Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spastic Vs. Toddler: Spastic Wins.

I know I am in the right, that my fury is justified, but for some reason I can't put my finger on Why.


It had all started so well. A day out with Favourite Daughter and Favourite Son. I do not drive so the weather is an important factor at this time of year, what with God playing 'Biblical Metreology Catchphrase' ('It's a good guess but it's not the right answer') and everything, so I opt for one of Europe's largest retail 'experiences' which also happens to house the largest indoor fair/adventure park/ emporium of gypsies-who-went-to-university.

Upon the bus there I notice that the sun is shining. All three of us feel its rays upon our face. FD says so. The sky is blue.

Fuck This, I think, and we get off before we get to the Citadel of Air-Conditioned Commercialism and go to the Pond.

We buy bread along the way and I meet an old friend who hugs me.

They call it a 'pond'. I'm not sure what the rules are, but if you need a craft with an out-board motor and twenty minutes spare time to get from one end of it to another, it should no longer be called a 'pond'.


Being the height of winter no-one in their right mind has been out to feed the wildlife. We are instantly the best friends of every duck, mallard, swan and those big things that look like ducks but are larger and darker that I can't remeber the name of. FS laughs and laughs. He's not really done this before, not to the extent of having creatures he's never seen before take bread from his hands. FD conscientiously makes sure the smaller ducks do not get left out.

The pond is in the middle of a large amount of grass-land. There is a band-stand but thankfully no God-forsaken 'play-area'. Just lots of wide-open space, grass, clean real air and clear blue sky. The children dance. Not wishing to ruin the mood I 'throw some shapes' myself. FD discourages me from doing so.

The weather changes so with heavy hearts we get back on a bus and retire to an air-conditioned enviroment. Well. My heart is heavy, the children couldn't give a fuck. They're children.

Some hours later, after much anguish, bickering and squandered cash we leave the Land of Fun or whatever the fuck it's called. I don't suppose they were allowed to put a sign saying 'Theatre of Disillusionment' out the front.

We're all at that wonky-blood-sugar, slightly over-excited and really fucking knackered stage. As far as my offspring are concerned, they're in a casino and it's four in the morning and they're wondering how the fuck to explain the unauthorised overdraft in the morning.

Two-year old Favourite Son is in his push-chair (he doesn't need it, but after six hours on my feet I wouldn't turn it down either), Favourite Daughter is holding my hand. The front wheels of the chair are fixed, so manouverability is an issue.

There is a certain etiquette regarding dealing with the general public when steering a difficult push-chair, and it falls into the following hierachy:

1. Adolescents walking four astride and blocking all coming like they fucking own the place: Aim for the middle and take as many out as you can.

2. Random single people who think that gazing at the non-existent skyline is a substitute for watching where they're going: Aim for the ankles, but also be sure to apologise if you fell one of them.

3. Other people with push-chairs/prams: Roll your eyes at each other in some fake 'oh gosh, you as well, oh, we're all in it together' complicity and then spend so long apologising, carefully jostling and being 'nice' that everyone near you wishes you were dead.

4: Old people. Just let them do whatever they're doing. They'll die soon.

But this fucker.

I mean he is RIGHT IN OUR WAY. With his middle-age and his chinos and his sensible shoes and his ugly wife, both staring beautifically into the middle distance and not moving whilst evryone sidesteps them. He CANNOT not know that me, daughter and be-seated toddler son need to get by their little world of People's Friend delight.

I stare for a bit. I nudge his foot with a wheel. He gazes through me and does not move. To get around him and his dumpy fucking wife would involve doing a push-chair wheely, the equivalent of a ninety-degree hand-brake turn, a four-yard detour and then doing the whole thing again but in reverse just to get back on track. And doing it one-handed, because I cannot let go of Favourite Daughter's hand because of all the paedophiles and that.


It quickly transpires that they are not moving because they are forming some sort of human-shield against the crowd to allow their spastic son/patient/middle-aged-guilt-alleviating-respite-care-case to manoeuver his
electric Stephen Hawking-style chair out of whatever shop he was in. Early Learning Centre I would imagine; he didn't look that bright.

Their entire attitude was thus:

Look everyone. We have a Mong. Not just a Mong, but a Mental, as evidenced by the spittle dribbling down his chin. Aren't we great? Us with this potato-head. We don't think of it as a burden. In many ways it's a gift. And anyone here who needs to get by us before the next millenium to conduct their non-flid related activities can just FUCK OFF.

I am impotent with rage.

After some time Davros gets it right and all three motor happily along. As happy as they can be I suppose.

I know I am wrong. That although Favourite Son has the irksome habit of occasionally requiring pushing-around in a chair and the even more tiresome habit of shitting himself at inopportune moments, he will grow out of this at some stage.

Even so. FUCK'S SAKE.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I fear I am about to lose a lung.

I am At Work, and laughing so hard at the most inappropriate comment I have ever heard that I am concerned I may hurt myself. Anyway.

Three days previously.

I am In The Pub.

My sister has just introduced myself to an old friend of hers.

Sister: She's got an odd sense of humour, mind.

Old Friend: I find it's always best to establish people's boundaries so I don't offend them.

Me: Sensible.

O.F: So. The disabled?

Me: Intrinsically amusing.

O.F: Good. AIDS?

Me: You've got to laugh.

O.F: Fine. Cot death?

Me: Got to draw the line somewhere. That's it for me.

Having established this, we chat for awhile and I discover she works for an independent television company that produce content exclusively for Channel Five. Which did not surprise me.

Anyway. Three days later.

Myself and Uncannily Similar are in the office, discussing our plans for that Saturday night . It is decided that three or four of us are to meet at an unbearably swanky establishment for a 'boy's night out'.

Normally the term fills me with dread, conjuring as it does images of belching competitions, endless discussions involving football, mobile phone tariffs and 'birds', and ending - if it is a particularly good night - with the ignition of digestive gases. Fortunately, my friends are all in their mid-thirties and content themselves with talking amusing nonsense, attempting to dance, complaining that it's a bit loud and 'can we go somewhere quiet' and then falling over because they're not in their twenties anymore and are not used to drinking so much so quickly.

That's my friends. Not me. (It's always a 'friend' isn't it?)


One of our colleagues is very girly, very sweet and very thick. She reeks of innocence. And she has overheard us.

Sweet But Thick: Oh I wish I could go out on a Saturday. But all my friends are always busy with their families and things.

Uncannily Similar: Come out with us!

Me: Yes. We'll look after you.

U.S: Yeah. We'll show you a good time.

S.B.T: Oh really boys? What do you have in mind?

U.S: Well. Have you seen that film 'The Accused'?

Uncannily Similar was never much for establishing boundaries. Perhaps he should start.
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