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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Gerry Adams, Boys Own Hero. Oh Africa my Africa.

                                               IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME..........

"You are irrational...now. The boy smirks knowingly,  his entire body language confident, relaxed.
"What! What!" I listen to  my own voice rising an octave as the rest of what I mean to say gets lost in spluttering spitting  rage.
I resolve, I swear to catch myself in the minute before I explode, when he wheels out this piece of head wrecking insolence.   It's his new weapon of choice in all our disagreements. And why wouldn't it be.  It's fantasiclly effective. it's easy. You oppose some deeply held belief, some eager scheme he has, because its basically unworkable, doesn't stand up to daylight, that sort of thing,  and he in all his eighteen year old male arrogance, he, adamant and unshakable as to his rightness, dismisses your opposition thus. And then you're shouting,  he's grinning, and you so badly wish you could go back to that moment before he got you. When you'd be smirking too.

This one's about car insurance. A lot of them are. He needs a car. He could certainly use one for the in and out of college. He might even afford a starter car. Problem is he can't afford to insure it. Which he doesn't see at all.  If only I would do as I ought and solve it for him. He has an idee fixe  that I could and should put him on my own policy " I mean all my friend's mothers do."  Do they???

 I well not let him drive my car, I need my car to get work, my car is my cave. I need my car.

                                                           HEADWRECK

I phone my broker to get a quote for a hypothetical old banger he has his mind on. €4,500 she offers me. She has the grace to hesitate before she comes out with this ransom. "What! What?" "Yeah, I know, I couldn't pay it for my guys either."  Hmm.
So I tell the boy. I tell him to wait?  Until he is actually employed?  And there it is.
Only it isn't.
"But.... you could... contribute!"
"Contribute? What contribute?"
"Well uh what ever. Whatever the Credit Union wouldn't ...like... give me"
"Credit Union? The credit union won't give you anything. You are a student'
"Yeah, they will. See you don't know. My friend got a loan from the credit union. You have to like  save with them, like just €40 a week,  say,  for a while. Then they... "
"Save! Save?"  He doesn't do actual saving. Just financial projecting.  Anyway he is broke.
"Yeah and you...you could, you could take me on your policy, while I'm like saving. You could..you know, give me a loan?"
"But... but haven't we established this? Haven't we said? You have to have your own policy for your own car".
"Yeah, yeah.  But.  I'd be saving. Wouldn't cost what you said anyway. Smoke said you went to the wrong broker. "
"But ....you have no money! I have none either. Not after keeping you and the rest of them up and running,  supplied with Hoodies and Trainers,  Eats,  Wi Fi."
A sigh. "Well then, relax, I'll just get the car and worry about the insurance later? Or,  you can take out a policy for my car and make me a named driver. I mean you wouldn't even have to be in the car with me. The guards never bother with that. I mean All my friends..... etcetera etcetera etcetera
"What! What? But.... what about my car then. I can't have two pol...."
"Well. yeah,  you could use mine, when you need to. My friends mothers.....etcetra etcetera etcetera.
So,  I began to shout a little, and then a lot, in explaining to him why that won't fly.  And so then he tells me how I'm being irrational.

                                                  JUST TELL ME I'M IRRATIONAL.....

I will master this situation. I will learn. After all it's not like I'm a novice. His sister, the beautiful one herself, decided before him that it was time she had a car. She too could have used one. True. We live out the country, poorly served by a bus service given over to private operators since the economic crash,  who trim and delete whole routes if others prove to be more profitable. We are poorly served. Despite protests to local representatives. No one cares.  Actually, people down this neck of the woods have taken to parking their cars at a major roundabout unto the motor way, where the private bus will condescend to pick them up. They leave the cars there all day long. Its incredibly hapazard, dangerous. Another Irish  solution to an Irish problem  .... Anyway, beauty,  she gave me the look, the long disappointed perplexed look, when I refused to pay. The one where she's wondering were you  on the batter (again) when the Mammy Duties and Obligations Manuel was being handed out.

                                                    I"M A FEMINIST I AM.

Of course this is a feminist issue. And I intend to ask my friends on the Feminst Open Forum to take it up. They are the real true feminists, they are not stupid women, like other women. They will know how to respond. I mean men are not so tormented!  We have to stop this pernicious ever expanding mammy-ing. It will only work if we all put down the cross collectively.  Get keepey about our car policies,  place a ring of steel around our cars.  All together now.  I will if you will.  Mammy.

                                              OH, JUST SEND'EM TO AUSTRALIA........

The government, as the law obliges all to have car insurance, might be sorting this and not Mammy. But, yeah, they individually being well paid don't see any problem with the rest of us being left to the mercy of sharks. My own car  insurance is steadily increasing without any claims being made and I hear it every where. My Australian dear ones tell me it is not an issue over there. Insurance is cheap, affordable, even God help us for young men. They have casual work, actual jobs too, for the young.  And believe me friends, this is what they deeply desire. Actual work. As students and after. The independence of that. All those young people here, signed up to a reduced dole, warehoused in that situation. Forgotten. Twenty percent when last counted.

There are ways, where there is will. A car insurance scheme with a curfew, maybe. A limited/modified  accelerator for the boys. Who are zippy yes, but by God can they drive. Taking everything away from them will bite us very badly in the ass.  They, ready to begin, are trapped in the traps. They can't or don't vote. Much. Who speaks for them?

                                  THEY'LL ALL BE LOOKING DOWN THE BARELL OF A GUN

Last week the Boss's horde swarmed in the kitchen.  " Cold.  We're cold. (Hanging at the Old Abbey) Let us in?"  I let them in.  I am Heathcliff to their Cathy,  I am bitten to their vampire, they got me years ago. It was the day after the general election and my radio poured out count results all that day, on the shelf over the girls heads, bent oblivious to their phones, the boys hoovering behind them.  "Oh yeah, that election thing. I wonder what will happen? I mean you know, like..." A solitary girl voice.   None of the others look up from their phones,  respond in any way at all.
"Oh yeah, Gerry Adams." a boy voice. "Gerry Adams" a chorus of boys voices.  "Gerry'll gets us cheap insurance!" the first one elaborated  "As well as..... other stuff?".

"You don't think Gerry Adams will get you cheaper car insurance do you? If he, like, gets in" I ask the boy later on.
"Uh yes. No!" He grins. "Maybe.  But at least he'll tell everyone,  all of them, to fxxk of. Won't he? I just like thinking about that when I'm really pissed off. Seeing as you ask? "

                                          FALLING IN LOVE FOR EVER AND OVER AGAIN

The Boss is back from volunteering at a centre for girls in Kenya. I pick her up early in the morning from the bus, dazzled by  the otherness of it all, weeping bitterly at leaving the Kenyan girls and all the other volunteers behind. She's going back as soon she possibly can.  She is full of astonishment, of wonder at girls so willing to be happy and loving despite the harrowingly abusive things the adults in the world allowed to happen to them. The volunteers spent the week painting a new wing in the centre, putting in electrics, laying concrete blocks in the garden to make a fish pond for the children. In the morning they bring the girls to school. In the evening they take them home again, read to them, eat with them, give them attention. The volunteers sleep in one large room at the centre. They talk talk talk all evening, and are bonded like glue at the end.

The boss is bereaved for days. Struggling to settle. Back here where everything looks opulent and too much.  Back from there, where they were dong real work. Actually transforming a space for the children, by the time they leave. She sits in the car when I pull into our driveway looking at the house. "Sure you'd be doing well if you could find a shed to live in over there. You'd be happy".  She misses the Kenyan girls, the other volunteers. I sometimes wonder if Kibbutz like living is not the most suitable arrangement for the young. Well most of them.  Large families, boarding schools, the Gaeltacht summer schools, are variants of the same. And now they do it virtually, on line. They never really leave a group by inclination.

                                                   YOU'LL BE A LONG TIME DEAD

And so to all those folk who remarked or otherwise conveyed to me that volunteering, collecting money to go to Africa was a Jolly, better send the money, I have this to say.  It was a jolly. A jolly good thing to spend your money on.  For the benefit of the planet. When you and I are dead and dust and ashes, forgotten in the grave,  she, all of them,  will be left to grapple with a world become global in the way people struggle to exist. So get them started, let them see how people live, who people are. Send out your emissaries, don't wait for the world to come crashing down on you.