucid dreaming. I had mentioned that I liked a certain type of Corolla common in Australia. These Corolla Secas were everywhere and amazing little cars. He happened to have one, liked my proposed vision, and sudden I had a Corolla now too. Shit. I felt a ton of guilt instantly, but wasn’t able to man up and voice my internal feelings. So now I was avoiding everyone, while trying to save money.
I started dating. I needed something, someone I could open up to. This was literally fucking crazy. I couldn’t believe I was doing this, but at some point I crossed a line. I was loose and no longer in control. I literally was just standing back watching myself making decisions out of no where. I don’t know what the fuck was happening but I was dead. Literally in my head I had already committed suicide. The darkness had won, my self value hit absolutely zero. Shannon hated me, I was avoiding my friends, no employer wanted me, I was in debt for the first time in my 28 year life and I just felt like I was treating people like shit. I felt like I had absolutely nothing good to offer anyone. I was breaking my own rules, sacrificing my own morals and It was just a fucking bull shit mess. I hated it, I hated it, I hated it.
I started dating, looking to find some beauty in life. Deep down I was hoping to find someone to listen to my problems, to pet me and just make me feel like I wasn’t a ghost. I was already a ghost as I felt like I was going to die soon anyways. It was a selfish goal, dramatically selfish. However, I didn’t want to make it selfish. Like anything selfish I do, I try to make it good for others. I started going on dates with people who were clearly having a rough time in life. I was trying to find some beauty in making others happy. One girl was homeless, like actually. I met her on her bench. I took her out for a nice evening. Some really good conversation, but in the end, she wasn’t willing to open up enough to find a good connection. There were many others, I did my best to make them all feel beautiful. It gave me some sense of beauty. It was selfish, but I needed to feel like I was a good person still. I’m embarrassed to write this, but it’s the brutal and embarrassing truth. I find flaws beautiful and I hope I made my dates feel nice and attractive if not just for a few hours.
There was no sex. I wasn’t looking for sex from these people, just to steal some beautiful moments, and interact with new people in a different way. I was interested in sex though, so I started advertising on craigslist, separately. No one had touched me in months, not even to wash my hair before a hair cut. I needed some human contact. I felt alone. Most people don’t know that I’m bisexual, but I have been since my teens. No one ever seems to ask, so I don’t really volunteer the info. If there is one place you know you can get sex with in an hour for free, it’s the male for male section of craigslist. No matter where you are in the world. I met a few fellows, but I’m picky with who I sleep with. Most were scummy, and a few lied to me blatantly. It was depressing, and showed another gross side of Australia. I got a reply one evening, with a face picture. No junk selfies, just a face picture taken by someone else. I replied, and we decided to meet.
I didn’t know what I expected, I want to say my social situation, poor experience, panic, loneliness and scuzziness of all the other replies I had gotten were so bad. Looking back though I can’t. Micheal answered my ad. I showed up, and this well groomed, articulate and educated fellow greeted me. He was in good shape, and had a nice face. We got to talking, and after a few hours of talking some seriously nerdy things about fluid dynamics, and agricultural engineering we got along extremely well. I stayed the night. It was strange, I had attractions of sorts with other fellows before, but this was borderline puppy love. Micheal made me feel attractive in the right ways.
We hung out a few other times after this. At this point I had finally found work. Of all places, a car wash near my house needed a full time employee. I began working for Oasis. It was simple, take care of the self wash car wash, and wash a few cars in the full serve lane when they came through. After a week I was running a location by myself, not because I was a good employee, but because it was an easy job. I had washed cars professionally before for BMW so I was just relying on my fall back skill I hated. This is when I began to become physically ill.
I was allergic to the soaps. Back home I had never had a problem, but whatever they were using at Oasis caused me massive skin irritations. Here I was in the sun, soaked in this poisonous concoction, getting sun burnt day in, day out. AMA motors wasn’t done with me either. Just prior to landing the car washing gig, AMA motors had called me up and wanted my help again. They ask me to have a meeting with the owner, but at a different address than last time. Walking distance of my house.
Compton road, was right near my house. It is considered one of the sketchy places in Brisbane. A week before moving to Woodridge suburb of Brisbane, there was a Racial War that was fought out near Compton road between the some Natives and Kiwi’s. Compton was ghetto, actually though. I showed up to the Compton address, a small car lot once empty, now covered in many wrecked, but rolling examples of cars I remember from the AMA scrap lot. The boss now had new plans for me. We began discussing me running this new lot of cars. We’ll sell the cars for road use, he suggested, back handedly admitting he over paid for these written off junk cars, and wanting to maximize he returns. I had enough of this, I began barking at him. I was finally letting out some of these pent up feelings, even if it was for the wrong person. I must’ve yelled at him for an hour on how to run his company. His partially English speaking niece struggling to politely translate the little parts she understood to him. He laughed at me like I was an idiot. I’m not sure what’s dumber though, trying to teach a stubborn person about westernized economic expectations of consumers to someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you, or trying to sell cars sitting on blocks, with no registration papers as ‘road ready’. Seriously though, no one in AMA has actually taken the time to acquire the registration papers for the cars they had bought at auction. My efforts, and angry enthusiasm to run the rental car lot were unheard. It was dead in the water when buying some asphalt paint, and a lawn mower were too far out of the budget to spruce up the weeds coming through the cracks of the junk cars scattered around this lot. The next day he had me back in the office of the scrap yard.
I found him a client. I told him to fuck off one day and spent it canvasing around the neighboring industrial section around the scrap yard in hopes to find someone interested in the parts. You know your in a shitty job, no matter what it is, if you have to solicit your business door to door. But it worked. I got us a client finally. At this point the lot was ruined, half the Lebanese wrecking crew was gone, and two guys remained, pointlessly cutting up cars, moving around to look busy. A fellow came over from Panel house.
Panel house was this big company that was a few doors down from the yard, all they dealt with was used body panels. PERFECT. Their head rep came over to chat with me. We had a good conversation, he decided to make a complimentary order of a few small items to show he was serious. This is looking promising, a small chunk of success for this sinking titanic. He picked some pretty basic stuff, a taillight, fender, a mirror and a tonneau cover. “I’ll be back for 12 to pick them up, can you have them ready for then?”. No fucking problem!!!! I buzzed around the yard, got everything ready. This is going to be a success no matter how minor.
12 rolls around and they’ve sent a driver down with a truck. Now I must point out this Tonneau cover was about to become a problem, not for me, or the customer from Panel house. No, not for either of us. It was removed from a Holden Commodore Ute Maloo. The Maloo had been hit so hard in the front the transmission had breached the passenger compartment. Fucking brutal. The truck was trash, the rear salvagable for parts.
In rolls the boss from lunch and he wants to know what I’ve sol…..the tonneau cover is NOT for sale, he informs me.
You’re fucking kidding me, like actually though. He continues to have his translators, who haven’t been paid for their last pay cheque, that the cover is not for sale under any condition. I inform him that I’ve already received payment for it. The customer also informs me they’ve already sold the cover, and have a shipper waiting for it at the shop to take it to Melbourne. This is a done deal. The boss starts yelling at this point to me, saying the truck is now unsellable. I’m trying to maintain a somewhat professional interaction for our first customer ever. I the customer to take the parts and I’ll deal with the boss. He agrees, and scoots away with his stuff. The next 45 minutes is yelling between his niece and nephew, who I know are not translating my words specifically, but a much more cleaned up version of the bits of English they caught spewing forth from my mouth. He decides he’ll fire me, but he still owes me for work. He then tries to ask me for the money from the sale of the parts. I then told him to fuck off, took my money and got out of there. 2 months later AMA motors has folded completely. Run out of money. Go figure.
Back to the car wash. Here I am, heat stroked each day, completely bagged, making minimum wage, getting sick from the chemicals. Working day in, day out. My girlfriend has left me. I’ve resorted to craigslist sex, I can’t seem to make as much money as I’m spending, and I’m treating my new, and super nice friends like complete shit. I am not in a good way. But I’m not giving up, I keep applying for jobs. I going to get a good one, and make this fucking work, I am going to do it!!!!!!
Straw can only pile up so much. I learned this, I think this was honestly the first time the camel’s back broke. I had done an interview recently for an Autoparts store. Having previously worked in Auto parts sales, not just for lordco, but multiple places in Canada, I knew it was a good fit. Repco was located right near Archerfield drift, so I knew how to get there, and it was a job I knew I could walk right into. I did an interview with them, and it went really well!!! Cool, this is a REALLY good step in the right direction, or at least a direction I wanted to go. But, like I alluded to earlier in the story, I left for Australia within a month of deciding. I’m sure I missed something.
It was the fine print. I think I have dyslexia, I must, I cross numbers up in my head at work all the time, and write things backwards often. Mixed with an actual diagnosis of severe adult ADHD, fine print is challenging to my skill set and comprehension skills. Repco wanted to hire me, they even told me so, but upon further investigation, it was illegal for me to work for them. This was news to me……
So, it turns out most employers turn down foreigner resumes due to some backhanded layered laws that make it difficult to employ non-residents. So although i have a work visa, which I paid money to have, it turns out there is some fine print limiting the locations I can actually work at. In order to circumnavigate this issue, you simply have to work on a farm for a minimum of 3 months to open the possibility to upgrade your working Visa to one with less restrictions. FUCK ME. I’m now 4….5 months deep into this fucking bullshit trip, thousands of dollars, and emotionally ruined only to find out I can’t work at most places. Those who have been hiring me have been doing it illegally, or just don’t know the actual law themselves. No one fucking took the time to write me back and share this with me when I spent months in the sun handing out resumes, and send resumes by email, applying on job websites and cold calling business. Your fucking joking me. The camel was on edge. My hopes raised, and shattered again. That can’t be it though, can it….
Autobarn in Logan, near Woodridge, was the biggest car parts store in all of Australia. It was walking distance from the house. I had been applying there every week since I landed. Hell my first day I dropped a resume there. I finally got an interview setup with them. At the same time, a go kart track emails me with an interview too! All hope is not lost, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t lost most of it. At this point I’ve stopped talking to anyone at all. I’m completely alone. All my friends, and even my dating is gone. I’ve become a complete recluse and hate myself so much, I just needed some sort of sense of value. Sadly I placed them on these job interviews.
The first was with the go-kart track. The facilities were awesome, well sorted. The conversation part of the interview went smooth. No problems, they’re looking to hire a low level manager to run one of the 3 tracks. I’d have 3 employees of my own, and they feel I’m suited from all my volunteering at Cap D, Archerfield and running my own Ontario track events. Perfect, but I do want this Autobarn job.
I attend the Autobarn interview. At this point I’ve been in there so often that both managers know me by name. One of them even is building a Celica with an 18RG AND GUESS WHO FOUND THEM A GUY WITH 18RG PARTS OUT THE WAZOOOO. That’s right, Quinn. We meet, both managers, with me for like an hour and a half in the middle of the busy day. This must be a serious interview. Things go well. Really well. They are super impressed! They want a second interview. No problem.
Driving to interview #2. I’m a nervous wreck. I just want to do my best. Be the best I can be. I’ve wanted this job before moving to Australia. I’m nervous and head down the wrong road. That’s fine I’ll just scoot over a street on the nex……flashing lights. What the fuck. At the start of the road is a 60km/h sign. There are no other cars on the road. It’s 10 am on a Thursday morning, the slowest traffic of the day. I’m alone, so I’m crawling at 50km/h, just to give me a bit more time before the intersection to plan my route.
A bike cop pulls me over, asks me how fast I thought I was going. “10 under the limit officer, I was going 50, this road is marked as a 60.”
–“did you see the crossing guard down the road?”
I did. “yes, they were pulling cones out of the trunk of their car” I replied.
–“so you know this is a 40 zone during school hours then.”
I didn’t. “No, The school is on the next block over, I didn’t see a sign for that” There’s a sign near the where the crossing guard is parked with bunch of small fine print of holiday and non-holiday, week day only, school year only speed changed, during only certain hours of the day, if a crossing guard is present. It looks like a sign for when and when you can’t park, but I can’t argue that it doesn’t say 40km/h on it. Though the tree infront of it doesn’t help. He looks at my license, I then have to inform him that my Canadian license is legal for use in Australia, one of the few things I did read up on before entering the country. He mutters that he’ll write me a warning and wanders to his bike.
A few minutes later, he comes back and hands me a slip of paper, and immediately wanders to his bike. It’s warning, he said he’ll give me a warning. He used those exact words. I’m now late for my second interview. I must point out, that all though I’m an accomplished racing driver, I’ve never had a ticket, ever in my entire life for driving on the street. I drove from when I was 15 until I was 21 years of age, with no license, fake plates, and no insurance on my cars because I just couldn’t afford and of it. I was never pulled over, I never got a ticket, so of course it’s a warning. I check again. It’s a $220 ticket for doing 51km/h in a 60km/h zone!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the shear fuck is this. The cop just lied to me, to my face. Already exhausted from Australia, this couldn’t have come at a worse time in my Canadiano-Aussieano relations. You could hear the camel cracking.
Late, I make it for interview #2. Again, middle of the day, both the head managers for 45 minutes. They make an offer. $27/h for 32 hours a week. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. I’m in 100%. I tell them I’m down. They want me to Start Sunday, but I work at the car wash Sunday. Doesn’t matter, I’ll quit. I call in and he’s choked. It’s Friday, but I need this job, for multiple reasons, both financial and homemade. I don’t have much choice. He was a good boss too, if not for all the allergies to the primary chemicals.
Sunday hits. I still haven’t had my working interview for the go-kart track, but I’ve been made this offer from AutoBarn. I show up fresh and ready for my first shift. “Hey Quinn, we need to talk.” was how that morning started. A curious beginning. 30 seconds was all I got. That’s the length of time I was employed by Autobarn. “We decided not to hire you. ” Peter, the manager at the Autobarn in Logan, Queensland told me. I was taken back, what happened?! I couldn’t fathom it. I demanded an explanation immediately. “We decided you’re too much of an American Cowboy.” He informed me “we know your not American, but you appear that way to customers, and Australians, generally doing like loud, confident American types.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I was crushed. Absolutely floored, ruined. The camel’s back snapped, tearing his guts open. The weight of the hay continuing to push down despite the lack of structure below it it. Killing the Camel. I literally died that the point. Suicide was inevitable. Now it was just a matter of how.
I started making an exit strategy. I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself. I went to the Go-karting follow up interview for a the shear madness that I couldn’t even think straight. I didn’t care. They offered minimum wage and the ability to move up to the position they offered me in the first interview, in 9 months time. I was no further ahead than I was before.
Death circled around my brain for the next few days. I needed to die. I couldn’t live with this severe lack of self worth. I couldn’t believe, stepping out and looking in at myself, it was like a surrealist painting had captured my dearest emotions of what being the most worthless nothing in all of the universe. I could not exist anymore. How could I get my car back to Simon? I don’t want my nice obscure things ruined or thrown out. Who would I give them to? Should I leave with a message? Do I need to say any goodbyes? I had all these questions, and I made my decisions. I gathered my things and dropped them off at John’s house. He seemed the most convenient person who’d enjoy most of my things I enjoy. I then left Simon a message of how to gather the car from Robbies house. That was it. That was what I decided. I packed my backpack with snacks and one change of clothes, and took the train to the airport.
I walked in, and bought a ticket to Japan. If I’m going to die, I’m doing it how I want. I was on my way.