Being fourteen seems so long ago. However, somehow you remember everything like it was yesterday. I remember everything from five, ten, fifteen and even thirty-two years ago. However, God help me if could remember what I had for dinner two nights ago, or where my keys are now, without actually having to think about it.
I started my very first adventure of independence while I was still at school. Going through hell with the reoccurring bullies. Being Fourteen I was about to start at my first ever job. I was very nervous and sweaty from the scorching Port Augusta hot season, sitting down patiently waiting to be interviewed. A man collected me and led me to a table and just starting asking these random questions. I had no idea what was going on, 90% of the time my answers were “yeah” or “nah,” and briefly a laugh when he did, just to make it seem I was following him. Suddenly, he stood up really quickly which I then did the same. He shook my hand and said, “Your hired, you can start in two weeks”.
My Dad drove me to the interview that day, we were communicating a lot more often at this time. I still remember the feelings I had this day when I sat in his blue commodore and told him I got the job. He looked at me and sounded very excited as he said, “see I told you’ll be fine, I’m proud of you.” Double whammy for me, just landed my first job, and the first time Dad said he was proud of me. When I got home Mum was the same, you could actually see the pride on both my parents faces that day. I really felt like a King.
You know the feeling of waiting for something you really want, however it feels so long before anything starts or happens? Within the two weeks of waiting I didn’t only drive myself crazy. Two weeks passed and I was in the change room, changing into the staff uniform. I stepped out of the staff room feeling so proud of myself. Proud for the fact I’m about to be trained up to be a burger boy. That’s right, my first job was a burger boy at Hungry Jacks (HJs) Port Augusta. I then stepped out to the kitchen when all of a sudden ‘BANG!!” feeling gone. Instantly I got so nervous and intimidated and lost the feeling of power with in me. There was so many people working, raising voices and rushing to complete their tasks at hand. Everyone was taller than me and there were people from school you just wouldn’t dare talk to.
Now you have to picture it: Back then HJs was the only Burger Joint in Port Augusta and it was constantly busy and loud. We didn’t have screens, which show the orders; we had receipts and microphones to scream at the burger boys what’s on order. But when you heard “repeat whopper” you know that’s the polite way of saying, “hurry the hell up, I’m getting yelled at out here”. Half way through the shift the Boss who hired me told me to look outside in front counter. Through a burger shute, there was a girl standing there. He pointed and told me, “That’s your cousin”. I thought this guy was on something. I just looked at him with a concerned, confused and weird face. I then went back to continue with what I was doing. I then was told that he was my Uncle, which they both were related through marriage. Great this guy claims to be my uncle, which means all his kids that I’m working with here were my cousins in –law? It kind of started to make sense: who would hire someone who answers “yeah” and “nah”. Maybe being an uncle in-law is the only reason I got the job. To be honest I didnt care.
I felt so rich and amazing with first paycheck for a whole of $25. Within half an hour of receiving the money, my friend Aaron and I went and got $20 worth of weed. I had to lie and tell mum that I spent it all on food, which the $5 was used for anyway. In my head all I could think of is ‘wow I can now pay for weed, and not wait for just random nights or days’.
I really thought that HJs was going to be my safe haven away from the assholes from school. However one particular shift manager, Harry was such a bastard to me. Yelling and insulting me, at what seemed like any chance he got. He didn’t talk to any other people this way. After about six months of working there, something happened for the first time in my life, I actually lost it. Harry was being his usual arrogant, rude and insulting self towards me. “Hurry the fuck up retard, my dead granny can serve fries faster than you”. For some reason I just started chucking things on the floor from the benches. I started to scream and yell at him. Still to this day I don’t recall what I actually said to him. I stormed off outside, lit up a smoke and was trying to figure out what just happened. Trying to understand the feeling that’s just come over me. My head felt like it was on fire, my breathing was heavy, my body shaking and I was so angry. This day was the first day I felt actually knew what the world ‘rage’ means.
I was outside chain-smoking for about 15 minutes until the asshole came out the front. All I thought was he is about to get me good here. He walked over the other side of the car park to where I was. He didn’t yell at me, or insult me. Instead he spoke calmly and apologised. He didn’t realise it affected me so much. I was so relieved he didn’t yell at me, I then accepted his apology. After that we actually got along with each other quite well until he left. It’s truly powerful what feelings you obtain for being sorry and forgiveness allows people to be truly free of that worry.
Over the next three years, I worked with a lot of really good people. We didn’t care how weird, wonderful, short, tall or what colour we were. If we worked at HJs we became family. In Port Augusta you get to know a lot of people being a country town. Those three years was where I meet Best friends Danny ‘Fanny” and Angie. Angie was my my first real girlfriend; those times were truly some of the best days that I still hold closely. I got to work with some really cool schoolmates like Rochelle; it seemed like her whole family worked there as well. I still catch up with Rochelle her husband and four beautiful children. They are such a loving and caring and fun family to be around. Family friends Briohny and Rhiannon who could always make me laugh. Hungry Jacks did become the safe place I first hoped it to be. Between that time I also worked with Sherri my Best friend today, however I didn’t like her at first, there was something I couldn’t pin point.
After the first three years working at hungry jacks, my favourite Aunty and Uncle were buying a caravan park in Hamilton, Victoria. I offered to move with them and help them with their new dream.
That’s when Angie and I agreed to stay together long distance, which of course didn’t last. The thought of moving away and starting fresh sounded fantastic to me. Hamilton is a beautiful small town; the people were nice and friendly. Everyone I met thought I was cool because I had a licence at only 17, when they couldn’t get theirs until 18. I stayed in Hamilton for around twelve months. Hamilton wasn’t the same as home and although my time there had been a great experience, I started to miss my family and newly found friends I made. My Aunty and I talked about it and I decided it was best to move back to Port Augusta. I called the boss at HJs and asked for my job back, which he had no problem. So I packed my bags and headed back home to Port Augusta.
It was just Mum and Freddy living together when I came back. However I said yes to move in with the one person I thought I had no anger for anymore. My older sister Terrie.