“What did you want to be when you grew up?”
I don’t like that question. Before jamming the questioner’s comment box with elaborate musings I retreated – like the good dog I wish I were – to my own corner.
If I listed every single thing that took my fancy between the age of three and twenty I’d exceed my usual word count. Here is a taster: I never wanted to be a hairdresser. Mainly because I am not male. But, living with my grandparents and their younger sons drifting in and out, I’d pleat one of my uncles’ hair on his return home from what must have been a job to knacker anyone into submission. Yes, little red ribbons. Even my grandfather didn’t bat an eyelid at his youngest son’s beauty.
Then I became a teacher. This was a few years on – after I was BLESSED with siblings. I loved teaching them all sorts of things, long before they were ready. Like reading, writing and arithmetic. My mother thought me a natural. In hindsight I think I saved her a fortune in after school tuition.
Never waste time on siblings. Stay an only. Only joking. And in very bad taste.
Then there was a gap when I enjoyed life unencumbered by thought of the future. Until one day I came home with tears in my eyes. My father, uncharacteristically moved by my plight, asked me what was the matter. Some guys had whistled at me as I was passing. I was thirteen. Thirteen. My father laughed. And told me I’d better get used to it. You can’t beat my parents when it comes to compassion. My mother at the same time telling me (she was only concerned about my spine): “Chest out, back straight.” Thus I vowed to become a nun.
At eighteen I was spoilt for choice. Rather than being a ravishing nun tending to the cloister’s kitchen garden in silence I changed sides. Like Churchill crossing the corridor. Priest. Vicar. Whatever. Study theology. Be paid to talk and be listened to, even gawped at. Handicap being that whilst I adore Jesus, the man, I am not the corporate type. Next logical step: Politician. Is there more beauty to be found than in the starry, wide and dark brown eyed youngster who thinks she can change the world for the better and evade being corrupted? There isn’t.
And then … I had to earn money. Quickly. And I did. Lots of it. Indiscriminately.
And never shall you make more impact on the ground below than falling from a great height.
God damn it, it had to happen. Not that I am against quoting people per se. I quote myself all the time. At least it’s the original. However, will make an exception today (Ramana, do rejoice if you have the energy): “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” I like Carl Jung. A lot. Though tend to think him over polite. I’d say “What irritates us about others is a bloody good indicator … ” Of what? Not sure. Depends. The theory being that that which irritates us in others is what we recognize in ourselves. Maybe. I myself veer more to notion that that what irritates me irritates me precisely because I don’t recognize myself.
Main thing is: I am not easily irritated. Which is why I keep three pieces of beautiful, and beautifully polished, driftwood. To bite on – outside childbirth, toothache, cracked ribs – in ill judged attempt to stifle screams. Yes, come to think of it: Those three beauties were a well judged investment. Like all good investments: Cheap on the outset. Yielding high. If any of you would like to employ me as a fund manager hedging your bets please do. You can’t lose what you haven’t got.
Blogging, or rather commenting on blogs, has taught me limitations. It’s not a lesson I welcome. But there it is. The result being that when I’d like to spit – in answer to some totally inane opinions – I will not (any longer) do so. Or rather I will, but only in the privacy of my own earshot. Herculean efforts on my part are being made every day to keep the lid on the pan and not let the pressure cooker and its contents be splattered round comment boxes. The only person who has to clear up the mess is myself. Which I don’t mind. I am not exactly lazy and perfectly happy to live with any fallout. Even the toilet has once more given up the will to flush.
But then it’s not about ME, is it? It’s about others. And who am I to tell people that parenthood sure does bring out the little Hitlers in so many, too many? Moi? Not on your nelly. I’d like to. In fact, I am dying to do so. Not least to rescue those poor little blighters subjected to giants in their lives at knee cap height. Do still my beating heart. And I will take a deep breath and hold it. After all, one needs to carefully judge how many friends and foes one can handle. Many a Pyrrhic victory has been won only to find oneself in exile nevertheless. Better men than me have been left to rot because they didn’t know when to quit.
Anyway, a woman’s distractions are many and mine, thank God, this minute being the kitchen. No, not to scrape leftovers off the walls but start a fresh delight.
Hugs and kisses,
I won’t go all Swedish on you so will spare you description of the open sandwich. OH MY GOD. The open sandwich. Fond memories.
Let’s regroup: I do live in England. And in England sandwiches come enclosed. I have promised myself not to succumb to a very cheap observation, namely, that the longest running piece of theatre in London was not “The Mousetrap” but “No Sex please, we are British”. My then boyfriend – who later became FOS father-of-son and thus defied the latter title despite his parents best efforts to keep us in separate rooms when we were already in our Twenties and engaged – took me to both plays well before he proposed to me. It’s forward thinking. Particularly for an Englishman. If your soon to be and foreign bride does laugh at both those plays there might be a chance that she’ll make great cucumber sandwiches in many years to come.
And I do. Make great cucumber sandwiches. In the privacy of my own company – see above – I will eat them OPEN but when called upon by the likes of Glyndebourne I will close my case and shut it too.
Talking of cucumbers, and it is my one and most disgusting failing as the devoted parent I am: The only time I tried (emphasis on try) to force food on Apple of my Eye was cucumber. I do not know what came over me. Other than that I love cucumber. And since I love my son too the two seemed like a match made in sandwich heaven. Not so. Never ever have I regretted a deed of mine more than trying (emphasis on ‘trying’) to make someone do something they don’t want to do. My son is his mother’s child. So what possessed me I do not know. Anyway. He didn’t eat it. And some 17 years later cucumber still is a no no in this house. I only eat it when he is out and not to be expected back any time soon (he can sniff the whiff of cucumber half an hour later). If I were on crack it couldn’t be worse.
My blog’s purpose is not to depress anyone. If you want someone to depress you please do look no further than to those who want to abolish apostrophes.
However, I am running out of time. I cannot believe that I have already lived as long as I have lived. I am a spring chicken compared to some. Still. I now measure everything not in cats’ years but in my son’s years. One minute, like yesterday, he was conceived, the next he was born, now he is 21 and a few months. I am incredulous. If time keeps pushing on like this I’ll be dead soon. So will he. I don’t like it. And don’t try and say anything nice like ‘pull up your socks”. I don’t wear socks. Though would love braces. But – being all skirts and dresses – braces are of no use either.
Cuties, I haven’t read the article. Neither will I. Instead of which have formed informed opinion on strength of subtitle alone.
Subject: “The most shameful thing that has happened to me in my life.” Really? Take it from me: The most shameful thing has happened in your life you’ll take to your grave.
Want to see me swoon? Watch me watch others dance.
I love dance. But don’t think I am good at it when in an embrace. Can’t remember now who said it to me: “Will you PLEASE stop trying to lead.” Think about that sentence. First of all I wasn’t trying. Anything. Most certainly not trying to lead. Why would anyone (other than a man when dancing) wish to lead? I didn’t. Can’t help it. And it doesn’t work. No doubt there is a metaphor in there somewhere. One which, this minute, I don’t have the will to excavate.
It’s only Monday morning and maybe I shouldn’t allow my feelings to be extravagant: However, it must be quite wonderful to find one who leads naturally. Against all odds. Reference: Shoulder.
Don’t jump to conclusions. Next thing I know I’ll break my ankle.
As daughter of friend gets married today, oldest friend phones me last night: Golden boy, his youngest brother (aged 51), has been felled by that which we all, most certainly I do, fear most. That which lodges itself in a most inopportune place (the brain). Just like that. One minute here, gone the next.
Enter news. As just read. The world, apparently, holds its breath: Nelson Mandela is on the way out. What do you expect? The guy is over ninety. Oh, yes, and over here. Prince Philip too … is over ninety. Ever the optimist: Do I double my expectancy beyond the reasonable? No, I don’t.
Give me a brake. And a clutch. And an accelerator.