Monday, 21 April 2014

This Time it's Personal ~ part 2

So take this morning...

By the way, I know this is almost certainly of no interest to anyone else. It's more for my benefit really, having come to this point, after, what is it? (51-18 = 33 years) of thinking I think it's time to get it all down, as much as possible, in one place.
Why put it somewhere where anyone can read it? Because I don't want to just ramble on self-indulgently. I want it to be readable. I am however under no illusions about how many people read this blog... If you do come across these entries - seriously - I can't recommend them.

So this morning - Easter Monday. I have two things I could do. I could go down the nursery - yesterday was mostly rained off and I got very little done. Lots of things need repotting. Alternatively, since I seem to be on a bit of a roll , I could do some writing, which I really want to do.
Guess which one I've gone for.

Nevertheless I'm giving myself a hard time, even as I write this. How can I describe it? Tearful is one thing. I have that feeling you get just before you burst into tears, although I doubt I'll cry. If anything goes at all wrong I'll feel the fury welling up. Silly things - the flap covering fly of my shorts caught on the knob of a drawer in the kitchen while I was trying to make breakfast. These shorts are the sort of canvas military style shorts and seem to be made of nothing but pleats and flaps and loops and they to catch on everything, especially when I'm in a hurry, and especially at the nursery. They really piss me off. What would happen, I think, if soldiers were forever hooking their shorts on obstacles while in the middle of a battle? They'd be outlawed immediately. But presumably they don't, so what is wrong with these shorts? Obviously there's something wrong with the design. Someone, no doubt better paid than I am, has gone to the trouble of designing these shorts without thinking about how they might work in real life, or, worse, he's considered only that they might be worn whilst posing about in the street. The idea that someone might actually try to do some actual manual work in them won't have occurred to him because all he does all day is sit at his desk and sip skinni lattes. I hate him.

But of course I don't really, because I know really that it is all my fault. It's me I hate. I bought the bloody shorts. If I'd worked harder, longer, I could have afforded better shorts. If I'd thought about it more I'd have got a more practical design. And if I'd got up earlier I wouldn't be rushing around and I wouldn't be so clumsy. If I was better organised none of this would happen. I blame him - this hypothetical 'designer' because the alternative is to blame myself - for everything. It's him or me and I can't bear for everything to be all my fault.

I keep hitting the wrong keys here. Why do they make keyboards with such tiny keys so close together? Do the designers imagine that all people have tiny mincing fingers? Again - it hasn't occurred to them that some people - men for example, who do manual labour have broad finger tips. I especially hate the caps lock key which I often hit when I go for the A and becaUSE i CAN'T TOUCH TYPE THERE'S OFTEN A WHOLE LINE IN CAPITALS BEFORE i NOTICE. Wouldn't it be good if you could highlight the offending line, and click 'de-capitalise' instead of having to delete and rewrite. It would be one small concession to us broad (not 'fat'!) fingered folk.
But I'm rushing this - trying to get it over with because I really haven't made a decision. I still think, if I get this done quickly enough I can still go down the nursery and do some potting-on. I'm rushing it and making mistakes. Can't other people get things done quickly and efficiently? More speed, less haste? It's my fault again. It always is - somehow.

A sensible person would look at this and say, well why not do both? Set aside some time this morning for writing and go down the nursery this afternoon (it's 12:08 as i write this) for a few hours. I could stop now and finish it later. Why can't I think like that?
I was thinking about this yesterday. The first thing is that it just feels like a muddle. I can see the tasks - nursery, writing, plus a little job I have promised Emma I'll do sticking a bathroom tile back, washing up and breakfast. Washing up I always do. I don't mind it. I find it very 'grounding' as the hippies say, in the morning. Breakfast - I need a proper cooked breakfast or I get hungry mid morning - not fried (usually) but boiled or scrambled eggs do the job. Porridge goes nowhere. I had chilli beans and scambled eggs on toast this morning. I'd recommend it but it's not exactly instant. I fired up the old PC (my new laptop has let me down - you can imagine my response to that!) to check my emails and decided (is that the word? I did it anyway) to update my free AVG. That was reasonably straightforward, thankfully. But I still haven't decided which to do - the nursery or the writing. I woke up at about eight as usual. I began thinking it would be good to go to the nursery as the weather is fine today, and how much I enjoyed the writing yesterday. I could do either. I could do both. I can't decide.

I don't know how normal this is but thinking back to being a kid I don't really think I actively, consciously decided anything. I just don't remember having the mental wherewithal to do that. It wouldn't have occurred to me to try. Mum said 'I wish you'd be more responsible but I honestly had no idea what that meant in practice. I knew, broadly, what 'responsible' meant, but in terms of how my day-to-day life worked - I wouldn't have known where to start. Talking to children now - I have two step kids - both now teenagers and much better company, but thinking back, trying to talk to little children, I honestly have no idea how much they really understand of what we tell them - especially the more abstract notions like 'careful', 'tidy', 'sensible', 'considerate', 'organised' or 'responsible'. I was actually a very well behaved child - never rowdy or aggressive or rude (or not deliberately) but I really had no idea how to modify my behaviour if someone told me I should, and they did. Some kids are said to be very conscientious from an early age - very clear about how their life will go and about how to get things done. They seem to have a very adult way of working things out but I wonder... Maybe they're just well-trained, or maybe their training just isn't at odds with what they want to do. I think that's the big problem. My training - what my parents thought I should do and tried over and over to get me to do was completely at odds with how I wanted to be.
And today, I want to write and I should go down the nursery (and fix the bathroom tile) and I honestly don't know what to do. I try to think it through rationally and it's a blank. I can't think how long they will take, or anything else about organising it. It's just a pale grey blur in my line of vision, so I do what's in front of me and feel guilty about not doing the other thing, still thinking I might do it if I get this finished in time, but then time moves on and it's getting to be too late. Not yet it's not, but I want to finish this now so it might be too late quite soon, and my adrenaline levels will climb and I'll be more and more tearful/furious and God help us if something goes wrong.

Two voices then - what I said yesterday about my child, wanting to just do what it wants to do (this) and my parents, trying to get me to do what has to be done. Just that phrase - 'doing what has to be done' is enough to bring up all the drudgery, the bustling about, the tutting and the rolled eyes, the no-nonsense business-like male and the frantic control-freak female, the dreary money-worried, over-worked, self-sacrificing parent that I never wanted to be and which I still will have nothing to do with. I hear Emma enter the kitchen and sigh and it all comes back to me. I've not done what I should, or not soon enough. My chest tightens and I feel the tears between my eyes. My child is not prepared to even take one step toward that way of being for fear of getting sucked in, because once you start thinking that way, there is always more to think about, and never enough time or money and you can never get out. You might think (for instance) that getting a car will solve a problem about finding work but then the car will become a problem and you'll have to work longer hours to afford it. Better to keep life small and uncomplicated - spontaneous, serendipitous, self-contained, free.

I've still not really worked out how to mediate between them - the parents and the child. I'm aware that there is this 'adult' here - looking on, as they battle it out. In my good times, as I described before, I am more able to think ahead, but also more confident to let things happen. I love those times but they are always passing.

to be continued...

1 comment:

paulgrand said...

Funny and tragic by turns, one doesn't know wether to laugh or cry, but I do agree about those dratted army envelope pockets catching things, they should be banned for civilian use! :-D