I've sat on this blog post for roughly a month now. Largely because I wasn't entirely happy with it - not necessarily about the subject material (I mean, how the fuck can I be happy writing about it), but mainly because I wasn't entirely certain of how to get my point across. Well, it's been pretty much a month since… that day… so, it might as well see the light of day.
When I first started writing this blog post I was still too disappointed in events to continue writing (I felt like that annoying history teacher at school that never lost their shit, but was just disappointed that somebody had drawn a cock on somebody else's homework.). It was also one of the hardest things I've had to do in a while. I mean, let's be honest, my life revolves around cleaning, making beds, more cleaning, initiating small talk with people that I have very little in common with, and dealing with idiots. Not the most taxing issues people have to deal with in this world.
|Always have an escape plan...|
It is also a blog post unlike another that I've written – usually I'm describing life in the mountains, how I exist, and how drunk the last 6 months has been. This time it's all about how it feels to be living on the continent, away from the bubble of the UK and looking at it all from the outside. Let me assure you – it's not really a nice thing to be witnessing from afar.
One shitty Thursday, roughly a month ago, the United Kingdom decided, as a people, to become an inward looking, nostalgia driven, uninformed populous that is shrinking away from the rest of the world. And, as a member of the 1.2 million British people that live in the EU, I am in the position that allows me a different viewpoint on the whole damn mess – okay, so it's not unique, but you get the idea.
I am a fully fledged member of 'Generation Y'. We are, as a group, an outward looking and mobile generation. We have grown up with an increasing volatile and fractured world, but that has meant that we are also a generation has been afforded the ability to live and work pretty much anywhere in the world. From those of us who have run away to the mountains, to those finding themselves through a 'Gap Yah' on a little known island in the middle of fucking nowhere (and everybody left between). It's wonderfully liberal and helps us to connect with people from all walks of life.
On a personal level, I have always been proud to say that I am from the UK. Until now. Now, there is an underlying sense of shame whenever anybody asks where I'm from. I fear that I am not alone in this feeling.
Waking up to the news that my homeland had voted to leave the EU was horrible. Yes, it was democratic and I'd had my vote, but it was still horrible. Many of my friends out here have spoken of how it made them feel – one has a very eloquent comparison to leaving a girlfriend under the promise of something better, but then finding out the replacement probably didn't exist. He put it a lot better than that and I really can't do it justice, but I know what he means. The day after felt like I'd been fired from my job and dumped on the same day – and not knowing what the fuck I'd done wrong to deserve it.
How are you supposed to recover from that? I mean, shutting myself away in a darkened room with Ryan Adams playing really isn't going to cut it this time.
|Somebody go and put the vinyl on...|
The result of the referendum has now become something that defines people – not only back in the UK, but on the continent as well. I was fortunate enough (in my opinion) to have a family who all voted to remain within the EU. This is not the case for all of the Brits that live in my particular part of the Alps. I know of people who haven't spoken to family members since [the fucking referendum] because of the way they voted.
It's also ended up defining us in other ways as well.
Any time somebody asks where you're from, and you answer with “the UK”, you are now greeted with a look. I still haven't worked it out – it's a mixture of sadness, pity and loathing. Therefore, straight off the bat, you have follow it up with the statement “but I voted to remain in the EU”. But the damage has been done. The shame is there. It feels like the moment a guest catches you eating your breakfast at work – you know you haven't done anything wrong, but you also know that they're judging you. I mean, the people that judge you for eating your breakfast are pricks, but the French, the Germans, the Italians, etc. they're not. They've got good reason to give us that look. As a nation we've further heightened the fragility of the continent that we are part of. We've helped give further raise to the 'exiters' in these countries, we've helped weaken the overall economic performance of the region (which has direct impacts on other countries… sorry Italy), and we've fucked up people's compassion and tolerance.
The other major way that this shit-storm has defined us is the uncertainty. It's like predicting next winter's snowfall – nobody knows what the fuck is going to happen. Everybody tries to remain positive and pretend that they know for certain, but nobody really does.
And, for all those that say, “Oh, it'll be fine. It'll work itself out, these things always do” - do they? Excellent, let's go and ask the last country that left the EU… no, wait, you can't BECAUSE IT HASN'T FUCKING HAPPENED BEFORE! Twat.
But, seriously, speaking from where I'm currently situated, there is an entire region, an entire industry on tenterhooks waiting to see how this all pans out. And I'm not even talking about the shit that everybody thinks about – freedom of movement, falling rate of the pound, etc. No, I'm talking about the other aspects that are slipping under the radar. For example, what the fuck happens when the EHIC system gets revoked? How does a company pay for insurance for all of their staff? Or what if they don't? What if they leave it up to the employee to buy health insurance? Because, let's be honest, buying health insurance for what is classed as an extreme sport, for a 5 month period, is going to be cheap as chips!
I know this scenario isn't just playing out for the ski industry, but that's the aspect that has a direct impact on my life at the moment. Seasonal work, throughout the EU, is now in a state of limbo until some random day in the future when some fuckwits in parliament decide it's time to trigger Article 50.
That's how it feels though – to live in the EU whilst your homeland is deciding that it doesn't want to be involved any longer. The overriding feeling is one of shame and disappointment, and is one that won't be going away for a very long time.
Right, I'm off to listen to some Ryan Adams and see if that helps. I doubt it.
Until next time.