Max Johns - Marketing Consultant, Blenheim

Monday, October 25, 2004

A meander through the past few months
Or: Why I'm wasting my rent money

As anyone who has tried to keep track of me in the past year - Hi, Mum - can tell you, I'm having trouble staying still. It was never meant to happen like this, but for the next few months I'm a resident of Blenheim. I'm a marketing consultant at Mitre 10 over the summer. They've got this young guy in management there who has access to a sympathetic ear of the boss's - something to do with one being the other's father - and he's got plans to shake things up a bit. So he needed someone with a bit of marketing knowledge to help him out, and convinced the boss to let him hire a consultant. He cast out a very small net and duly hauled me in. No interview, no competition. Something to do with us being drinking buddies during our varsity days in Dunedin. So that's why I'm here. Not that I've moved here or anything. I'm just spending a few months away from home.

I once bussed from Dunedin to Picton. Once. In 2000. My flatmate threw a party the night before and we barely had time to hug the keg goodbye before our 4:30am boarding. We were students. We were idiots. "Fuck," I later thought out loud to my bottle of Otago Liqueur firewater, "I'll never drink for seven hours straight before a twleve hour bus trip all the way up South Island again." I sobered up in Kaikoura. It wasn't worth it. In fact, it hurt. Firewater's great. It smells like cinnamon and kicks like a donkey.

But Fate is a bastard with a mean sense of humour, and Fate overheard my conversation with that firewater. That's why, more than four years later, it happened again. And I don't mean some sort of combination of alcohol and travel that bore a passing resemblance to the pain of 2000. I mean it repeated itself entirely - right down to the 'seven hours' detail. This time I boarded at 12:45am, though. Those readers able to do sums will already have worked out that for some now unknowable reason I didn't spend Tuesday afternoon packing for my four months away, but instead decided on having a few tequilas. I even went to the effort of starting at 5 o'clock. Because, y'know, the sun makes it more Mexican. I'm still the idiot I always was, but now I'm not a marketing student. I'm a marketing consultant.

I was kind of a marketing consultant in my last job. That's the six-month stint I did at the flour mill in Ashburton, starting after Easter when I quit being a door-to-door salesman. It was a short-term contract so I didn't bother moving all my stuff out of Dunedin. Just spending a few months away from home, right? I kept my flat down there and went back for weekends, except when I was in Auckland or Hamilton. I didn't want to spend the weeks living in Ashburton, which I think is entirely understandable, so I got a room in a mate's flat in Christchurch. The one-hour-each-way commute kind of sucked, but it beat living in Ashburton. The job also kind of sucked, but it paid well. I have a decent relationship with the boss up in head office, you see. Something to do with him being my father.

In Dunedin, flat leases run from January 1 to December 31. If you don't want to sign a full-year lease, you're screwed for a roof. The Christchurch flat I took - students, scummy kitchen, bird nesting in the bathroom's exterior fan, not much else going on - conforms to the local norm there of being leased through till February. No problems, the boys told me, we're going to sublet for the summer. I'm still waiting on that one, paying two rents and not living in either place. I told you I'm an idiot. Currently I reside on a single mattress on the floor of my drinking buddy's (and therefore boss's) living room floor. I need a place here, so I'm going to get one. You see what's going to happen.

Now when I started writing this, I didn't think it was going to have a point, and you probably thought the same when you started reading it. But it does, and it is this: If you or anyone you know wants a place in Christchurch for the summer - one to four rooms available - email me. If you help me out I might even shout you a firewater.