After Paul, Arno and Patrick moved to another squat and Jeroen moved out of the basement I was left alone in that building. Its doors had no locks and it was lying at the edge of a somewhat rough neighborhood. It didn’t bother me too much but I remember putting a baseball bat next to my bed just in case. I hardly had anything stealable anyway – some garbage furniture, books, a small tape recorder. I also had no money. After I graduated I simply didn’t go to university I didn’t see the point of it. For some reason I couldn’t apply for welfare, there was some rule preventing that. I lived from the leftovers of my study finance but when that run out I had to find work soon. I took some jobs, first in a factory where I had to turn screws all day. It was my first experience with the phenomenon called ‘a job’. I thought it was an insane place. There was this guy working there, named ‘Willem’. He was doing this job for 20 years and still living with his mom. Jesus fucking Christ, how on earth can anyone stand turning screws all day long for 20 years? His pathology was very childlike. Whenever the boss came around he would start to work double as fast. He had the most shitty job in the world and he was scared of losing it! If that doesn’t sum up the insanity of his mind then I don’t know what does. After a week or so I couldn’t stand it anymore and I just walked away without saying anything. My next job was at a big printer. I had to take boxes and put them into a bigger box. Same situation: old guy working next to me told me ‘nice work eh?’ And I felt too sorry for him to tell him how shitty I thought this bullshit was. How can anyone seriously devote whole his life to something a robot should do? Just for money? At the end of the day my hands hurt like hell but I saw this job through for a few weeks cause I needed the money. After that I had one more job at a catering service. My job was to clean the leftovers brought back from parties. On the second day I arrived. The boss told me to clean old ‘slavinken’ which stood in a racket. I was a vegetarian at that time. I took a big plate full of rotting meat, walked two meters and then puked all over the factory floor. I was fired immediately.
Winter was setting in again. I hadn’t listened to the guys that told me to make a wood-fueled heater in my room. I had survived previous winter without heating so why bother, I thought. There I was, alone in that building and it was freezing at minus 15 at one point. The room also had some serious humidity problem so my improvised bed, which had been sort of humid, now felt like half frozen. Even the dish wash soap in the kitchen was frozen. It was hard! I remember sitting in a chair thinking that if I would fall to sleep I would freeze to death. Actually, it was almost like hearing a voice. There was a certain certainty attached to the idea, I was sure that I would freeze to death if I wouldn’t move. I decided to go practice the right way of walking to get warm. I walked about 15 kilometers and started to hallucinate. I saw a moped driving towards me with no one on it, amongst other things. I often went to the forest at nighttime since in the dark there’s much more potential to open up the senses.
I survived that winter but in retrospect it was a bit risky. However, I think I enjoyed the adventure spirit in that risk. When one never puts oneself into extreme conditions life sort of loses its edge. Even now I pretty much enjoy living without heating: people don’t realize that heatings actually take away power and coldness keeps you sharp and on the edge. Another upside is that heatings, in my opinion, weaken ones immune system. I try to use as little heating as possible, but of course with a baby in the house you have to be more careful.