sabato, novembre 10, 2012

The refreshments of childlessness

I'm on a TENS machine today, courtesy of my Chinese doctor, trying to get this labour ball rolling. A once-hourly auto-electrocution of the back and buttock, starting early as possible and running as late as possible. Not something I ever quite pictured myself doing, I must say, but a lot of pregnancy has involved things I never pictured myself doing. I can add auto-ass-electrocution to the list of things nobody ever warned me about pregnancy, alongside heartburn, over-medicalization, sasquatch poos, and stroopwafel and cheese sandwiches suddenly being really good. 

I should have started with the machine last night but instead we went out for dinner with our only childless friends here, which was lovely. As the F-word and I were driving home we realized that we'd spent most of the night talking about politics and making the filthiest jokes possible as opposed to what we spend our time with our childed-up couple friends talking about - their houses, their children, their health, their income and, once the evening reaches a certain point, their relationship issues. It was an unsettling realization.

The fact is, and last night I had to stare this fact in the face, I get fucking bored talking about houses, children, health, income and relationships. It's just not all that interesting. Not compared to, I don't know, telling someone to sit on their hand for 15 minutes so that when they jack off they can pretend it's someone else, or Julia Gillard's misogyny speech (which was part of a masterful tradition of trashing the shit out of opposition members; she didn't get into the Paul Keating brand of colourful insults like "all tip and no iceberg", "peice of desiccated coconut" or "low altitude flyer", but she didn't need to - that poor dumb fuck Abbott having spent years of public life setting himself up. Almost no notes, and 15 minutes of pure, merciless, factually accurate trash talk. You hardly ever see anything that awesome in an an Anglo parliament or congress, but you can see it relatively routinely in Australia. These people are only good at talking when they're pissed off).

Maybe all that will change when we have children, say, tomorrow or something (WTF?). I guess the centre of gravity of the world shifts quite a lot. But somehow the realization of how things are hemming in for most of our friends here is chilling. I hope it's not inevitable. Again I have to thank goodness for my job, which in any case will force me to keep focusing on big political and macro-economic pictures beyond home renovations and how my spouse is somehow deficient of competency or understanding or things like that. Not that there's anything wrong with the personal but I don't think it can be the only thing on your mind. It puts too much pressure on your immediate environment being your only source of happiness or stimulation. I love the F-word too much to make my relationship with him the absolutely centre-point of my waking consciousness, no matter how emotionally dependent on or attached to him I am in reality. Nobody deserves that much pressure. And my kid won't either. Easier said than lived, I expect.

Fucking eye-ties

Just turned my out of office maternity notice on. Eep. Except my main preoccupation is that Ren still won't come out for two weeks and I'm squandering this expensive, expensive time where my mat leave benefits are something like a third of my big girl salary. Not that it'll happen . . . pretty sure there's no way I'll be going the standard two weeks over. I'm still getting some pressure to have an induction Tuesday, but I'm still feeling in the driver's seat about it . . . nevertheless Ren's head's engaged now and I've been having some contractions, so I'm getting a little less unamenable to the suggestion. I guess I'm hoping he or she just pops out on her own. We've made dinner plans I'm really looking forward to tonight, so hopefully that will do the trick.

Spent a vicious fuckload of time waiting to be seen by the obstetrician yesterday, which let me get most of they way through Christ Stopped at Eboli, one of those books I'd been meaning to read for ages. This morning's appointment let me knock it off. I've been reading tonnes, in part thanks to waiting around for medical people, and in part in panic, anticipating that soon I won't be reading at all . . . or that the reading I'll be doing will be kid's book to a kid for, oh, eight years or so? Anyways, I got to knock off Christ Stopped at Eboli and it was pretty great.

It didn't speak to me too directly in terms of my own cultural experience of the South. We're mountain Calabrian and I suspect have always pretty culturally distinct from how the Basilicatesi are described in the book, with the main difference being how much nicer they all seemed. Seems legit. I've met a lot of people from Basilicata, indeed one supremely unamusing weekend I spent fending off a really, really nice boy from there who'd spontaneously decided he was my new boyfriend - not in the stereotypically macho woppy way, but like something straight out of some sort of doctrinaire Catholic romance novel if such a thing exists, determined to save me from myself because I liked oral sex and smoking cigarettes - and they've all been really nice. Calabrians aren't. We're just not very nice people. Not particularly horrible, I mean not Venetians or anything, but not nice.

You can get the experience of this just by crossing the straits of Messina on a ferry in 20 minutes or so; you're no more or less likely to get your purse snatched in Messina or Reggio Calabria but people will be nicer to you in Messina. Everything cultural in Rome and south of it I've experienced in Italy has been really nice in a somewhat Spanish style, bar Calabria. I love going, of course, because I have family there, so they're nice to me, and so are the other people in the village, because I'm not a stranger. But it must be hard going for tourists.

Anyways, all that having been said, while I didn't feel at any point like I was reading a description of my cultural experience of the South, it's a terrific book that really resonated with me in political terms, in terms of my experience of the South. Carlo Levi's political incarnation was Communist, but the book is a war cry against the spiritual dominance of the nation in all its standard political forms over the region, and that rang true. Calabria is probably more violent and mafiaed up than anywhere else in the country, but I'm reasonably sure that's because of and not despite the role of the national government and the economic dominance of northern investors over the past 60 years or so.

But no time to get into that today. What I really wanted to express was how happy I am that I decided to read it in English instead of Italian. My Italian is good, maybe better than my French once it gets warmed up, but I fucking hate reading in Italian while it's safe to say that French is a damn good time to read. I hate Italian literary expression. I hate the literary verb forms and I hate the flowery fancy flouncy roundabout way Italians write when they're writing something erudite. French literary language is also artificial relative to spoken language but the literary tenses are transparent - usually resembling the present or infinitive - and French writers have been expressing themselves with perfect clarity for a good four centuries.

This real dislike of Italian literature may be a failing of aesthetic feeling on my part, but fuck, does it ever make me want to throw whatever I'm reading across the room.  I can still read the old poetry without getting pissed off; you just read it out loud, and the beauty of the sounds outweighs the opacity of expression. Indeed Petrarca and Dante have a real spareness to their expression that's beautiful. But anything from a fucking novelist - ergh and nope. I think the only exception I can think of offhand is Alberto Moravia, and all I've read of his in the Italian was The Conformist, so I don't know if that's generally true. The big tip-off was hating The Name of the Rose in Italian a few years ago and then loving it in English last year or something. Now I've just given up trying.  

mercoledì, novembre 07, 2012

Perverts, pitocin and paranoia

Post mortems and some sort of national soul-searching about how white men don't matter in electoral terms anymore aside, now that all that nonsense is finished in the States I can come out and say I bet Mitt Romney would be one sick, fun lay. He just has that smooth look about him that screams expert closet pervert who'd figuratively break you in half. If I had to choose which of those men were to be president or even a dinner party guest he wouldn't rate, but he'd be the one I took home. Obama seems like a nice person but he'd be the sort to do it with the lights out, I bet. Probably candles and potpourri and music and crap like that.

I'm seeing the OB tomorrow and my midwife thinks I'll be advised to get induced on my due date because of my blood pressure. I'll probably make a stink about that and insist on waiting for another week, as much as I want to get all this over with. There's no getting around the fact induction makes labour more risky and more painful. The risk is the big thing for me (I can say that now, while I'm not in pain) - risk for the baby, and risk of a c-section. Already having essential hypertension that creeps in whilst pregnant, I really don't want a c-sectioned uterus on top of that. For the next pregnancy, which I'm already thinking about despite not wanting to do all this again at the moment, that'd lift me right out of the low-risk category that lets me do all this with midwives instead of spending hours and hours and hours waiting to see one of the few and very overworked OBs in this fucking podunk town on the one morning a week they take appointments, which is the morning I have the most work to do.

The good news there is that if that IS what happens - if I do end up c-sectioned - it's settled that we're leaving Australia earlier than planned so we can make the next baby somewhere with a functioning medical system. Where being overseen by an OB doesn't involve only being able to get appointments on Fridays despite my work schedual (it drives my crazy; it's like there's an assumption here that women don't work and don't need to schedual things around work, and the biggest problem is that's true for women around here, in large part - offends my feminist sensibilities) and having no continuity of care. Back to big-city Europe and the combined mandatory insurance/national health care schemes for us.

martedì, novembre 06, 2012

You guys aren't fucking done yet?

I'd been hoping to wake up this morning and for the US election to already be over. Shame the time differences aren't quite different enough. This has certainly been the year I've come closest to ignoring it altogether, which has been refreshing. It's tedious to have to pay so much attention to something so totally outside of my control, while also tedious to have to pay so much attention to something whose outcome is ultimately probably quite unimportant for most of the world. The foreign policies of the two parties involved are just not different enough to matter.

I guess I could start caring on the basis of which party is most likely to have policies leading to a devaluation of their currency but frankly it seems like a waste of energy. I'm guessing whoever wins it'll be an ongoing race to the bottom that will continue to fuck the productive economy of my homeland while enriching its bourgeoisie and creating an ever-widening income gap that I plan to be on the money side of when I buy a second home there, but still deplore.

In that vein, Bad Lip Reading has been incredibly helpful.

I find this contextless absurdity to be such effective satire because the scripted nature of two-party politics in the US has become so painfully nonsensical and distant from practical policy that the dubs make about as much sense as actually listening to these people talk.

Say what you will about Australia, and there is a shitload of bad shit to say, and I say a lot of it. But - probably because of its smaller size, probably because the contagion of political puppetry hasn't wholly spread here yet, probably because Australia is just so fucking rich, probably because it's a multi-party proportionally representational parliamentary system, probably because the federal government plays a bigger role in day-to-day life here vis-a-vis the incredibly corrupt and inept individual states - there's still some sort of concrete relationship, even if a tenuous one, between what federal political leaders say and enacted policy. For now. And I've been enjoying it, and it makes US political posturing all the more tedious.

All that having been said, I'll be upset if the people who don't want women to be able to get abortions or birth control win. At 39 weeks pregnant, you appreciate like never before that no one should have to do this until or unless they really, really want to.