giovedì, giugno 07, 2018

Oh give me a home, where the Germans are rude bastards

I’m still here . . . Are you? If not I can’t blame you. It’s been hard to keep my head, or rather my typing fingers, above the water as work gets busier, children get more interesting, and we keep complicating our own lives whenever it seems like we’re getting into some sort of routine. My latest idiocy has been a three-week work trip to Asia that the Monkey King and my mother have joined me on, as I continue my quest to be both a high-powered executive primary breadwinner and an extended milker. It’s been going mostly well. The China and Japan legs were very successful in terms of showing the mum the world, and work. Japan was particularly child- and senior-friendly, and totally bloody charming to me; I’ll go back, with and without family, as soon and as often as possible.

We’re wrapping up the tour in Thailand, which is much less so. I don’t think it’s my imagination that things feel a little less cheerful and welcoming than they did four years ago. And to be honest the way my personality is shaping up I just can’t stand being in places like this. After our last trip here back in 2014, I divided the world up into four kinds of countries: places that are completely awful for everyone, like, say, Eritrea; places that are awful for poor people but lovely for middle class people, like here; places that are pretty good for most people, like Japan or most of Northwest Europe; and places that are very bad for poor people and pretty bad for middle class people, like North America or the UK.

I think those categories still work for me. And I can’t stand spending time in the second category. Don’t get me wrong; we’re eating at nice restaurants and getting massages and drives everywhere here - I’m not shunning the benefits of having lots of money in a country without lots of money. But I know too much about what’s been happening politically here to imagine that the status quo of poor people just smiling and being polite and deferential is just fine with Thai people, and it all feels icky. And the racialized aspect feels icky too. It feels icky to see the old white men with their young Thai wives here. It feels icky to see Thai nannies carrying white women’s babies for them during shopping excursions.

I know I’m not going to be helping anything by avoiding traveling in countries like this, or India (though I will), and I’m not going to help anything by judging THE FUCK out of all the white tourists who gobble this place up like it’s a Jell-O shot at a sorority party (though I do). But this is me - and me wants to go home to Germany, where service providers are secure enough in their livelihoods and persons to be positively rude 50% of the time. This trip has given me enough perspective that I will positively welcome the rudeness, at least for the next few weeks.

Also, I miss Godzilla so much I could scream. Three weeks was about two and a half weeks too long to be away from him. I think it’s been good for him and the F-word to have some time together, especially over the F-word’s slow time (Germans don’t really work in May), and it’s been good for me to have the time with my mother, and it’s been good for the Monkey King to get only—child levels of attention and affection for a few weeks. But damn, do I miss my big boy. 

venerdì, marzo 16, 2018

What's the point of death?

Wouldn't it be amazing if Death and Loss lived up to their reputations for being crucibles that, for all their horrors, saw us burn away our petty dislikes and our long-cherished sell-by-date-passed grudges? In fact, wouldn't this life with all its ridiculous aspects definitely mean something if they did? And wouldn't this life be some sort of existential nightmare if they didn't?

Christ, there is something so profoundly depressing about a score-settling, dishonest, passive-aggressive obituary. Chop me into pieces, feed me to the birds, and bury my memory in oblivion before that. I mean if those are the things I leave my loved ones with, or the things I'm most pre-occupied with during my last days alive . . . just . . . ugh

martedì, dicembre 05, 2017

Update, per se

Yeah, I'm one of those bloggers who don't really blog now. Oh well. Don't have a moment to scratch myself these days, as the kids don't say. But it's quite a learning time. Here are things I've learned recently that are mainly appropriate for sharing on a blog and not elsewhere:

1. Now I get why so many families, especially Italian families, favour the eldest child. I always thought it was some pathetic peasant-honour-culture-aristocracy-knock-off, and so it may be, but it's a chicken and egg thing between that and the fact that the eldest child has the most scope for pure, idyllic moments of "what is this splendid miracle of life and creation in my arms and before me" because they're alone. This felt like a pretty important thing to get. It makes me forcibly take more idyllic moments with the new Monkey King, who obliges, being a happy little cuddle potato, and I bear it in mind, because . . .

2. Parents totally, totally blame their kids for how hard it is to be a parent. That's a bullshit thing to do, but it's still done, and me being a parent means, among other things, that I need to constantly call myself on my own shit, which includes this.

3. My business back home has complicated tax implications . . . complicated like an AWESOME SEX PUZZLE. There is a part of me, a version in a parellel universe, who is a very happy, very boring international-finance accountant. And that version of me is a fucking sicko in the sack to make up for how boring and detail-oriented her job is. I think I'll write a book about her. 

lunedì, ottobre 16, 2017

Togetherness

Just got back from a two week trip to Canada, where I had some business. The business was concluded to my satisfaction, but it was a devastatingly sad trip, having a front-row seat to one of my brothers carry out stages 3 and 4 of completely torpedoing his own moral and physical existence, and a front-row seat to the impact that is having on the people closest to him.

I was pretty fucking happy to get home yesterday. Speaking of: 

Me: So hey . . . even though the Monkey King is still breastfeeding all the time, I think I'm ovulating again because I actually really want to have sex with you beyond affectionate maintenance.

F-word: That's great news! That means . . . .

Me: We can be frustrated together

lunedì, settembre 25, 2017

An Idiotic Solitude of One's Own

Mum told me once, when I was safely out of childhood enough to not take it personally but still too flip and dumb to think through the horror of it, that when she was a young mother, with three kids in quick succession - Irish triplets you could call them in Canada - that there were times, particularly at family get-togethers where children are encouraged to be rowdy and overtired and oversugared and the jolly, carefree, drunk paterfamiliassholes won't go home when it's fucking time to go home already, when she felt so unsupported, overwhelmed, and unlistened-to that she'd run out to the car to howl with tears.

And during this time in her life she had a recurring fantasy she would comfort herself with while she cried: it was of New York (she'd never been there), where she had a small apartment, all to herself, whose decor was classically simple, spare, and all white.

I don't have three kids in quick succession, I'm brilliantly supported and listened to, and when we're at parties and I say it's time to go, off we go. But a couple of months ago I started noticing that I was looking at Vespas a little too hard. A little too lingeringly. A little too I-could-actually-thatily. It got to the point a couple of weeks ago where this conversation happened:

F-word: You're not seriously thinking about buying a Vespa, are you?

Me: No! Of course not. Don't be silly.

(A few beats as my honesty gets the better of me)

Me: I'm thinking about a Yamaha. They're about a thousand euros cheaper and don't need as much maintenance.

I could use a motor scooter like I could use a hole in my head, and indeed one would be likely to rapidly follow the other. But I guess I had some sort of unexplored fantasy of lonely wind-through-the-air super-woppy freedom, and idiotic as I knew I was to even consider it, I also knew there was an excellent chance that one of these mornings I was going to wake up (or just get out of bed after being awake for a bunch of hours because the Monkey King is a fucking light sleeper) even more idiotic. Idiotic enough to go buy myself a fucking motor scooter.

My mother's New York bachelor apartment is my Euro 3000 motor scooter, which is great in terms of showing how much better I have it than she did, and provoking in that she never could have afforded her idiotic escapist fantasy and I can afford mine so in a moment of weakness I could make it happen.

Anyways, it's not going to happen now. The company I work for is encouraging me to start working out of their offices again, in a nearby but not-nearby-enough-to-commute city, which means more money going out in the normal course of things, and now I can't afford to blow Euro 3000 on an idiocy. If the change happens, and luckily it won't until the little Monkey King is of an age we were planning on him starting kindergarten, I'll have to get an apartment there so as to be able to spend a couple of days a week physically in the office.

Huh.

If it happens, my bachelor won't be all white. But I've already sort of planned what art is going on the walls. And I'll be getting a Murphy bed, which is basically the furniture equivalent of a white colour scheme - fuck, those things are cool and child-unfriendly.