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What a bummer!

  Thu 22nd July 2021

To Middlesbrough, for my brother's fiftieth. He's in a home that has housed, through time, lunatics, imbeciles, spastics, people with learning disabilities, and now, clients. "Differently abled" doesn't seem to have caught on.

Trina was supposed to come up, but emailed me with a couple of days to go with a Carry On accident tale. She'd spilt some coffee, slipped on it, dropped the mug, which broke into shards, then landed on it, causing a deep cut which will require a skin graft, and in the meantime, daily changes of big antiseptic nappies in hospital.

"Oh thanks for reacting in that way," she said, after I'd expressed sympathies and regrets. "I was worried about what you'd say, and I've been putting off telling you." I don't know why she would worry like that. Strange isn't it, how people you think you know well surprise you.


At my mum's house, (she doesn't own it), it was a bit of a gender-bender fest. One of my nieces came out as gay a couple of years ago; her and her girlfriend slept in a tent in the garden. I'm glad my mum doesn't give a toss about anyone being gay. A nephew has decided he wants to be considered as having a non-binary gender. We've got to call him a female name, which I don't mind doing, but it's difficult to remember in the moment. Playing a game one evening, I pointed to me, my brother and him, to mime the word "man". Backtracking, I tried to erase his inclusion with my hands.

I go along with it all, but what a privilege it is, fannying about with gender definition, a leisure activity of middle class self-absorption for those who aren't daily affected by lack of money, sexism, violence, racism.


I spent Monday turning red on the beach with Kim. Kim was a wee bit boring, complaining about things, going on and on about her possible diagnosis for ADD, or ADHD, I don't know the difference, and how she gives so much to needy people whilst listening to them in her job... I wanted to say "I know exactly how you feel Kim."

A group of young people were waist deep in the sea, taking photographs of each on their phones. After we comforted ourselves in our old folks' criticism of the modern addiction for photographing and recording everything one does, and how memory is considered an invalid repository of events, she jumped up to photograph a dolphin curving its way in front of the wind farm.

All day long, thick black smoke bulked up from what we later found out was a timber yard. It's not a proper holiday in County Durham without an industrial accident.


At my brother's care home, they'd decked the garden with balloons and happy birthday banners; yards of food in the summerhouse. One of the carers asked my niece's girlfriend when she was due. I turned round to where one of the carers had been sitting a minute previously and said "have you got any recycling? For the bottles?" It was just the loonies clients sitting there and the only one that responded did so with an indecipherable staccato syllable.


The Northeast is different though. Everyone is considered an extended family in the pub, and as long as you understand the social boundaries, people include you, in a way that doesn't happen down here. I went to the rough pub a couple of times. Met the bloke who put me in his phone as "Fucking Lunatic" when I stayed up there for three months with my mum. "I've got cancer of the spine, but I'm a fucking ex-Royal Engineer so I'm going to stick a finger up its arse and it can swivel on it".

On the train I met two lads who lived in Hartlepool. I gave them a can of my Old Speckled Hen. They'd been in Halifax demolishing something and we had an interesting chat about how you demolish a building. I was a bit nervous about the masked girl sitting opposite me, worrying whether they'd say something sexist or intimidating in her direction, but they didn't.

8 comments »

8 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I go along with it all, but what a privilege it is, fannying about with gender definition, a leisure activity of middle class self-absorption for those who aren’t daily affected by lack of money, sexism, violence, racism.

I’m going to copy this down somewhere and save it for when I’m forced into having an opinion.
Sx

Fri 23rd July 2021 @ 11:57 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

There will be a usage fee of course, my dear.

Fri 23rd July 2021 @ 17:27 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

At least the fantasists now know, roughly, what a pronoun is.

Sun 25th July 2021 @ 19:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

They’ll be getting the hang of plurals next.

Thu 29th July 2021 @ 08:45 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Will my comment be eaten again?

Wed 28th July 2021 @ 13:11 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’m sorry about this kono. b2e’s spam filter is way too highly-strung.

Thu 29th July 2021 @ 08:51 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

What Scarlet said… i tell the boyos to be cool to everyone but it’s interesting to hear the oldest one come home and tell tales of kids changing their pronouns, sex, what have you, only to change it back a few weeks later, not all of them mind you and i don’t want to devalue or dismiss anyone who legitimately feels this way but there are a whole lot who do it for fun not realizing the harm they actually do…

and we’re all rock stars now due to social media… watching the kids run through their poses, review the shots and then post the best ones is disturbing, i watched some 20-something do a tik-tok dance over and over while filming herself… the business of being famous for nothing… or thinking that least…

and what’s a trip without and industrial accident? ;)

Wed 28th July 2021 @ 13:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Just after I posted this I realised that I forgot to mention the nine-? ten-? year-old next door doing this salacious dance in her underwear in her garden, full of the cliches of the Pole Dancing School of choreography. Over and over again she filmed herself, going back and forth to the phone. Who is it for?

Whatever errors as a parent I have made none of my girls got into a thong and started filming themselves twerking whilst they were still in primary school. Well, not to my knowledge anyway.

Thu 29th July 2021 @ 08:49 Reply to this comment


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