venerdì, novembre 04, 2011

Sweeping cultural generalizations: Australian/French Canadian edition

I'm doing better here. This past week has been the first time I've been able to emotionally realize that we're doing pretty well here; I'd been realizing it financially and whatnot before but this week is the first time I felt a little bit of contentment. Uncoincidentally, it was the week the F-word got a real job.

Still had an episode in the supermarket on Thursday, though, where tears actually came to my eyes. The other night I'd been chatting with some people about the relative merits of English supermarkets (they are public school types, orgasming over how lovely Waitrose is), and I realized at this point I'd be fucking excited to go to a Tesco. Not just in terms of the prices, but in terms of stuff that wasn't crap. Still, I'm getting better at using the farmers and their markets here, partly thanks to the F-word putting in his time at the falafel stall at all of them, and I would say we are eating really good food again now.

And we've got people here, ones who I actually like and like spending time with. Some of them are malcontents like us, most of them have children. It's actually good they have children because there'a a lot of adult talk I just can't tune into, so then I can start drawing or something with the kids. I'm enjoying it while I can. I'm told by all and sundry that when I have my own children, I won't give a fuck about anyone else's anymore.

One of the people we have here is Squidsy, whose wife did the runner with their boy. I feel for him, though not as much as I feel for the kid. And don't wholly not understand the wife, either. I see the impossibility of their situation and it's going to the courts, where it belongs when people can't communicate anymore when they need to.

But I do feel as though they had a massive hurdle to overcome on their way to communcation that tripped them up utterly. Australians are the most Anglo of Anglophones, at least that I've met so far, and that means settling annoyances or disturbances in the continuum with, at worst, passive aggression blossoming into violence or something close to it once a threshold's been crossed. In terms of settling differences through communication that's really not how the French do it - not any of them from anywhere I've met them.  At worst, it's a lot more nasty and high volume right away - skipping the passive aggression and jumping straight into the violent language (or flat-out violence sometimes; France at least has a pretty high rate of wife-clobbering); just usually not the same degree of violence as an Anglo who's really let things fester.

To Anglos the dynamic makes Francophones look like unstable bitches, and to Francophones I think the dynamic makes us look like we're utterly and provokingly emotionally uninvolved, right up until some seemingly arbitrary point, and sometimes the ensuing, unexpected explosion is frightening.

I've been thinking of Bluebird a lot in relation to this, mostly in terms of how relieved he seemed to get when I went ballistic on him, maybe five or six times over the course of our 3.5 year relationship. No matter what sort of fucking Nazi rally bloodboiling rage he was in, once he pushed me over the edge where I couldn't ignore his shit anymore - once I started stamping and yelling and and cursing and storming out the door - suddenly everything was sunshine again, and usually stayed that way for weeks or even months, and when Bluebird was sunshine he was lovely. I remember one of the reasons I decided to leave him was because of that, actually. I just didn't want to be with a man who was training me to be angry. Angry's fine; it's just not the sort of shit I want in my head every day, at least not against the person I'm fucking. Diff'rent strokes.

2 commenti:

Baywatch ha detto...

"once he pushed me over the edge where I couldn't ignore his shit anymore - once I started stamping and yelling and and cursing and storming out the door - suddenly everything was sunshine again, and usually stayed that way for weeks or even months"

that's simply fucking uncanny. gives me shivers. i mean, i suppose it's not that unusual a dynamic. but it mirrors the one I just left: when I would finally lose it, she would melt and and be sweetness and light for the next few months.

you read it as anger training, I always assumed that this to her was love: that when I was losing it, it meant that I cared.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

Oh, I think you're right. I don't think Bluebird always understood that I loved him, not unless I was getting demonstrative in that sort of way. And our relationship trained me to get angry so as to show him how I felt. It's probably not fair to say HE was training me to be angry.

A bit of it has stayed with me - hopefully too much - hopefully just enough to make me friendlier with anger and less passive-aggressive.

And I do dare to hope (and I understand that this sounds completely fucking conceited, but what the fuck) that I in turn taught him a little about how to communicate love more through kindness than loud, paranoid emotional posturing. Before I brutally dumped his ass of course. Sigh. Maybe not.