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Friday, 29 March 2013


"I WAS going to call you but...but then.....a man in a car stopped to ask if I was Ok.... and my friends gave me tissues, and...and..  the bleeding stopped, and they bought me an ice-cream and I knew...I knew  like  if I called you I'd have to like come home."  The boss has returned from town, her sister in anxious attendance, with a bruised and lacerated lip, some little beast from a gang of  beasts having stoned herself and her two little girl friends in the Park. Why?  No particular reason. They were just  there. The police  assure me that there would be little  point in making a complaint  the beasts being  juveniles etc etc. I don't agree. The boss is reluctant to make a complaint,  name names. I tell her she is not a punch bag for anyone's low-grade craziness. And that her days of roaming free in town with her  girls pals are over. She must content herself with the village till she is much much older.(At least twenty five) The boss is dauntless, and will get about, but she is still a child. Mine.

Afterwards I think of three young  girls,  the spinning stone,  finding only her.   She has a history. She it was who might have lost an eye last year in a bizarre swimming pool incident, a wave maker incompetently managed, and she collected shivering and shocked from school before that,  mugged by a flying fire extinguisher. And so and so forth  back to  when she was pinned underneath the car wheel,  two years old,  in a driveway car reversal nightmare.We were lucky then, a broken leg the outcome. And back back yet  when she was five weeks old, a foot slip as I began to ascend the stairs, and  flying  from my  flailing arms she bounced on every step down.down  before  my  agonized gaze. "Yeah I think we got away with it just about, this time", the doc told me later  in Outpatients,

The thing is, some folks are always in the frame, first up in the firing line. . One of my brothers, a bright and open hearted child, was such. He it was who caught the flying yard fork carelessly tossed,  in his face, the falling bricks from the outhouse on his sweet  head,  and he who waited  in  the path of the car wheel when the brake slipped, and later still  his fingers smashed by  the threshing bullock. No one else. Him, her,. such folk..

Good Friday. No work.  My husbands comes to me having  left the fearsome three to the train station..  A special day.  The holy  space,  the break from the world.  I keep  my childhood memories of church, much and many  mass, the sonorous chanting  procession around the stations of the cross, the arrest before each dark and bloody  picture.  I light a metaphorical candle to the break out in my dizzy twenties, the frantic  house parties devoted to drinking, the pubs being closed. For the whole day.

I think of the gnostic principle; as within,  so it is without.  Took me years to get that.  Now I  get it fleetingly.  What happens to you in the world being  neither random or  punishment,  but reflecting an inner  interpretation,  unconscious, implacable. An old  role tacitly given and accepted, playing out. . I think of the boss, the brother, the Catholic notion  of Christ crucified on the cross  for the sins of the world. Another mystery in enigma wrapped as we see through a glass darkly having sucked up those Lethe waters good. Stoned.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

if you go away ashes. Kilkea.

KILKEA                                                                                                                                            Look , everything's  changing,   new green,  palest pink appleblossom ,"  my husband nudges me "see the  lightening ",  so I do, and he is right. We are walking in beautiful Kilkee Castle,  clutching on to  each other more or less, after a rough raw week.  I  am worrying at  some impenetrably knotty  parenting quandaries, he is pale and recovering from a shattering flu.We tread a well worn path,  past the shadowy old graveyard, the last best tended grave with its heavy burden of  children, through the arched  Castle Gate and out under ancient oaks, copper beeches, sycamores  until our jerky striding slips into an easeful tandem. The war has not gone away, but my vision  expands from a pin point of baffled fury till I find my place in  the vast  greening universe

The evening before I am told by an indignant hissing  Boy that:  I am too strict,  will only allow one hour's internet use daily; true.  Will not allow TV sets in the bedrooms; true. All his friends have TV sets  in their bedrooms; unlikely! Harrass him with daily doses of fish oils; true.  As though he needed to be medicated; maybe.  Force him to rise at 7.30am for the school bus when it is my job to drive him; guilty.  Insist he study for an unconscionable three hours nightly; what can I say.  And impose strict deadlines on visits to his mates, reacting in rabid unreasonable fashion every times he is late; True true true. But then he is always visiting and always late. Oh AND  ALSO his sister is equally aggrieved with my hardline hardcore parenting.... and...and  none of  his friends' parents etc etc etc; hmmm, may or not be true. Basically he and she have had enough and they are not taking it  any more; ???. Right.

Anyway, it all led to a painful falling  out between myself and my husband. He, poor man, midst his hacking and shivering  made the fundamental mistake of explaining to  me WHERE I WAS GOING WRONG. As, on the contrary, in fact,  I was too amenable,  a tad inconsistent,  over indulgent  even.  But...but...but ..NOT!.  And at that we were simply derailed.   I,  overwrought and unforgiving, unable to  locate the reason why I married him in the first place, left him huddled deathly pale on the sofa and took to the bed where I fingered and brooded on my sufferings. And the damnest thing, David Bowie's song Ashes to Ashes  played on a loop in my head, that  whole time. We were listening to his new CD earlier  you see. Don't you?

But not for  long because hey we are married and you can't get out of that one without a tsunami, and also  I need him like air.  So I rose from my bed, grabbed my coat and his hand and made for Kilkea, where we wander like refugees both in a mighty cathedral under the  open sky. We walk and we talk and we promise each other honesty, kindness, to  sidestep the fear and loathing when you cannot  let love in,  and distance is the cruelest thing. We promise. And we go home

Much later on he finds and plays Scott Walker's version of "If you Go Away" on his magical I Pod for me, because it was haunting my head all evening

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Helpless Enchantment. A lone bag lady.

I am off to buy a larger handbag, yes, and not for pleasure  either. I need one. In addition to bills, chequebooks, school alerts and demands for money, and much loose change for children's wants, my bag must now accommodate the internet supply  Broadband Box, . No other way.  I have tried negotiated agreements with my children  re usage, concealing  the  Box in my  house, flinging  it  through the window, and basically all agreements are breached, the house is turned over  to uncover the Box, and panes of glass are expensive. So is comes to this.

"Your'e NOT bringing THAT with you",  my husband grabs the Broadband box, spilling out of my bag as I root for car keys. Well yes. And you can conclude that I am a crazy bag person or this, that the internet, social networking sites, free porn sites, et all are compulsive, addictive, and quite quite  spell binding to vulnerable, still forming teenage brains;. of a power and scope way beyond the capacity of your child to manage.  And it can be accessed from TV,  Laptop, Notebook, I pod, I pad, and common or garden Mobile Phone, so that other than yanking connection wires from the Box and shoving it in your bag, you are powerless against  the onslaught.

I am at the receiving end of constant  vehement, and  passionate arguments from my little addicts. I have heard it all. "On line for two hours??? Nooo, wasn't,  only on for 23 minutes" "but darling the laptop is almost on fire and I can count your searches",  "What!! count my searches? What is wrong with you!!". The martyred elder : "And I mean I just want to spend sometime online with my friends after a long day at school, who are never harassed in this way by THEIR parents, and I mean  WHY  can't I take your  Mac to my bedroom, WHY??" and,  cunningly,  "well,  if you are unplugging the broadband box, can I borrow your I Phone to call Dad?" . I actually consider handing it over till I see her little wheeze.  I have office funded Internet on my phone.. Also Dad is  usually  required to phone her to save her credit  .And then The Boy : "I am having a CONVERSATION here, I mean anyone would think I was a...a  junkie"  as  I snatch his Notebook at two o'clock in the morning.  Yes boy,  I do think.that, yes.

So. Do you allow your  Teen to fall down a rabbit hole each evening,  to where you cannot follow, and they
seemingly cannot return? I don't buy the proposition that the use of these sites  cannot be regulated. Networking sites should be forced to apply an age limit for use, and to limit usage hours.   Porn sites should be encrypted, available on payment of  money only. Fine them massively in default. Close them down.

Children, teenagers, are dying.  In Ireland we have escalating suicides,  self destruction through anorexia,  ghastly  cluster suicides, with a clear connection to social networking sites. Normal development is compromised  by  this daily diversion  of mental and  psychic energy.  What is the matter with us?. Helpless, helpless, helpless  as we stand aside for the Pied Piper.  Unable to insist on regulation. Unable to act.  If you have children YOU know.  And it IS that bad.

But hey, don't mind me. I am just  a woman with a Broadband Box in her bag.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Of Genes, Teens and Affliction. Profound and ridiculous.

"And, after all,  you gotta remember,  take into account,   you've actually  AFFLICTED  them with your genes",  "Huh?? JEANS!!!"  "Yeah, yeah,  the other word.  An' that's on top of  you know all the other hardships,  pressures on them from... um... all sides.  And no prospect of jobs or money any more,. Its just very hard for them  you know ".  I am  confounded by this conversation with my dear friend PK about our teenage children and what to do with them.

I was confounded to start with.  The boy has taken the heart out of me. Having been first persuaded and then dispatched off to do after school study at his place of education,  in this his exam year, he, as I have now learned, never actually went. Oh he stayed in after school, yes, and stood outside the school gate for collection when I turned up, yes,  and duitifully told me that he got lots done, oh yes.   But,  he didn't actually go.... there. He went uptown with his friends, he went  to the pool hall,  he went  to the shopping centre,  he went to his favourite street corner to hang, but never, not once,  did he go to the study hall.

Of course  he betrayed himself in the end. Caught bang to rights. And reaped the whirlwind. Grounded, restricted and banned, internet x box, and  tv, gone, gone and gone.  For weeks.  He is going to the study hall now.    PK warns me about  undue harshness. "But...but." .I protest  "I  mean I arrived, having changing work hours to suit, and  at great trouble to myself to get him every evening after work for WEEKS, so pleased not to be faced with the vision of him lying on his bed earphones plugged in loosely clutching a text book, so happy that the penny had dropped at last.  But.  HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY GO.  Not harsh. No. Am I?"

My husband snorts derisively when I run this by him. "Nope, don't buy it." he says "As to money, all he  has to do is wheedle and he  gets it, and as to  jobs, well ... no,  what does that have to do with HIM , that's YOUR job" and he proceeds to some very derogatory remarks regarding my  dear friend PK's genes. As to the affliction, "now THAT''S  profound and ridiculous both" he finishes thoughtfully.

He may be right.   Ridiculous, definitely.   I have a crystal clear if inconvienent memory of myself, ensconsed in the family sitting room to study in an  exam year,  regularly and hastily whisking  my  novel "Angelique and the Sultan" etc, under the cushion before graciously taking the carefully prepared supper tray, delivered  through the saving  hatch by  my anxious mother. Deviance that.  But..... I came to application later on, and have a constitutional inability to achieve anything unless self driven, and obsessively in to it. Otherwise I am fuzzy and unfocused. The boy tends to that.

Profound, undoubtedly, the very notion of the boy,and all the boys, with their burden of genes and a  life's task of whipping  and chipping the DNA into shape, taming the chemical messenger. But.... I am conceding nothing. I didn't ask for them either.  And now I have passed them on. So let's just  see what  the boy and his kind  make of them. My husband is taking me off down the pub to unwind.