Monday, January 16, 2006

Continuity and quality

In my life I always liked to have the same good things in place, and badly missed them when they went. Once anything had become familiar and positive I preferred to keep it around me rather than many who continually look for the new. At least with each area I gradually got to know what I liked, and if present saw no reason to want anything different.

Being part of anything and adding to it has shown itself as the most interesting aspect of life to me, whether it’s a footballer’s career or people in the big brother house, while they’re at it they continue to add a new chapter each day they’re at it. Like the last day anywhere, when you know you’re leaving, isn’t it so focused that you realise how important it is and remember whatever happened as being special, whatever it was?

So this relates to every aspect of my life. I have categories, the two most important being people and places. Sadly virtually every aspect that was important to me has gone now, and I’ll relate how they arrived, as part of my theme of answers and control over life, to show how little say we have in their presence or absence in our lives.
One thing writing this (it’s one I did on paper first, I do sometimes now for the benefit of my readers…well really if I get a new idea before getting on the computer) did was, just like in therapy, allow me to discover two new aspects of my life I hadn’t been aware of before, which I’ll mention as they are pointed out.
The first big shift was at 21, when my mother left. Now in a house with just three people, two male, the loss of one, especially the only one of the opposite balancing sex, means more than in any other setup (except two people). Things had gone before, namely when I was dragged away from my comfortable and happy community at 5 to go to an anonymous place in an area I didn’t know. Gradually it become home, but I missed the old place, and only appreciated the new sometime after I’d left 28 years later. Then my little girlfriend moved a few years after we moved in, which looking back was really the closest thing I ever had to marriage. She only lived two doors away, often slept over, bathed together and even went to the loo together a few times. Imagine 8 year olds but married and that’s probably as close as you’ll get to how it was. She was a year older and bossed me around but she was closer than a sister and a lot more of course as we really began to develop a childlike relationship. That must have been the first major friend I lost, she only moved a mile away but was no longer bothered with me as she was growing up and was happy to leave me behind.

By the way, I do have a totally genuine reason for writing this today, as I saw someone for the first time in over 4 years today who was the closest thing to a family member I ever had, who has been mainly abroad for ages now but makes the odd trip back. I realised how important having the right people and things around was to me, so here I am relating it.
As well as friends, family and places, the other things that count to me are designs of houses and cars, train tickets (collected for 35 years) and TV and radio programmes and entertainers. Jimmy Savile coming into Big Brother today was also a little of my past returning, as I remember watching him on Top of the Pops when I was about 3, and he hasn’t really changed.
One thing I realised when writing this (when I’d finished, actually) was if the old is replaced by something as good or better then it’s usually fine (besides losing family members who can’t be replaced) as it’s almost as much about a minimum quality in your life. So when Ben Elton and Harry Hill replaced Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Marty Feldman I didn’t mind much as he was just as good in his own way. But otherwise houses and cars have gone from a dream to a nightmare
(yes, this is what they're building again in the UK, like there weren't enough already...)

in my opinion. The worst old houses are now being imitated, whereas the amazing designs from the past in cars have been replaced by computerised designs that pay no attention to appearance, only performance.

Recent changes have been the final loss of Routemaster London buses last month, after almost 46 years of them in my world, and I took many pictures, knowing a few years ago they were on the way out. We still have a few things from my birth, like The Archers on the radio, but few strings now can be traced all the way back to 1980, let alone 1960 or before.

But people are top of my list, and the other thing I realised when writing about it was what makes a person a close friend of mine. They either qualify or they don’t. I will explain. When I was about 14 and suddenly meeting loads of new people after my discovery of clubs and discos, started thinking after a few weeks whether each new person would become a new friend. I couldn’t do a thing about it, they either made it or not. The average time they stayed friends has been 20 years. They mainly drifted away following marriage, a couple went away after leaving school and the final one went abroad exactly 4 years ago. But I met them from firstly my parents, then school, holidays (one every year in particular) and teen discos. I still meet new people but for whatever reasons none have clicked as new friends since the last regular went.
A wife to me was always another and ultimate level, and having none to compare with can only hold this out as an even higher level of person I may find correct or not if it happens. That was the relevance of my childhood experience, as I felt right being with her regardless, no judgement on either side, free to say or do anything and fully understood. I had this again when I was 15 but that was the ‘Vivienne’s fucking bitch from hell of a mother’ story from earlier on. That woman did as much as a person could to ruin my life so anything I call her is only harmless words in comparison, though she isn’t around to read them anyhow. As I said before, one person’s decision.

Old school reunions and friends reunited have helped keep a little thread going to the past, as has seeing my Mum just up the road from where I used to live, and spending lots of time in the area generally. Few of the people are left, including those I worked with (in adjoining buildings) a mile away until 1997. If I had the cash I’d just buy my old place and probably never move again, now I appreciate its total qualities.
My mental and possibly even physical health ought to improve if I’d get back some of these areas in my life, and after leaving my old house have since learned to look at any good things still in my life, big or small, and enjoy them while they’re still here. Some people prefer the new, travelling, different places and people and may never settle down. I see the good in my life, and settle with it. That makes life a lot easier if those things are there as I don’t aspire to more or new, but is a right pisser when they go. And to tie it all up, they are one thing with little or no control over. Like our dreams, even the same one can drift from dream to nightmare and back independently, and whether we realise it’s a dream or not, we are only really witnesses to it. As I said, I do what I can to bring those aspects into my life in every way I can think of, but short of buying a car plant and making the damn things my own way, or the same with houses, and beyond that I’m not going to invent a couple of new friends or make the million I need to move to the old patch or even place. I have exactly the same as we all do, what is. Probably technically fairly average, but when you’ve had the best in nearly every way (short of a partner) you know the difference each part that goes. And returns.

5 comments:

Sharon said...

Old and comfortable has a lot going for it weather you are talking about enviroment, friends or clothing. That favorite old sweater gives you a feeling of warmth and fits just right and if you are lucky places and people give you the same feeling. It's never easy to give up what is familiar and comfortable. But as we move on in life if we are lucky we discover new people and places that give us that same feeling of comfort and familiarty.

Anonymous said...

What you are saying is that you are this messed up mentally because your 9 year-old wife left you when you were 8; your parents moved to a new house when you were 5, and nothing was the same since you moved.

You were 5, for bloody sake! You should have been able to adjust! When your 9 year-old wife moved a mile away and grew up, it should have been an indication for you to grow up to.

All your problems stem from you reliving your childhood in your mind. In almost all of your posts here, you always...always go back to when you 5 years old or 8 years old or 3 years old.

Know this...you are NOT 3, 5, or 8 years old anymore. You are a grown man in your 40's...stop being so autistic!

David said...

It's so easy to find trouble when you're looking for it. God forbid one day I write something you actually approve of, but you'd be more likely to open a vein than that.
I simply listed my original losses. They weren't the worst, just the first times. The worst, as I said, was when my mother left and I was a lot older. But the point was that gradually after 42 years all important continuity in my life had gone. That is why (if I am) I am screwed up. Until then I always had something to fall back on.

Question all you like, but for God's sake don't use such a condescending tone.

Philosopher Newport said...

uh, troll???
online bully.
better to switch to "blogger only" comments settings.

messed up? for what? for whose plans? whose messed up? according to whose criteria? a troll's?

but even if it were a so-called professional or authoritative criteria it would still be human and therefore subjective & ultimately untrustworthy.

believe nothing and no one about any thing.

the world you're in is mad, you're not. and if you try to make the world un-mad you will surely go mad.

David said...

Thanks Al, I think some people here my benefit from reading some of your words from your book, though the meaning is unlikely to be understood by those who prefer the norm.
I'm up to p90 so far, and will review it as soon as I'm finished. You've clearly seen through many of the illusions of life, and to try and see that from the side of the players of the game must be almost impossible. Just another paradox but part of the dance.