Posts tagged ‘family’

October 24, 2012

How to win an argument


In the lift on the way up, to pass the time M, as is his wont, smacks me on the arm, and then pretends nothing happened.

“Ow!” I say.

“What?” he says.

“You hit me on the arm!” I say.

“I didn’t!” he says.

“Denying it does not make it not so.” I say.

“What are you talking about?” he says.

“You hit me on the arm!” I say

“Prove it!” he says.

He hits me on the arm again. Repeat until we get to the 6th floor.

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October 22, 2012

The most insulting self-help books to give as gifts

22.02.2011 Tuesday

I wonder if there’s a book that would teach S. the social skills she lacks to get on in life? What would I put in a book to help people with no social skills develop them? I ‘ll have to interview myself.

What did I read and do when I was last unemployed and at my most misanthropic? I read the book I got mum for Christmas, “How To Talk To Anyone”, (that she was really insulted I bought for her), “Change your life in 7 days,” “Resistance is Useless,” …  Did I ever manage to read “I’m OK you’re OK”? Dad had a shelf of books like this, “Straight And Crooked Thinking,” “Games People Play.” I bet dad bought them hoping mum would read them. I also did Toastmasters, I went “biodancing”, I read any new-agey crap anyone passed on to me about Bach flowers and equations to do with love. I should make a complete list. I should make a list of books that would be the most insulting to give as gifts.

Here’s an idea for a self-help book for the badly-brought up.

“Were you raised by wolves? A checklist of the things good parents should have taught you.”

October 18, 2012

they’re nothing to do with me


One of my sister T.’s memories about going holiday with the family was when they missed the overnight train from Milan to Paris. I wasn’t there, although it feels like my memory. My mother and four children, including 3 small ones, were waiting on a train platform late at night to catch another night train to Paris. They wouldn’t have had couchettes to look forward to, or even booked places, they wouldn’t have had any food or water, or anything that would offer any comfort, since mum would have been in charge of packing. There would have been luggage all over the place, and no obvious way of transporting so much with so many small children. At least one of the small children would have been crying. They would all have looked scruffy. Not dirty exactly, but unkempt. T remembers a man looking askance at them all and remarking to his companion “I hope I’m not expected to travel with that bunch of gypsies.” T remembers stepping away from the family, not wishing to be associated. I wonder how old she would have been – 16?

October 18, 2012

dad’s writing voice


On the rare occasions I’ve been able to bring myself to read dad’s notebooks and scribblings to himself I’ve been horrified by his writing – and him an English teacher. His language sounds so affected, like he’s trying on some kind of persona that never fits. He never got to find his “voice”. I remember thinking when I was growing up, when are you going to do something? When are you going to write your novel, publish your volume of poetry? I asked him when I was about 21 what kind of writing he liked best, and he said “the aphorism”.

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October 17, 2012

The London riots, August 2011

August 2011, London. Just arrived, on a bus, on my way to my sister T’s. I’m trying to decide what to do with the 8-page ultimatum I’ve written to Alan. I’m imagining myself arriving at the rented meeting room, slapping down the letter and flouncing out. Or participating silently in our pointless board meeting, then slapping it down, and flouncing out. Suddenly the bus pulls over and the bus driver tells everyone to get off. I ask a fellow passenger what’s going on, and she says “it must be the riots.”

I try and phone T. but get no answer. I call M. in Morgex and ask him if he’s heard anything about riots in London. He says, “Oh, yeah, there was something on the news about it last night.” He says he’ll get online and to call him back in 5 minutes. In the mean time I find a bus that’s willing to cross over into South London, but only as far as Elephant and Castle. During the bus ride M. tells me there is rioting all over London, and this is day 3. He finds out what sparked the riots, what areas are particularly affected, what’s going on in South London.

I decide to have a bowl of noodles at Elephant and Castle, while I wait for T. to answer the phone. I’m the last person they serve and they start barricading themselves in and telling customers to eat up and leave. Finally T. answers the phone. She’s at home and has been having a massive row with her Turkish boyfriend, and has no idea that Walworth Road is being looted.  I find a bus that will take me near my sister’s home via a back route and T. will meet me off the bus.

We spend the evening monitoring the situation on Twitter and on the news. The riots have a soothing effect on me. Seeing all the violence out there makes it seem like less of an attractive option inside my head. The next day I participate politely in our pointless board meeting.  No ultimatums are issued.

October 17, 2012

the excitement of holidaying in a small mountain village

August 2011, Morgex. All hell broke loose in the village today. While setting up the barbecue for lunch, L, made the mistake of greeting his former friend, Ennio, as he was walking by, and Ennio told him he didn’t accept greetings from people who ‘played dirty’. Ennio stood there for about half an hour shouting accusations, while L. cooked the meat for lunch, brandishing a massive fork, and M. and his brother tried to “reason” with him, which mostly involved picking holes in his logic, not difficult.

G, was furious at the public display they were making, which she claimed (rightly) could be heard all over the valley. She started threatening to leave and not come back, and they’d be hearing from her lawyer (Ennio, AND her husband and sons). At one point she went out to try to intervene, at the same time as our neighbour, Santo, appeared on the scene. G, told him to mind his own business and to “go back where he came from.” Hmm.

God, this is better than a soap opera – especially for taking my mind off my business woes.

October 17, 2012

asperger social skills

Summer 2011, on the phone with my sister, S. S. is talking about her initiative to set up a summer school, something she’s never done, with a school-teacher friend of hers. Things aren’t going to plan, although the plan seems to be that the school-teacher friend, who’s in the process of getting married, gets permission from the school and recruits all the parents and children. There’s no progress and S. is expressing feelings of betrayal towards her friend, referring to her as “a cow”, and possibly “a stupid bitch”. I point out that S.’s plan seems to be dependent on her friend making everything happen, and in the interests of maintaining a positive working relationship, perhaps she shouldn’t refer to her as “a cow” and “a bitch”. S. tells me that’s how she deals with things, because “she’s a fighter.”


October 16, 2012

when mum visits

Tuesday 3rd July 2012

Last week M. was telling Mirko, who’d come over to watch the Italy-UK match when we came back from the mountains, how he feels around mum when she visits: like a cat around a toddler, who is determined to play, yanking poor kitty out from under the bed by its tail.

October 16, 2012

a theory that explains everything

Saturday 11 February 2012

I’ve just told S about my theory that most of our family have Asperger Syndrome. She was insulted. She said “That’s complete rubbish, I’m not afraid of crowds, that’s complete bullshit.” This is in front of A, who wants to know what we’re talking about, probably relieved that the attention is off him. He told me earlier that the TV was broken. This evening S. told me that he broke it. They were arguing about watching TV, he pushed it, it fell off the table and smashed. S wants to take him to see a neurologist because “he doesn’t recognise any limits.” She tells me this while eating a carrot and play-fighting with A on the bed with the pouf – oh, and A is eating a rice-cake.