Because I am my father’s son – let’s be honest here – there are certain things that I do and feel and believe that on a more critical glance seem quite mad. Or at least peculiar. I have a somewhat neurotic need to pay my bills on time, and when I’m at risk of not doing so I start to feel nervous and guilty. You might even go so far as to say that I feel a bit ashamed, as if I am stealing money from someone only by being at a marginal risk of not being able to pay.
In relation to the coming Big Day, and with both mine and my dad’s feelings about bills, my parents have had an arrangement with Auntie that now when I think about it seem quite distrustful toward me. Looking at it critically, I don’t know whether I should feel relieved about having such a safety net, or if I should feel insulted by the apparent lack of trust.
Auntie is my legal guardian, and since we moved to this house, Auntie has handled our mail. When we’re at school, she makes a point to drive over and empty our mail box. This of course means that we haven’t been able to order things that come stuffed in plain brown envelopes. Not that we would want to, or felt the inclination to, but even had we wanted our sense of propriety and modesty would have prevented us from doing so because Auntie would have seen the envelope, and what would she think of us then?
This does not mean that Auntie has opened the mail, as that would be far too draconian and intrusive even for my dad. An illustration of how it has worked… Two months ago I switched my mobile phone contract from Virgin to BT, and then I started to be billed from BT instead. When I came home, Auntie rang me to ask about the envelope from BT, and what that was about. Then I had to explain the change to her satisfaction. It was a half a minute long thing before she was satisfied that I hadn’t signed up for £3000 worth of streaming mobile films.
Auntie takes her job very seriously, and whatever she has agreed with my parents, she doesn’t budge from. So, zoom forward until today, when we went shopping for the week ahead. Now she says that after the 21st she’s going to stop coming over to check our mail, and here she pats me on the cheek and say I’m a big boy now and can probably handle the mail myself. Thanks for the confidence, Auntie.
Which of course brings out this arrangement that I haven’t actually given much thought about into the front, and I can view it critically and think that it is quite a peculiar arrangement. Then I can think: doesn’t my parents trust me at all, when we scrape off everything down to the bare essence?
In two weeks time, they will come here, and I am wondering if I should ask them, or if I should let this slide as another of the things they have stopped doing and saying. These things that on closer inspection seem so odd.
Mark has injured his arm. Yesterday he went to help Stephen with something, and he came home with it in a sling, and then tried to claim it was nothing. I of course fussed and nagged, and eventually found out that he had scraped the lower arm when some heavy stone had slipped out of his grasp.
There had been some blood, and Stephen’s parents had cleaned that and bandaged the arm, and because of this his employer told him not to come in to work today. That meant that two people used me as a beast of burden today.
I had to carry all the bags from the shopping to the car, which was parked a couple of hundred yards away from the store entrance, and at the end I felt like I should have the arm length of a chimpanzee, and should be able to effortlessly lean on my knuckles when I walked.
One reason it was so heavy, not to mention there were five bags in all and I didn’t want to go several times, was that my wine store has been seriously diminished of late. I’ve fallen behind, and have nearly become a pure beer drinker. Harking back to the idea of being my father’s son, that seems quite a bit like sacrilege, so I surveyed the sorry state of my “wine cellar” and found just one bottle of Rioja and one bottle of Riesling. With Auntie conveniently in our company, I managed to convince her to improve this. So, when I walked out, one of the bags contained three bottles of Chianti, one bottle of Freixenet, and one bottle of Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg. Now I’m ready for everything.
Having stocked up again, I’ve already started to destroying the collection, and we opened the Eitelsbacher and had a couple of glasses. To think that when we met, Mark hadn’t ever drunk much wine. And now, over the last year, he almost turned me into a beer drinker. That alone could have been reason enough for dad to yank me back from this place back to Sweden, I suppose.
After we came home, I spent a few hours writing on my new story, and I think I can see the end now, and don’t expect it to reach much longer than a short novella – unless I make a concerted attempt to introduce new elements that may or may not actually fit the story. Since I’m ambivalent, I don’t think I should, although the voice that has emerged in the story seem to infect everything I write now.
It is a winding, elaborate sort of form that for the moment appeal to me, and which is why the style of this post is written like the story, and as I read it I am not at all certain that it suits the blog. It has an element of dragging out details into being boring, I suppose, and therefore it can probably be useful to dive into it just to learn the limits of it, and avoid it later.
This is something I can do at times, and it may be an aspect of that most peculiar creature that is the writer. It is fun to experiment with language, and try on different hats and shoes and bow-ties in order to pull in the reader, or repel the reader. So much of writing is to achieve an effect that goes beyond the mere words. How you construct a sentence tells something of the narrator, and paints a picture in the reader’s mind. Is it an expert and pedant that is relating the story, or a sloppy analphabetic? One does not need to explicitly say so, but the way one constructs the language that speaks the story impel the mind toward certain images.
Language can then be characterisation just as effective as action, and is this not true in real life as well? Does not the accent conjure up prejudice, and make us paint a person in a particular light depending on the articulation of the words that emerge from the mouth? Does not a crisp posh English paint one picture, and deep Appalachian another?
This style I am using now seems natural for me, for some reason, and it is hard to let go of. Another peculiar thing to consider.