“Hello stranger,” said the Port Chalmers librarian. “Thought you’d broken up with us.” I would never break up with the Port Chambers library. I’d just been away for a while, still felt exactly the same, neither time nor distance could quell my admiration. Plus, it hadn’t been 90 days. We were still in the honeymoon period.

“Everyone can keep their sh*t together for 90 days,” said the Mighty Moriori’s Mate. After that, so his theory goes, the wheels fall off and you are revealed in all your resplendent, naked Emperor lunacy; any hidden weirdness wriggling to the surface like worms on concrete after rain, looking for a New England and finding only death under the noontime sun (jeepers, that escalated). “Oh pu-leese,” I said. But, sure enough, 90 days later, things went completely mental. Situation FUBAR, the personification of a room reveal on one of those home renovation shows, where the room has a rose tattoo on its breast and four children to five different fathers and a large collection of transsexual donkey porn. More on this later.

Hop on the Bus, Gus

First, let’s consider the 90-day-trial period, shall we? Demanded by our current economic climate, entered into workplace law despite considerable push back from unions, it’s an opportunity to weed out mouth-breathers and people who eat fish sandwiches at their desks. A chance to construct a dismissal for serious misconduct like humble bragging weekend sporting achievements or keeping rocks painted to look like cactuses. The truth is, everyone comes into a job making promises they can’t keep, it’s a fundamental human right to fib about your familiarity with Excel, your fantastic time-management and excellent written and verbal skills. We’re all lying, whether its calling in sick using that trusty guarantor of no-questions-asked: “diarrhoea,’ or faking enthusiasm for Becky’s engagement ring – some of us are just more disappointing as a concept.

Unfortunately, this 90-day “getting rid of Bob” business is no silver bullet – by this time said unwanted employee has put money in the kitty for flash coffee and organic milk and been invited to someone’s wedding. Giving them the heave now will result in hurt and humiliation, grievances and grudges, not to mention a rather limp turn out for the inter-departmental three-legged race.

Make a New Plan, Stan

So it is with relationships, where everyone puts their best foot forward to begin with. I usually don’t fart for at least the first year, and put my face on the minute I wake up, in the dark, which results in wonky eyebrows. This kind of behaviour is mostly hormone-related and eventually wears off to the point where you’re comfortable walking around the house in a ratty dressing gown, hair gone Sideshow Bob, legs hairier than the dog’s. You say apathy, I say empathy.

Anyway, after 90 days there’s been a certain amount of cross contamination. Staying at their house a couple of nights a week, there’s enough of your DNA spread around to make a whole new girl; toothbrushes are intertwined, socks stolen. Until one morning you wake up and realise this person is a full-blown nutter. Cue shower scene music from Psycho. Emotionally, you’ve committed. Stuck. Your Marmite’s in their cupboard, you’ve loaned them your Kerouac, introduced them to your friends – it’s going to take a little bit of backing using your mirrors, a little bit of jiggling, you can’t just go around hiring and firing willy-nilly, although I do know a guy nicknamed “three-day Mike” for this very reason.

 Give back the Key, Lee

If only you’d employed a series of boyfriend suitability tests, conducted along similar lines to the 90-day workplace trial, instead involving parental dinners and camping in the mountains (did you know you have to poo on a rock, wait till it freezes and collect it in a plastic bag to take home? Deal-breaker right there) all the while treating the other in good faith, offering bonuses (not necessarily in the form of cash which can be misconstrued), incentives, and agreeing a notice of termination might be given at any time with no hard feelings.

Or you could avoid this whole messy business by breaking up with them and starting again. There’s a lot to be said for a dozen daffodils held behind the back of a man dressed in black. For a red dress and nothing taken for granted. Who knew you liked pina coladas?  

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AuthorLisa Scott