Archives for posts with tag: belligerent

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Last night, Saturday the 19th of April, I was unable to post on WordPress.

I have not really wanted to go into why I write this stuff or the ‘process of writing’, mostly because I don’t really have anything intelligent to say about it and I am not really sure.

Anyway, I woke this morning and was really disappointed.
I honestly felt like I had lost something.
Like my watch was gone or my wallet was not around or something.
I had not written some words on WordPress and it meant I could not go back to sleep.

I want to say there was a technical reason for not posting.
I want to say that the broad band dropped out or WordPress was playing up or my computer crashed but unfortunately none of these things happened.

Yesterday I went to visit friends and I started drinking before the boys went to bed.
We went to a bar with the children.

I don’t often visit pubs any more.
There was a time when I would go to a pub at least three times a week, usually five or more times.
I loved pubs.
I liked pubs for the warm, closed in feeling of good conversation and a bit of a cheeky laugh.
I liked the philosophy and the fencing with ideas.
I loved meeting complete strangers and somehow having a complete and unforgettable adventure with them.
I had favourite pubs in the same way people collect favourite hats or shoes.
I liked being in London and knowing twenty pubs I liked to drink in across town.
I liked finding new pubs and trying them on like a jacket.

I loved Sunday afternoons with all the papers and no reason to leave.
I liked Friday nights when the theatre staff all kicked out and I knew everyone in the pub.
I liked a quick pint in a loved pub.
I liked a pilgrimage to a particular place to meet particular friends and sit in particular seats to watch the world go by.

I just loved pubs.

The etiquette of buying a round and the subtle changes depending on which group I was with.
The flow of people through an evening.
The constant search for the perfect pint.

I felt bigger in a pub.
More confident.
I trained really hard to hold my own until I could last until closing time and still walk home.
I knew my limits (mostly) and I loved exploring them.

I felt it last night.
The Proles got a packet of crisps and a drink each in the snug and I sat at the end of the bar and surveyed the drinkers.
I had a pint and I could feel myself growing.
Beer.
Brilliant.
I drank a pint quickly, made sure the Proles were ok and went back for another.
I started to worry lees and less about them.
It was like being in the 1970s.

I was feeling more confident, I had missed all this.
The light from the beer taps, the feel of the beermat.
The smell.
I started to feel less like a parent and more like a man.
I could feel the warmth running through my system.
I remembered fighting and romance and working hard.
I thought about how long it had been since I had done this.
I suddenly became aware of my hand holding the beer glass and as I looked at it it seemed to come into focus and it surprised me because it looked so….right.

It got to half past nine at night.

That was a surprise.

I had had a few drinks.

I went to check on the Proles who were flopped on the sofa.
Prole2 was trying to build a nest in the coats and jumpers.
They should not be in a bar.
They should be in bed.

I was being selfish.

I could feel it all pouring back out of me.
I was slightly out of focus, I was slightly unsteady.
I could not have a conversation with my own children without it sounding weird.
I felt loose and baggy and I had to really concentrate to focus on what they were saying.

I was small.
Rubbish, useless and out of control.

And I needed a wee.

I don’t drink to enjoy myself any more, I drink to get drunk, it is the most selfish thing I do these days.
It is not about good conversation or company, it’s about getting drunk.
A drunk is no good as a parent.
Everything else was there, love, care, hope, dreams but the part of me that could guide my family safely was gone.
It was past bedtime and Dad was drunk.

I took them home and they sleepily went to bed.

I chatted with my friend for a bit and then I stayed in the house as he went back to the party.

I sat at the table looking at my hands.

Absolutely useless hands.

Selfish.

When I woke this morning I could not get back to sleep.

I did not write last night because I was drunk.

I don’t want to do that again.

I am not giving up drinking completely, not yet, but I need to see if I can stay in some sort of control and I hope I can keep posting here every day for a while to come.

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I like the idea of the Fluid Propulsion Drive.

I have just been reading about it.

it is one of those theories that people argue about but no one knows if it will change things for the better because it has not been fully tested.

It goes a bit like this, though pardon me if I haze over the details, I am a Stage Manager not a Rocket Scientist.

There is a long tubelike space ship.
At each end is a Spaceman.

They are taking it in turns to throw a cannonball to each other.

Each time the cannon ball strikes the other end of the spaceship it moves the spaceship forward a tiny bit.

Every time the other Spaceman throws the cannon ball back it moves the space ship back again.

This is the law of action and reaction and also the rule that energy/propulsion cannot be created just by re arranging the contents of an object floating in space.

But, if the second spaceman was able to slow the cannonball down a bit on the return journey, by using a parachute or similar, the cannon ball would be striking with more force in one direction than the other.
The force with which the cannon ball was thrown would be equal at both ends but it would hit harder at one than the other.

In theory this would result in our spacecraft slowly, slowly moving through space.
As long as the Spacemen don’t get tired the spaceship could pick up quite a bit of speed too, over time.

There are arguments for and against the Fluid Propulsion Drive.
No one knows if it can be made to work or not. Not yet.

I was thinking about it today.

Actually I was thinking about Prole2’s digestive system, a topic that has often been synonymous with Fluid Propulsion of one sort of another.
Sadly he is of no interest to NASA but fortunately I find his movements fascinating.

Don’t worry, I am not going to go on about size or turgidity, I have just noticed that in this respect he seems to have rejoined the rest tot the Human race.

I mentioned elsewhere the number of times he has fallen in to the toilet.
On the one hand it is quite an achievement to fall in but when one considers the hours and hours he has spent on the toilet in the last three years the really impressive thing is that he has not fallen in more often.

He is a wriggly little thing at the best of times.
Twenty minutes in to a ‘session’ would see him crouched on the edge of the seat like a small bird, staring out the window or talking to the cat.
He played with lego, read books, drew pictures and stared slack jawed at the floor.
He often fell off as well as in.
The loo roll holder is at a funny handle as it was often the only thing to save him as he went down.
Sometimes he would un-roll all the toilet paper and then try to re-roll it again so I would not notice.

Prole2: It’s harder to get on than it is to get off.

Me: Isn’t it though?

Prole2: Yep. Tricky. Tricky.

On one occasion that I saw he spent several minutes seeing how much of his hand he could fit in his mouth.
He did this stuff every week for years.
Just sat there.

Anyway I noticed the other day he is spending much more time with us.
Which means he may be growing into his bowels at last.

Mind you this led me on to thinking about the lane on the way to school.

When we moved in to this house one of our neighbours was the father of an Artist we knew.

He was really happy to tell us all about the other neighbours and the local area.

He told us about the parking wars and the bin bag feuds and the noisy neighbours and the curtain twitchers.

He also told us that the little lane that led to the school was called “Dogshit Lane”

At first I though this was a little strong in such a lovely area but he was not wrong.

It is the single defining attribute of that lane.
There is nothing to be said about that lane and it is hard to come up with a name for it or refer to it as anything other than “That lane with all the Dogshit in”

You can’t even re name it.
Who would want a name associated with wast appears to be some kind of open sewer for canines?

The strange thing is I have never seen a dog doing a poo in that lane.

Never.

They must come in the night.
I say they, it could be one big incontinent mastiff.

The only way of processing the poo out of the lane is to wait for it to dry and blow away, wait for it to rain and hope that washes it away or wait for the school run where hundreds of small children will pick it up on their shoes and carry it away, to be worked in to the tiles in the school halls.

This natural process of poop erosion is hampered by one in every five poos being tied up in a plastic bag and left in the lane.

THEY GO TO THE TROUBLE OF PUTTING THEIR DOG’S POO IN A BAG AND THEN THEY PUT IT BACK ON THE GROUND WHERE IT WAS!

There is a bin.
For poo.
At the end of the lane.

What kind of a person do you have to be to do all the horrible bit and then not put it in the bin?

And they have not done it ‘to pick it up later on the way back’, some of those bag-o-poops have been there as long as I have lived here.

They have taken something disgusting and horrible and made it disgusting, horrible and un-biodegradable.

I have wondered if perhaps I could get some smooth peanut butter and warm it in a pan with some beef dripping and bovril, stir until smooth and add just enough peanut oil to make it the consistency of tooth paste.

Then I could keep it in an old ketchup bottle and whenever I pass a poop in the lane I could squirt a bit on top.

Then perhaps when the corpuscular crapper comes out as the sky gets dark it might just eat up everything it did the night before.

It is an untested theory which could change humanity forever.

Someone should look into it.

If you think it is a daft idea, all I can say is it’s better than putting dog poo in plastic bags and then not putting them in the bin.

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Several exciting deliveries.
A new operating system for this computer.

Why won’t the italics turn off? Why is everything in bold?

It is doing nothing for the mood I am in.

Today the new shoes arrived.

When I went into a high street shoe shop up Truro and got the Proles feet measured but left without actually buying anything  the staff gave me wry, knowing and mildly pursed smiles.

I had been blatantly showrooming.



 

Showrooming is where you go into a shop, look at or try on items or clothing and then leave, go home and buy them off the internet.



I have friends who work in retail.
I don’t know what to say except the world is moving and when you have a part time job and two kids you have to move with it.

 

I don’t do this a lot and I certainly think it is risky with shoes.


All is well if they arrive, they are the right shoes, they are the right size and they don’t leave your children with deformed feet for the rest of their lives.



 

But the reward, in this case, was that I got shoes at a third the price I could have got them in the shop.


A third.



 

I do sort of feel dirty, the high streets across Britain are dying and we should be trying to support them if we can.


 

However I can buy the same shoes as I can get from a nation wide retailer at a fraction of the price.



 

I was ready to send the shoes back but they are really very good.



Bargain.



 

No moral high ground at all but bargain.

I got home with the Proles and I pulled the shoes out of my bag.

Me: Here, try these on.

Prole1: Oh, right, Brilliant. Ok.

Prole2: What are they?

Me: They are shoes. Here, try them on.

He took them off me and held them in front of him.
He stared at them like they were a pair of dead seagulls.

Prole2: What are they?

Me: They are new shoes.

Prole2: What for?

Me: For you to try.

Prole2: I don’t understand.

I was laughing a bit and Prole1 was smiling.
Prole2 looked at me in disgust.

Prole2: What are these?

Me: They are a pair of shoes. For you to try on. If they fit you can keep them as your shoes.

Prole2: What?

Me: Just try them on.

Prole2: Why am I doing this?

Me: Because they might be your new shoes.

Prole2: What?

Me: Just try them on for me.

Prole2: I really don’t understand. I will do it but I think it is silly.

And then I heard the slight catch in his voice.
It was the way he sometimes talks to his friends in the play ground.
It is the way he sometimes talks to Prole1 when he really wants to push his buttons.
I looked at him.
He was standing there, not putting the shoes on and staring at me like I was an idiot.

He was eyeballing me.

I learned that from An Officer And A Gentleman.
I did not really understand it at the time but it is a thing people do.

My tiny little boy was eyeballing me.
He was being the quintessence of disrespect condensed into the body of a small child.
Suddenly he looked vile

He is young.
Really young.
He is testing boundaries.
He is finding out the rules.

I know all this because I live with him.

I also know that I suddenly wanted to send him spinning across the kitchen.

I have never hit the Proles.

I really hope I never do.

I know other people hit their kids.
I just don’t hit the Proles.

Every now and then they do make me really angry.
I can squash most emotion down most of the time but it does boil over some times.

During the ‘terrible twos’ when Prole2’s emotions were all over the place, he was throwing one of his more unreasonable tantrums, which in turn meant that we could not go out and meet friends.

We were running late and when Prole1 heard this he began to cry as well.

There are only three of us, I might have been able to calm him down and get him out the door but I also had to wrangle Prole1 as well.
Even if we made it to the park there was no guarantee we could do this without a relapse or a double explosion from them both.

I would have to spend the time monitoring them and keeping a lid on things which would mean I could not have an adult conversation for more than a couple of minutes.

This also did not even begin to take into consideration the fact that I did not want to be anywhere near either of them by this point.

Prole2 had lost it completely and was screaming “NO!” in my face.

I could feel my hands go cold and my knuckles begin to tingle.
Everything started moving slowly.

I remembered feeling exactly this way during a particularly testosterone filled day working with a crew in London.
A big guy kicked off a bit.

He was much bigger than me.
Sometimes you hire crew for their size.
If you need a huge pile of heavy things moved form one place to another then sometimes you need a Brute Squad.

Big men who work cash in hand often have mixed feelings about being given instructions.

This guy had been playing up all day and things finally came to a head when he tried to push through me instead of walking round.

I remember thinking that I was not going to back down, I was not going to get out of his way and I was prepared to face it out.

It ended with some pushing and shoving and being pulled apart from each other in a vaguely unremarkable way, like so many testosterone fuelled moments.

It sticks in my mind because I just don’t do that very often.

I really don’t.

I hate confrontation.

The next male that made me feel that way was my two year old son.

That is when I learned to put myself on the Naughty Step.

I have not felt that way since but I do get worked up sometimes and the Proles know that if I am on the Naughty Step they should probably go and play with lego somewhere.

But today I was being eyeballed and somehow it went straight through me.
I looked at his passive aggressive stance and his pretence at incomprehension.
He wore a slight sneer and he gently started to shake his head as he put the shoes on.

I picked him up, shoes and all and sat him on the stairs.

Me: I am really very angry at the moment.

Prole1: Oh.

Prole2: Oh…dad?

Me: I want you to stay here on the stairs.

I looked at Prole1.

Me: I want you to go and find something to do for a bit.

I thought for a second.

Me: I am going into the living room.

Prole1 went and played with lego in the bedroom.
Prole2 sat on the stairs.
I lay face down on the rug in the living room and tried to gather my thoughts and calm down.

I had to find a way to explain about non-verbal communication, attitude, respect, empathy and general demeanor to someone who has yet to experience the tooth fairy.

Finally I was ready.

Proe2 had transformed back into a curly haired angel.
Little git.

Me: What are these?

Prole2: Shoes.

Me: What do I want you to do with the shoes?

Prole2: Put them on.

Me: Why do I want you to put them on?

Prole2: To see if they fit.

Me: Whose shoes are they?

Prole2: My shoes. If they fit. They are my shoes.

Me: OK. Good. Great. Now move over.

Prole2: Why.

Me: Because I need to sit on the naughty step now.

Prole2: I will go and play with lego.

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The Proles are watching “Dougal and the Blue Cat”

There is a reason for this.
First off I want to dispel any ideas that I might be any good at this parenting thing.
My house is a mess, things are unwashed, untidy and falling apart.
I am also not blessed with completely unlimited patience.
Some days I find it hard to find any patience at all.
Today when I had tidied breakfast things up and got the cuddly toys out of the kitchen, then tidied yesterdays toys out of the living room, then gone back into the kitchen and tidied it again from the lego session that had happened because the living room was out of bounds, then gone back into the living room and tidied up the cars that had been brought out whilst I was tidying the kitchen, I started through the door and I trod on a small plastic wrestler.
With bare feet.
Me not the wrestler.

It was Seamus from the WWE, in case you are interested in the details.

Now Seamus has extended arms and a ‘flicking’ action that can propel his plastic foes across the ring, table or in this case hallway.

I tried to do the ‘light-step-not-putting-all-your-weight-on-it’ move that you learn when the first piece of lego is placed on the floor and you have bare feet.
(Why does lego hurt so much by the way? It is totally disproportionate to any other toy stepped on in bare feet, surely?)

Seamus did a good job though, his outstretched arms digging into my exposed instep and I began to drop the cars I was carrying and I tried to do the ‘move-your-bare-feet-out-of-the-way-whilst-still-standing’ move that I learned from carrying large ungainly handfuls of toe smashing toys.

This meant I fell sideways and banged my head on the wall and I hissed with pain.

The Proles froze half way through the marble run they were constructing on the kitchen floor.

The net result of this was that I was SO ANGRY and ENRAGED that I put myself on the naughty step to calm down and sent them into the living room to watch a film.

Putting myself on the naughty step was a brilliant discovery by the way, they are not allowed to talk to me and I am not allowed to talk to them.
Sometimes it is the most peaceful place in the house.
And I get 43 minutes if I want.

Anyway it got me thinking.

I like watching the wrestling.
This is a bit of a hangover from my childhood and the ‘Golden Years’ of TV wrestling in Britain.
We did not watch it often at home, it was not actually banned but it was on on Saturday afternoons and watching the telly on a Saturday was limited to mornings only.
Sometimes, on rare visits to other family members, I would be allowed to watch.
I stopped watching at all when I got into my teens because it was so very clearly a pantomime.

A long time later  I found that they would repeat shows from the bigger American wrestling shows on British TV.
These were the days when I was working in London and the perfect unwind might be the most mindless telly in the world.
Robot Wars and the World Wrestling Federation were top of my list.

Before you judge me I would have to point out that during the summer months my days were taken up discussing Shakespeare, renaissance culture, authentic theatrical practices of the sixteenth century and complex rehearsal schedules.
I spent most days bluffing my way through with some of the keenest historical and theatrical minds in Britain.

By the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was indulge in anything cerebral.

Robot Wars was just weird, geeks from all over the country bringing their dreams, time and spare money together and creating a mechanical machine that would get smashed to pieces on National TV.
It was simultaneously brilliant and awful.
Mostly awful though and never quite as exciting as you thought it might be.

The Wrestling was different.
On the face of it big men (and sometimes women) get into a ring in improbable clothing and pretend to beat each other up.
This is interspersed with universally badly improvised speeches over the microphone.
After you watch it for a while something else starts to shine through.
Week after week those people train hard and rehearse incredibly complicated series of moves.
A bout can go on for fifteen minutes or more.
They have spent time working these out and have to remember them in front of  live audience.

I know professional dancers that would have a problem with that schedule week on week.

Added to that the moves themselves are all fairly dangerous.
Some of the jumps are huge, falls onto concrete floors, catches and somersaults.
I once witnessed an actor dislocate their whole foot. All the were doing was running across the stage.
The risk to professional wrestlers is incredible.

Added to that a different partner to play off most weeks, sometimes multiple players to be rehearsed in.
The setting is brutal, scaff planks with a foam layer covered in canvas, steel frame with some robust padding.

Week after week you can watch the same people get into the ring.

There are plots to watch if you can be bothered, feuds, villains turned saints and faces turned heels.
The plots are usually awful and unsurprising, just a means to getting people fighting really.

There is often some sort of fictitious competition for the championship belt, this is just a reason for bad improvised speech it appears.

The real drama is played out as you watch the talented and not so talented try to hang on to their fans, try to hang on to their contracts, try not to pick up too many injuries.
Some of them have been doing it for years and you just know a large part of their wages goes on surgery to keep them in the game.

Even before the film “The Wrestler” came out I was trying to read that story behind the glossy TV shows.
Men in their late thirties, forties and in some cases fifties stepping into the ring and being hurled around in tendon snapping back bending ways.
Most of my more physical theatre friends have all sorts of problems with knees, arms, necks and backs.
Heaven knows what the list of injuries must be in the professional wrestling scene.

I would lie on the sofa and watch the ‘show’ each week.

It is like they have no pain and no fear.

Which brings me to the toy Seamus the Wrestler.

The thing is, when the real Seamus the Wrestler goes home does he hurt himself when he steps on lego?

I bloody hope so…..

I was reminded tonight how big the Proles are getting.

I simultaneously heard of the birth of a friend’s new baby and received an invitation to take the Proles to Berlin.

I suppose all parents are predisposed to think of their children as younger than they are, this is a useful evolutionary safety net that ensures someone is looking out for them even when they are old enough to wilfully not look after themselves.
This also ensures that when you are older ‘home’ is a place that is really nice to visit but somewhere you really could not stay for long.

I fully expect to be accused of smothering my children with over protective love in the future. For now I try to compensate by dressing them in silly clothes and writing about them on the internet.
The other day when we visited the optician’s for Prole1’s six monthly check up Prole2 and I were asked by the shop staff to stop making so much noise.
We were taking it in turns to try ridiculous glasses on Prole1 and then point at him.
Something inside was telling me something about deep emotional scarring and suppressed childhood trauma and that perhaps this was a bad thing but something else was telling me that he just looked Ace in the Peter’s and Lee sunglasses Prole2 found for him.
The assistant came over and asked pointedly if we were all right and if Prole1 had come to a decision about his new frames?

Opposite the opticians on the high street is roughly the place the wheels came off the buggy.
We had a Maclaren style baby buggy.
Don’t believe all the bad press, it’s a design classic and a good one can be operated, opened and closed with a baby under one arm and a car door being propped open with one leg and your car keys in your mouth, you can’t say that about many things.
Prole2 would sit in when he was quite small.
There was a buggy board as well so I would push, Prole2 would sit in front and Prole1 would be on the board between us, his head popping up behind the buggy like a portly tank commander.
He would point to things of interest like a small Blue Badge guide, occasionally waving to people he knew and shouting directions if he felt i needed guidance.

The buggy lasted a couple of years until Prole2 started to out grow it.
They both got heavier and heavier.
Prole1 crushed the buggy board so that it ground on the wheels and acted as brakes whenever he got on.
Off it came.
Prole1 was not best pleased about this, we were heading into winter, it was getting cold and wet and who would not want to be pushed around?

It all came to a head though.
It was raining in Redruth and I was struggling with the nappy bag on my shoulder, Prole1 in one hand and a bag of shopping in another, pushing Prole2.
I watched as one of the buggy wheels came loose, detached itself and rolled past us and away down the hill towards the cinema.
A second later the axle of the buggy popped out and we stopped.

Marooned in the middle of the high street, two Proles, shopping, nappy bag and a broken buggy.

I stood for a second not quite knowing what to do.

The thing about having kids is, that like so many situations in life, if you stop making decisions you are lost.

I took Prole2 out of the carcass of the buggy, hefted the two bags, grabbed the Proles hands and we all went and sat in a cafe and had a sticky bun.
Out the window we could see the buggy in the rain, slewed to one side and off balance.
After a while someone pushed it down the hill, past the cafe towards the bins.

Prole2 never went in a buggy again, from that moment on he walked.
Actually he didn’t, for the most part he walked but for the rest I had to carry him but I am trying not to spoil the point.
I could have bought another buggy but losing the first had suddenly made me look at my boys and realise how self sufficient they had become.

It took another couple of years to be finally free of the nappy bag. Just when you think you don’t need two complete sets of pants and trousers for you children you spectacularly do.
Life can deal some harsh lessons but improvising clothes for two small boys on a crowded city shopping street is one lesson I don’t need to go back over. I hope it is a subject I never have to revise.
I hated the bag in the end.
It weighed me down, it would slump to one side whenever I wanted to put my hand in it and every seam was clogged with that sticky, biscuity, browny black cludge that you only find in the vicinity of toddlers.
The stuff you find between the car seat cushions.
The stuff you find on the sofa.
I hate that stuff.
The only thing it fears in the wild is the wet wipe.

I have a lot of respect for the wet wipe, you can clean anything, and I mean anything, with a good wet wipe but I would not be upset if I NEVER saw one of those again as long as I live.

Living with Proles in the early days was like hanging out with tiny little drunks.

Emotional, belligerent, uncoordinated, unpredictable, mostly incoherent, really unsteady on their feet and barely continent.

Tonight I was on the phone at bed time. I whispered to them it was bed time.
As I was talking to my friend I watched the Proles put toys away, get dressed into pyjamas, brush their teeth and get into bed.
I am pleased they can do all this for themselves and also a tiny bit disappointed.

I am used to Prole2 being the smallest and the cutest child around. These days i look at him all boney and stringy like a great big frog and I know he is not that little toddler any more.

The arrival of the newest member of their social group certainly seals that if it had not been done before.

Tonight I thought about taking the Proles to a City in a foreign country and for the first time did not think how awful that might be.
I thought it might actually work.
I thought they might enjoy getting lost in other culture and language as much as I do.
I wonder how Prole1 would order vegetarian food in Germany? Better than me probably.

Perhaps as a family we are turning some kind of corner?