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Middling

  Tue 13th August 2013

Trina and I are off on Saturday to Chemical Town in the northeast, as it's my Mum and Dad's golden wedding anniversary. My Dad, the worst possible advert for teetotalism you could see, daily zimmers his way into further thickets of infirmity; my Mum has the mischievous wit of an intelligent child, and handles my Dad's impossibly irascible and self-pitying behaviour adroitly, privately subverting his attempts to elicit special sympathy.

My sister is advertising this as a pre-death party, "probably the last time we'll all get together", bringing attention to what she sees as my Dad's imminent decease. If I were in my Dad's position, I'd want a party per se, not because people are smiling around me like valedictory vultures, holding glasses of lime and soda in a swirly-carpeted pub. We've bought them a bird table.

Trina and I are only staying for the day, then in the evening we're going camping in the Yorkshire Dales. Camping is a rare experience for me, combining two of my least favourite things: tents and fields. I dare say it might be fun, "sleeping" on a centimetre thick sheet of matting on top of a patch of sodden wet grass, in a spider-infested nylon bag, while yards away, in the adjoining hotel, lovers stretch out on white Egyptian cotton sheets on king size beds, leaning over to pour another couple of glasses of Prosecco, before indulging the hedonistic, selfish luxury that is being able to stand up.

On Sunday evening, Kim is coming over for a few days of malarkey. In a foolish spirit of openness, I told Trina about it. She went off on the usual Womanstrop. "Why don't you want to spend that time with me?," "You know we normally have Mondays together," "you always cast me aside when something more interesting comes along"--like a fucking stuck record, proving again, that when dealing with most women, dishonesty is the best policy.

After a couple of days of foot-stomping, to which I am indifferent, she went into reverse gear and said something far worse. "Yes, I've been thinking. I've got to get off on Sunday sometime, but I'd like to meet Kim. I know how important she is to you. Maybe we could have tea together before I left?"

Fuck, no.

Last night Kim rang. I said "Just one thing I need to tell you first--Trina's angling to meet you and wants us to have a jolly tea together when you arrive. Don't worry, it's not going to happen. I'll sort it out. I don't want you and Trina together. I just want just you and me to get going straight away on Sunday night."

"No," said Kim. "I'm not prepared to do that. I don't want to get mixed up in your emotional affairs."

"Don't worry pet, neither am I. You and Trina are not meeting. The only reason I mentioned it is that I might need you to be complicit in a white lie to get us out of it." It brought to mind the old Navy toast, "To wives and girfriends--that they never meet."

Before all that though, I'm off to Glasgow on Thursday for a date with an art teacher. She sounds a bit cooler than D---, but at worst, it's going to mean a few pints of Scottish real ale in one of the best pubs in Glasgow.

8 comments

Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

50 years! You’ve got to respect that - congrats to them

Tue 13th August 2013 @ 16:38

I agree that dishonesty with a woman is the best policy.

Unless they find out.

Wed 14th August 2013 @ 11:18

What in heaven’s name is Chemical Town?! Sounds like something to avoid.

I just did a post that drips of self pity. Don’t knock it. It’s my favorite literary device.

I’m with you on camping. Shudder. If my family and I are sleeping in a tent, something went horribly wrong.

“…dishonesty is the best policy.” cuts across the gender divide. Happily.

Wed 14th August 2013 @ 12:17
Comment from: [Member]

F: I’m not sure about that. Rewarding someone for staying together for 50 years? Why is that a good thing or something that deserves a clap? It feels like rewarding a couple for something that neither of them really wanted to do. I think any man who stays with one woman for fifty years is an idiot.

TSB: Always lie to women. I’ve learnt never to be honest with them. They claim they want honesty but don’t like it. You have to make each of them think they’re the only one, and then they’re all happy.

Almost all women can only have happy relationships by clamping a man into the vice of an exclusive sexual contract. I like Trina but I want other women too.

UB: Chemical Town is Middlesbrough, where my poor old Mum and Dad have ended up in. It’s a shithole of a place, bereft of culture.

And self-pity? That’s an allowed thing in blogging from time to time.

Thu 15th August 2013 @ 00:18
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

I am a fan of fields but I refuse to go camping at any point, ever, for much the same reasons you describe. I don’t stay anywhere that isn’t en-suite, and pissing the other side of a tautly-stretched 300-denier nylon “wall” by torchlight doesn’t count.

Thu 15th August 2013 @ 12:22
Comment from: [Member]

I agree completely. Next time, if we can’t afford to stay in the hotel, rather than in its fields, we’re staying at home.

Thu 15th August 2013 @ 13:11
Comment from: [Member]

always lie to women? sorry. doesn’t work for me. i’ve done my share of lying through the years, but have found that sucking up the brutal truth - which stings on occasion - has led to the most satisfying series of relationships i’ve experienced…

Wed 21st August 2013 @ 03:18
Comment from: [Member]

What I mean is, it’s sometimes tactically advantageous to lie in order to get something that would be denied you if you told the truth.

Sounds even worse put like that!

Wed 21st August 2013 @ 13:43


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