Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In Which I Ramble On Forever

It's always the same. Every time I end up doing a meme I am compelled to preface it with the disclaimer that I don't usually do memes.

And I don't, not usually. But, like everyone else who deosn't really do them, I do acknowledge how useful they are in the complete and utter absence of a single idea. And, since ideas are few and far between these days*, I was delighted to receive some rather probing questions from the lovely Thursday. And the reason I've decided to answer them is that they are well thought-out and actually relevant to me, and don't consist of the usual "What's the weirdest place you've ever had sex**" sort of thing.

So, hang onto your hats. Abandon interest all ye who read on from here. Sorry.

1. What was your mother's relationship like with her own mother?

Ooh. Straight in there then, Thursday. To be honest, I don't know the answer to this one. I know what my mother has told me, but then I've learned pretty well over the years that my mother is a spin-doctor of epic proportions when it comes to how other people have treated her and how it has informed her behaviour. So, according to She Who Must Not Be Named, her mother was cold, reserved and unfeeling. My maternal grandfather was killed in the Home Guard*** during World War II and, so far as I can make out, my Nanny married again quite soon. Or didn't. Or something. Given that until I was about eight I thought my brothers and sisters were my cousins and my dad was my uncle, you're going to have to excuse me on being a bit vague about my family tree. I know that, when she was alive, my Nanny was held at arms length. I've thought about this a lot over the years. My Nanny was from good old East End stock. She called a spade a spade. She spent Christmases and holidays with our "family" and was, more than once, on the receiving end of my stepfather's drunken vitriol. She saw the fights, she saw the trauma and I have no doubt that she called my mother on what on earth she thought she was doing, both to herself and to the children she was charged with looking after. SWMNBN, therefore, painted my Nanny as someone to be tolerated rather than loved. Now, this isn't to say that my Nanny was an apple-cheeked paragon of grandmotherliness. I had my fair share of run-ins with her over the years. But, just before she died, I spent a lot of time with her. SWMNBN was in a private psych unit, having been sectioned for attempting suicide after discovering that my stepfather had been nobbing a colleague for the past ten years or so. So, it was left to me to keep my Nanny company in her last few weeks. And, I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I learned a lot. I actually came to know her as a person, and that is priceless to me.

Good lord. So, to sum up, I have no real idea what my mother's relationship with her mother was like. According to my mother, they had no relationship. According to my Nanny, she did her best given her circumstances. My mother also trots this one out periodically (her trying circumstances involving a large house, endless piles of cash and four foreign holidays a year), so who's to know? I know this much: I miss my Nanny. I don't miss SWMNBN a bit.


2. What positive opportunities in life do you think Small Person will have that you didn't?

Well, her parents' divorce aside, she's got quite a lot going for her. Yes, she's an only child, but she is settled, confident, happy and secure. She is loved, and knows she is loved. She is intelligent, warm and funny, and is secure in her own little world. I was none of, and had none of those things.

Oh, and we never had Heelys when I was small. So there's that, too.

3. Were you EVER happy with the Ex?

Well, now. That depends on how you define happy.

If you mean did I spend seven or so years with a man who was pathologically unable to feel warmth towards another adult human; with a man who was jealous, suspicious, paranoid, miserly and a little bit thick; a man whose idea of entertainment was shooting fluffy woodland creatures and bringing the bits home for his dog to play with; a man whose inability to enjoy life was matched only by his capacity for forgetting to have a wash, and did I make it through those years without actually jumping off the nearest multi-storey car park then yes, we were blissfully happy, thank you for asking.

If, however, you mean would I be able to look back on the time with him without a sadness that we spent such a long time making each other unhappy (he liked me about as much as I liked him, as far as I could tell), and is my current relationship so far removed from my married life as to be astonishing, then: no. We were never really happy. We got together at a weird time for me. I was twenty-three and, since leaving home at seventeen, had had some disastrous relationships. I met the Ex and became convinced that if I didn't marry him I would officially be on the shelf. It was pretty much carnage from the word go. I mean, we did have some laughs. But were we ever truly happy together? No.

4. What would you really, really like to do as a job?

Easy. Official fluffer for Tenacious D. Or an actor. Or, really, a psychiatric nurse. You know, whichever.

5. I cannot believe that the Other Half or Small Person view you as surly. So, why the name?

Oh, it's all part of the act. The one where I hide behind being a grouch, and being all growly and cross to hide my insecurities.

That is, of course, a lie. Everything annoys me. I rant in my head for most of my waking hours - at the tv, at other drivers, at stupid shop assistants, at my colleagues. You see, much as I really love some individuals, people in general really piss me off. This is my outlet (not that I don't moan in real life, you understand). So I am Surly.

Plus, I just liked the way Surly Girl sounds. And, since I have discovered that I am not the only person who feels this way (and I really didn't know before, not consciously anyway), I would like to thank any professional retailers whose copyright I may have inadvertently breached for not suing me. So far.

So. That's that. If you've got this far, you have my sympathy. Maybe next time I'll treat you to a hundred words on why I hate the new self-service tills in supermarkets. There's a treat for you to look forward to.

If anyone wants me to ask them some questions, express your wishes in the comments. And seek some professional help.

* Really. I am this close to quitting, I bore myself so much these days.

** Twenty-odd feet above sea level, somewhere between Menorca and Gibraltar.

*** I don't know how true this is either. On reflection, it's just as likely that I was raised by goats in Borneo as anything else I've been told over the years. If it is true though, that's pretty fucking unlucky, don't you think?


Anonymous rivergirlie chimed in with...

well i, for one, found that v interesting. which gives me hope for the future because nothing makes me feel as dull as doing a meme - especially those ones where you've got to find 8 interesting things about yourself. and i always falter after about 3 (on a good day). i've taken to recycling my toast phobia for that very reason.

03 July, 2007 21:03  
Anonymous Bill Door chimed in with...

two things

nobbing, as far as I know, is spelt Knobbing.


as far as intelligence goes, you are in the top 12 of intelligent-persons-that-I-know.Of.

Maybe the top six...

03 July, 2007 21:09  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

I'm sorry but I need to speak with SP about the Heely's. This child clearly needs better guidance and heels.

Nice one Surly, you wouldn't believe how much I fretted.

03 July, 2007 23:18  
Anonymous Femme chimed in with...


You are indeed Surly. I quite often leave you a comment whilst tittering in my head about how much you would be cursing inwardly (or not) about my inanity and/or "chewing gum on the sole of your shoe" like qualities as a friend who wont go away. I stay because I know you really do love me, deep deep deep deep down inside. Oh, and that I love you too.

I found this meme really very interesting, infact riveting in comparison to all others that I have read...and as someone who was privvy to the actuality of you and The Ex, it brings that whole period of your/our lives in sharp focus when I hear what you went through emotionally when you were with him.

I remember our friends were terrified, stating that you should not "run away to the country" with that man, but I figured they were being over protective. "Let her make her own decisions" I said; "she will be happy" I said. What a muppet (me). I should have really got a clue of your deep unhappiness from the night you casually mentioned that you would have no problem if your then husband (The Ex) decided that he wanted to sleep with me. At the time I thought it was more a comment about me than him. How wrong I was. I am so sorry.

Me x

04 July, 2007 06:51  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

good lord femme, the things you remember!

no, i should never have run away to the country with that man. and no, i should never have been that numb and unhappy that i used to wish he would either be in a car crash or meet someone else so i could be free of him - it took me years to realise that actually, i could just leave him...

oh, and thursday? i'm really just projecting about the heelys - SP doesn't have any but she could have and that's what makes me jealous....

04 July, 2007 07:20  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

Don't quit.

Some of us like your rambling on forever, y'know.

04 July, 2007 15:12  
Anonymous Eliza chimed in with...

i thought that was fab stream of consciousness, it's when it all really comes out isnt it? all the gritty REAL stuff. x

04 July, 2007 15:36  
Blogger khlari chimed in with...

Always much better that other people feel that you are Surly.....means they leave you alone and don't expect fluffy-bunniness from you, ever.

09 July, 2007 15:53  

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