raindrops on roses & abject, irrepressible terror (etc)

19Apr11

I love it when little people come into the world. Hello Emma Diana Weaver, just a small handful of hours old.

Tuesday night and we’ve put a temporary stop to my house porn and Forensic Files marathons. MySKY has got a lot to answer for. We’re listening to Cody ChesnuTT instead.

Sarah Beanie was starting to annoy me, anyway. She’s incredibly smug and after watching many seasons of Property Ladder I have decided she actually gets off on the misfortune and bad taste of others. And as for that crime channel narrator. His voice is majorly creepy; it doesn’t actually matter what he’s saying. The other night we got to wondering if he was actually a Bad Person with a Dark Past. And maybe a lifetime of narrating brutal crimes is his penance. That’s what happens when you watch too much TV. You start wondering about stuff you can’t possibly ever know or find out the answer to. But then, when you ingest too much internet you can trawl it right to its very last page until you find your answer (even if it’s just a bunch of halfwits on a forum making shit up). So there are advantages in overindulgence.  And there’s a solution for everything; it just depends how much time you’re prepared to fritter away in the quest to find it.

 Speaking of overindulgence, here’s the pie I made in the weekend. It was only average, but Simon seemed to like it. 

I like David Lyle, especially This ends here (above). That burning car gives me the shits. I discovered it in the weekend around about the same time that I was reading a Jonathan Franzen essay about his childhood. I started to think a lot about childhood terrors and defining moments. And then I saw This ends here. I was thinking how maybe I remember my young moments of panic and fear best of all because fear is somehow more memorable than the probably 97.4% of my sheltered childhood that was lived out happily, without occasion for alarm or terror. But then I wondered if it was more that I was a scared and overly thoughtful kid. If I panicked too often and internalised too much. And then I wondered if children in general are by nature frightened little things, and it’s only after a long while on the planet that we knock enough of it out of us to get by without constant fear of collapse or apocalypse, banishment or unexpected shame, extremely public humiliation or the sudden death of every single loved one in a 100-kilometre radius.

I didn’t come to a conclusion. Anyway, it all got a bit heavy, so I trawled the internet some more, and started thinking about pie fillings.

But before I did, I involuntarily conjured some childhood memories (all of which hinging on some variety of fear), like:

How I thought I was the only one to get the floaty afterimage when I shut my eyes after looking at something bright, and how this therefore meant I was braindamaged or experiencing the early onset of a terminal illness (about which I could tell no one).

How I stockpiled a term’s worth of sandwich crusts in my chairbag and then, as end of term grew closer I fretted nonstop about how to remove all evidence without anyone noticing. (Turns out I couldn’t work out how to do it surreptitiously enough and left them there for my mother to discover, suffering the rebuke because I was born entirely devoid of cunning.)

How I took my best-only publishing pads home with me (we were only allowed two a term) so I could write stories at home, and used them up before the term was even halfway in. And of course the shame of it was so great I couldn’t tell this to anyone. Until it all got too much and a full parent-teacher conference had to be called. I remember convulsing and hiccuping, so great was my fear of… I don’t know what. My fear of trouble. Turns out they thought it was pretty cute and they liked me writing stories of my own accord. And I could have as many publishing pads as I wanted! Go figure.

How I cried because my sister was the only four year-old in the whole school.

How every time we went to the beach house for holidays I lay awake worrying I’d left my electric blanket on at home and how we’d come back to a blackened patch of earth where once our house was, all because of me.

How late at night I used to stare at a Great Keppel Island sticker I’d stuck on the side of the cabinet by my bed and tie myself in knots at the prospect of my parents dying. I don’t know what it was about that sticker, but it petrified the fuck out of me.

How I couldn’t ever swallow pills. And you don’t meet adults who can’t swallow pills. And therefore I was destined to forever be stuck in the limbo of childhood, tight-of-gullet and choking on foaming pharmaceuticals and drinking baby-flavoured cough syrup from the bottle like a loser.

All these things were a very big deal. By the time my little brother showed the earliest signs of angst, I was by then old enough to entertain these dismissively, as if I probably had better things to do with my time. When he was about eight (and it was Easter time then, too, I remember) he asked me about existentialism. So we walked to the dairy and had a chat. He’d been to a school camp that turned out to have a highly religious flavour to it, and thinking about it all had fucked him up. I’m not sure if what we talked about helped or not (it would probably help if I could actually remember what we talked about).

And talking to James in his adult years, considering what a baby I was as a child, I can’t believe what a horrible stunt I pulled on him and Amy. At the time I just thought it was a funny trick. It wasn’t until he told me years later that I’d scared the bejesus out of him for his entire life with it that I knew otherwise.

It’s pretty cruel and I’m sort of embarrassed to say what I did, but I will, if only to illustrate how beastly big children can be. A friend and I were babysitting Amy and James. We sent them to the bathroom to brush their teeth and told them to get into bed and we’d come and say goodnight. Meanwhile we hid in their wardrobe with pairs of stockings pulled down over our heads. I think we might have also been weilding some kind of weapon, but James will be able to say for sure. When they were in their beds we jumped out at them. The first thing James did was jump out of his bed and throw himself on top of Amy, telling us not to hurt her. I did feel pretty shit then. He’s been checking in his wardrobe and under his bed for years, all because of me. You can’t take something like that back. And saying sorry more than a decade after the fact is just lame.

Anyway, whoa. I sort of got into that in more detail than I’d intended. I was just stopping by here on my way to bed. And now to bed, for real. Here’s a pretty ceiling.

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