On the last day of February last year, I was sitting roughly the aforementioned dozen paces from where I am now, in 'work-town' Wetherspoons, when I took my phone from my pocket, and made a call. The phrase 'life-changing' is one of those overused cyphers, often signifying little or nothing, but that call really did change everything. A year on, I'm still sitting, rather dazedly, in the fallout, none the wiser as to where my life will, ultimately, go, or even where I want it to go. What I really want is so inaccessible that it can be virtually disregarded, while none of the practicable alternatives hold much, if any appeal. Still in limbo, still looking back at the smouldering remains of those bridges. With another life, lost forever, on the other side.
This post has, in the last eight hours or so, already had an on/off history. It began life as my framing in my mind a response to a comment left on my post of yesterday, which soon seemed to be developing sufficient substance to warrant a post of its own. I was at work this morning, though, so I didn't have the opportunity to write down my thoughts straight away, and, by the time I was making my way back from work a couple of hours ago, I was beginning to wonder whether to bother with it, whether it would be a waste of time and effort, more words spilled in a vain effort to engage with a world that has already, for the most part, made up its mind about me and those like me. What has finally convinced me to go ahead and write, though, was the fact that the comment, and the question it contained, was the closest since I created my 'An invitation to a discussion' page last summer to the kind of discussion I had in mind. So, in that spirit, here goes.
The comment I received referred to the encounter I had with the boy on the bus yesterday afternoon, and whether I thought what had happened was appropriate. To address that point, I'll describe what happened, and how it came about, in rather more detail. The day had consisted, as many of my days off do, of my roaming around London, mostly by bus, just watching the world go by, and giving me something to do that doesn't involve me sitting in the small room where I currently am. I knew that I needed to get back to 'domicile-ville' reasonably early, having to be up so early this morning, so I planned a route from where I was at around 2:30 yesterday to take me to the station I referred to in the previous post, or, rather, the pub outside, where I'd decided to have a couple of drinks before heading back. The easiest way of doing that was a shortish train journey, just four stops, then onto a bus route which I'd rarely used before, and never, as far as I could remember, used in that (southbound) direction, but which took me straight to where I wanted to go. By the time I boarded the bus, it was around 3:15, heading towards the end of the school day, when there is often a goodly amount of 'eye candy', in my terms, in evidence, but I had no idea whether this particular route was good or bad in that context. I'd already been on what was a busy bus, probably nearly three-quarters full, for around twenty minutes when it arrived at a stop where numerous homebound senior school pupils, male and female, were waiting. I saw the group of boys, six of them altogether, waiting, and given that no-one was sitting next to me at that point, I did have hopes that one of them might end up on the spare seat to my right - one, in particular, reminded me more than a little of R, the boy from my own schooldays who I fell in love with when I was 17, but, in the event, it was another of the group who sat next to me. Two of the others managed to acquire the double seat behind me, and my seat-mate spent most of the next twenty minutes turned to his right, and with his back to me, more or less, talking to his friends (And, as an aside, the sentence in the comment along the lines of 'he's just a child', while undoubtedly correct in a legalistic sense, brought a little wry smile to my lips, because some of the conversation the boys were having, which I couldn't help but overhear, given that I was sitting right in the middle of it, as it were, suggested that they weren't exactly wide-eyed innocents, not that I would behave any differently towards them as a result). And that was where the inadvertent body contact came in. I didn't initiate it, did nothing to accentuate it, and, as far as I can see, could have nothing to mitigate it, other than actually getting off of the bus several miles short of my destination, because I had the window seat, and had already shifted my ample frame as far to my left as the structure of the vehicle allowed. Having said that the situation wasn't of my choosing or contrivance, though, because it wasn't, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm sexually attracted to pubescent boys, so to have one so close, albeit accidentally, was something I found exciting. As far as 'action', or maybe better, reaction, goes, though, it was all in my head. I simply sat there and made the most of it.
Which leads me onto a more general point that sprung to mind this morning when I was considering my response to the comment. I've often quoted Nineteen Eighty-Four in various contexts, and another line from Orwell's book came to me earlier - 'Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull'. Because if my private, passive enjoyment of what happened on that bus yesterday is seen as inappropriate, it seems to me that the spectre of 'thoughcrime' is in the air again. 'Paedophiles' are the softest of soft targets, a group vilified by virtually everyone, 'fair game' for every politician wanting to win a cheap vote or bar-room loudmouth wanting to prove his 'red-blooded' credentials, a group of whom no-one dares even to say anything less than the utterly condemnatory 'party line' for fear of being tarred with the same brush - I read a report some while ago (although I can't seem to find it at the moment, so perhaps it should be taken with a pinch of salt) that doctors and others proposing to attend a conference to discuss 'solutions' to paedophilia were targeted with hate mail, even death threats - so if anything resembling the Orwellian definition of 'thoughtcrime' is ever enacted, those attracted to the young are likely to be one of the first targets. And quite right, too, many would doubtless say. Except that once the precedent is set that the government, any government, can define what people can and cannot think, where does that process end? Freedoms, political, intellectual, even sexual - how many jurisdictions still outlaw homosexuality, and how many more would, given half a chance? - are hard to win, and easy to lose, and just as easy to lose by complacency as revolution.
None of what I've written here is intended as a 'justification' for who I am and what I want. I don't feel the need to justify myself in that way, because I didn't choose to be the way I am - as I've said before, I'm not especially proud of it, but nor am I especially ashamed. It just is. What does matter, though, is what I do, which is a choice under my conscious control. And, in that regard, for the overwhelming majority of my life, my conscience is clear.
It's the last day of what's proven to be a week off - I could, had I chosen, have worked overtime shifts yesterday and today, but declined, partly because of the uncertainty about my ex's dad, but just as much because I simply didn't want to - and I've been out and about, as usual. I've seen a few new bits of West and North West London, not wildly exciting, but new to me, before ending up in the Wetherspoons opposite the last Greater London station on the line to 'domicile-ville', from where I'll make my way back shortly, given that I need to be up at 5:00 in the morning. The bus that I caught to get here proved to be a good pick, it being 'cutie time' while I was aboard - not only were there some very nice sights to be seen from the windows, but I spent 20 minutes with a more than passably cute boy, 12-ish, sitting beside me, and, indeed, as he was turned in his seat to talk to friends sitting behind us for much of the journey, inadvertently leaning against me. He did look my way and move on one occasion, no doubt worried that I might have been annoyed, little knowing, of course, that I was loving every minute! Yeah, I know it falls into the 'sad and desperate' category, as experiences go, but any oasis in my particular desert of solitude is welcome.
I've had to bite my tongue, or, perhaps better, my typing fingers this morning to avoid the possibility of provoking an argument on someone else's blog. I'm happy to address the issue, and anything arising from what I want to say, here, though.
The post in question featured a very well-known female singer, and prompted a response from one of the regular commenters which included the phrase '(she's) pretty hot....I'd do her'. There's nothing like profound and insightful musical analysis, and that, I'm afraid, is nothing like it. If that kind of boorish, disrespectful and, frankly, misogynistic remark is what it takes to be a 'real man', I'm quite happy not to be a member of that particular club.
I've only just realised that I forgot about an anniversary that fell yesterday - my blog was three years old. Thank you to everyone who comes to visit, and especially to my followers, long-suffering souls as they are, for their friendship and support over the piece. My appreciation is profound and sincere.
I read a post in one of the atheist/sceptic blogs I follow earlier, a post whose main thrust was to highlight the homophobic bigotry of yet another fundamental christianist. Not for the first time, the quoted claptrap included the conflation of homosexuality and paedophilia, which, quite rightly, the blogger decried. He went on, though, to enumerate the reasons he considered the two things to be distinct, which was when, I'm afraid, he raised my hackles, as well as displaying that his understanding of the issue of those who are attracted to individuals under the age of consent doesn't go much beyond the average tabloid hack. The phrase that particularly irritated me, and which prompted the thought in the title of this post, was 'paedophilia is the predation of children'. No, it bloody well isn't. Paedophilia is the attraction of an adult towards, to use the correct definition, a prepubescent child, although, of course, the word is (mis)used much more broadly to mean any permutation of relationship or attraction between an older and a younger person that the particular speaker/writer, or their society, disapproves of. Sexual predation, as far as I'm concerned, is the coercion, be it physical or emotional, of one individual by another to engage in sexual acts not of the victim's choosing, and is independent of considerations of age or gender. Why do so many people, even those, like the blogger in this instance, otherwise liberal and tolerant, seemingly find it such an intellectual challenge to distinguish between what a person is and what they do in this one specific area? I've said it before, and I'll say it again - what I am, and what I want, doesn't make me, and others like me, intrinsically evil. It's how you live your life, in all its aspects, that makes you a good or a bad person.
For an hour or so this evening, it looked as though I might have been making an impromptu trip to Cornwall tomorrow. My ex rang me and told me that her dad isn't at all well, and that she might need to head to the Midlands, which would have meant there being a need for someone to look after our daughter. Not that, at 15, she needs an awful lot of looking after, but she's still not quite old enough to be left to completely fend for herself for an indeterminate period. After a series of phone calls, though, between us and between my ex and her sister, it seems that her dad's condition isn't quite as serious as it appeared to be at first, so my ex has decided to put her trip on hold for the moment, and approach it in a slightly more planned fashion. I made it clear to her, though, that I'm available to ditch work and go, as and when circumstances dictate, and while I'd obviously always do it for our daughter, I'd just as readily do it for her, too. As I've said before, I still love her, even if the feelings aren't reciprocated.
That's how I'm feeling at the moment, both physically and emotionally. I wouldn't say I was feeling ill, exactly, but I certainly don't feel as though I'm firing on all cylinders, either. Quite why that should be, I don't know, although I have had a bad back for more than a week now, which has led to me not sleeping well, even by my low standards in that context, so maybe I'm just tired. The emotional side of things is largely to do with the perceived issues in my relationship with my daughter, which, while it's only a potential problem so far, is something that would be a major concern if it progressed from the potential to the actual.
That said, though, the past few days have been largely enjoyable. It was lovely, of course, to see my girl and spend some time together, and that has been followed by a visit from my brother and his wife, to do what they decided they wanted as their Christmas present from me - a brewery trip, to Fullers in Chiswick, which we went on yesterday afternoon. We went out for a meal afterwards, they stayed over at 'domicile-ville' last night, and we had lunch out today as well, before they had to head back early this afternoon. It was nice to see them, the company and conversation were more than pleasant, and the trip yesterday was something out of the ordinary, albeit that I had been there before some years ago.
Now, though, it's back to what passes for normality these days, on my own for the rest of my long weekend, mooching around West London, no doubt. I'll try and make the best of it, anyway.
I woke, for the second time of asking, having been awake for an hour earlier, just after 9:00 this morning, from the middle of a rather odd dream. I dreamed that I was trying to buy two tickets online for a U2 gig, but before the tickets were released, I had to answer a list of impossible general knowledge questions, impossible because they related to non-existent things. I remember saying in the dream that I couldn't do it because I was too tired, just as I woke up feeling very tired. Does any of it mean anything? I doubt it somehow, but maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me some deep truth, who knows?
Of more real world concern, though, is something that might, at some point, drive a wedge between my daughter and I. I asked her last night if she would read the first part of my current story, still in draft in Nephelokokkygia, and give me her opinion. She thought it well-written, but when I asked if she would want to read more, the 'issue', or potential issue, surfaced - she said she wouldn't read it because of the subject matter. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I've been exposing my daughter to pornography, this story is, at least as it currently stands, and as it's currently envisaged, sexless - it's a love story, basically. But it does feature, as many of my stories do, a man and a boy. The reason I'm more generally concerned, though, is that it seems to suggest that my daughter, as, of course, is her perfect right, disapproves of what I want. As I said to her when we discussed it this morning, she's so much the centre of my universe now that I don't want to take the slightest risk that I might lose her, and if that means the subject never being raised again, then sobeit. She's been so supportive of me over the past nearly three years, way beyond anything any reasonable person could expect from someone of her age, and I would never want to try to push her further than she's able to go.
....hurt is never far away. My daughter and I, after a leisurely start to the day (certainly on her part), spent the afternoon and evening in London, meandering about, as is our wont. Part of the objective was for her to look for a birthday present from me, and to that end we went first to Denmark Street, well known for musical instrument, and, in particular, guitar shops, before going on to Camden Market for her to look for clothes. In the event, neither visit achieved the desired end, although I did buy her a couple of books in Foyle's, perhaps the best known of London's bookshops, just across the road from Denmark Street. I'll transfer some money into her bank account so that she can choose something to her taste once she goes back home. And that's where the hurt comes in. The fact that we get on so well, that we're very often on the same wavelength, makes it so hard for me to live with the fact that I really hardly ever see her these days, a couple of days here or there rather than her being a consistent part of my life, as she was, and as she should still be. She's pretty much the only good thing left from the wreckage of my former life, so the lack of contact between us is all the more painful. Days like today, I could very easily walk away from my job, and all that goes with it, and go and find a cheap bedsit or equivalent in Cornwall, just to be near her. It wouldn't take very much at all to push me in that direction.
And so is she! I've said a good deal about my daughter's talents, maybe coloured by a bit, or a lot, of paternal pride, but her art isn't really something I've mentioned much. I can't imagine why, when this is the sort of thing she can do.
I saw this for the first time earlier on this evening, when we were out for a meal, and I was just gobsmacked by how good it is. Yeah, I'm biased, but even allowing for that, it's a super piece of work.
I'm distrustful, even, almost, resentful sometimes, about received opinions, about those who would tell me what music/literature/film/food/insert whichever lifestyle choice you wish I should like, and, even more, about those who would try to impose a particular worldview on me. I like to make my own mind up about issues, from the trivial to the life-shaping, and about people, too. I never respect anyone because of the position they occupy, I respect them, or not, as the case may be, for who they are themselves, and how they fulfill the role they're entrusted with. Respect has to be earned in my book, never assumed. And, of course, I fully accept that people should approach me and my views in exactly the same way. I'm not a 'yes man', and I wouldn't respect anyone who behaved sycophantically towards me (not that I expect that anyone would!). My attitude has caused me problems at certain times in my life, particularly in hampering my progression within my company during my years in the management grades, but I wouldn't ever have wanted preferment at the cost of my own self-respect - either promote me on my merits, or not at all. I'm not afraid of tilting at icons, either, be they spiritual or, as in something I posted elsewhere earlier today, cultural. Even if few agree with me, even if no-one agrees with me, I always try to be true to myself. I am who I am, as I've said before, and I can't be anyone else, so I want to live as honestly as I can, especially now that (maybe belated) honesty has cost me so much. And if a few icons get roughed up in the process, sobeit!
He's wearing glasses, which is not my favourite thing (but, then, so am I, given that I'm on the Kindle, rather than my laptop!), but, otherwise, he's very cute, and not much more than ten feet away. Sunday dinner with the family in the pub, you can't beat it. Especially when the family includes a cutie!
I started writing a post about someone who was quite special to me, for quite a few years, and who I've been thinking of for a while this evening. A woman, as many years older than me as my ex was younger, who might, had circumstances been a few percentage points different, have been a very significant part of my life. But I can't bring myself to drag it all back to the surface. It would just be a case of flagellating myself for no valid reason. It's a thing of the past, and the past is, as they say, another country, totally inaccessible. 'What-ifs?' solve nothing.
My daughter, that is, 15 today. As she said the other day, though, it's a bit of a nothing birthday in terms of any new things she's legally entitled to do that wasn't the case yesterday, and she's even more peeved that she's got to go to school today - her birthday falls, more often than not, in the half term holidays, but that break is a week later this year, with Easter being relatively late. Still, she's got a few things to look forward to next week - she's going to Bristol for a gig on Monday, staying over with friends afterwards, and then coming up here on Tuesday to stay for a couple of days (I hope she's looking forward to that part, anyway - I know I certainly am, not having seen her yet this year).
Yesterday came and went quietly - it was my first Valentine-free Valentine's Day for over twenty years, at least in terms of giving, my ex not having reciprocated for a few years past. It was one of those days that I thought might have caused a few emotional flutters on my part, but, in the event, I was pretty unconcerned. Maybe I am, finally, beginning to come to terms with what's happened over the last year, even though there's still no real focus to what I do and where I go next. I'm still marking time, to a large extent, trying to decide the best path for me, and the practicalities involved in finding and following that path. In the meantime, I just keep on keeping on - I had a text asking me to work an extra shift on Sunday, to cover for a rostering faux-pas, about half an hour ago, and I've agreed. Why, other than habit, I couldn't say.
I'm not going to get into the relativity of it, because we did all that recently. All I'm going to say is that it's bloody cold out! I've been off today, so, predictably enough, I've spent the day in town again. As the day has progressed, though, it's become substantially colder, and it wasn't all that warm to begin with. Around three-quarters of an hour ago, I made it into 'work-town' Wetherspoons, and I'm now luxuriating reasonably close to a nice, warm (gas) fire, pleased to announce that I can now feel my fingers again!
I had a longish and interesting chat with my daughter while I was on the bus coming over here, starting with a discussion around the 'nature of time' speculations I blogged about yesterday - she leans in the direction of time being an invention rather than a discovery, too - and ending with the fact that she finds many of her coevals irritatingly unintelligent and immature. Being bright can be a double-edged sword, as I know all too well - I would never want to wish my intelligence away, and neither, I think, would my daughter, but it isn't necessarily an attribute which many find admirable, which can make it as much a burden as a blessing. Sometimes it's easier to be part of the crowd, but, ultimately, it's far less interesting or rewarding, in my opinion.
I bought myself a new watch today. Nothing particularly exotic, and certainly not expensive, but I liked the look of it, so I decided to treat myself. I can't remember exactly when I was given my first watch, but I was definitely under 10, and, for the next forty years, I wore one for the vast majority of my waking hours. Over the past five years or so, though, I seem to have gone from one extreme to the other, rarely, if ever, having a watch on my wrist. Why that should be is an interesting question. Could it be, perhaps, that I've felt the 'chariot of time' pursuing me, and don't want to be reminded of how little of it, in absolute terms, I have left? Or is that just me being ludicrously pretentious, aggrandising a mundane personal choice into a psychological verity?
Time, in general, is a slippery concept, with varying opinions on whether it has any real existence, or is merely a mental construct, an illusion manufactured by our brains to try to make sense of our perception of the inescapable 'now' which we inhabit. One of my favourite books, Ada, by Nabokov, has a longish section where the author, through one of his main characters, a psychiatrist/philosopher, speculates about the nature of time. It's a challenging, but interesting read. I'm no metaphysician, but, for what it's worth, I lean toward the view that time comes from within rather than without. But, of course, I could very easily be wrong!
So, Ratzinger is resigning/retiring/whatever. Fucking good riddance, you fascist twat. If only the rest of your benighted organisation was going with you. But instead, no doubt, some equally vile reactionary will be installed, to carry on the hypocritical bigotry, the impoverishment of millions and death of untold numbers of human beings. Unspeakable.
1010: I'm going to have another go at the 'real-time' format I experimented with last summer, even if today's weather isn't exactly summery, as I head up to the big city for an 'R & R' day. I finished my last night shift of the week about three hours ago, I've been back to 'base' for a flying visit to facilitate breakfast and ablutions, and I'm raring to go. Or something!
1030: That's the approach to life that almost no adult can achieve - a little boy, five or six years old, skipping through the rain in the most carefree fashion imaginable. What was it I read a while back, about 9 out of 10 adults saying that growing up is overrated?
1245: The boy on the bus, an hour or so ago. 9, maybe 10, passably cute, but, for once, it wasn't the skin-deep that caught my attention. He was bright, very bright. A bit hyper, perhaps, but undoubtedly operating on a whole different level from his mother, at least. He asked her who or what she would choose to be for a day. She chose a flamingo, so she could relax in a warm country. He chose Aten, the Egyptian sun god. He had to explain to her who Aten even was. Out of her depth, and no mistake. And, gratingly to my ears, although he seemed to take it in his stride, she kept calling him 'Fluffy'. Horribly juvenilising, for a boy of his age. Would that I could have spent the afternoon just having a conversation with him.
1345: Suffering for my odyssey! I'm in a pretty far-flung corner of Greater London, if that's not a contradiction in terms, in another new to me Wetherspoons. When I got off of the bus, though, I contrived to walk in completely the wrong direction, to the opposite end of the High Street to where the pub actually is! And it's bloody cold and wet out there! Still, I can console myself that it's another one ticked off of the list. And that my first pint in eight days is a pleasant one.
1655: I've returned to familiar territory now, being ensconced at my favourite little table in my 'London local'. I just caught the last few minutes of England's Six Nations game in Dublin, as they completed what looked like a hard-fought victory. They're certainly a team in form at the moment, or so it seems. Given that the rugby was on, I'm somewhat surprised that the pub isn't busier, although maybe people have been put off by the weather - it really is pretty unpleasant outside. There were mutterings from the forecasters that it might snow tonight, and it certainly is chilly, but all we've seen so far today is plenty of rain. Que sera, sera, and all that.
1745: This is a bit of a cheat in a 'real time' post, because I was actually thinking about it at 8:30 this morning, but today's date has significance in my family - not my recently defunct marital family, but my birth family. Today, had they lived, would have been my mum and dad's 62nd wedding anniversary, and it is also the birthday of the cousin of mine closest to my own age, although I haven't seen her for quite a few years. Her older brother, although he's three years and a few weeks older than me, was my best friend for several years, from when I was around 6 or 7 until I was, perhaps, 12, but, eventually, the fact that he was well into adolescence, with all its changes of focus in life, while I was still very much a child, caused us to drift apart. We never argued, though, and on the very few and far between occasions I've seen him in recent years, there's still a bond there somewhere.
1935: Aarrghh! I'm becalmed on level 83 of Bubble Shoot! My fault for playing mindless games, of course. But at least it keeps me off the streets and out of mischief! That and the Staropramen, anyway!
2015: Time to go - I'm getting extremely heavy-lidded. I think I might sleep well tonight!
I was approached, outside 'work-town' station last night. In fact, my 'approacher' actually ran across the road to catch up with me. A tall young man, early twenties, at a guess. But his opening words were also his immediate undoing. 'I work with a local church. Do you know God has a plan for you?' Sadly, being on my way into work as I was, I didn't have the time to engage him in any kind of discussion. I had to content myself with 'Not for me, I'm an atheist, thanks.' His smile disappeared, and he simply, rather weakly, repeated 'Yes, a plan for you.'
If God has a plan for me, all I can conclude that he/she/it has a thoroughly warped sense of humour. Amongst all the more general vicissitudes around the impoverishment, enslavement and destruction of untold millions of lives that organised religion has facilitated and still facilitates, the plan, on a more personal level, seemingly includes giving me a sexual orientation which leaves me no hope of genuine fulfillment in my life, and, when I tried to do something more 'societally acceptable', helped to destroy that aim by encouraging my ex-wife to end our marriage because of her 'beliefs'. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I don't, of course, believe 'God' had anything to do with any of those things, because belief in God is an irrational delusion, as far as I'm concerned. The pleasure and pain, joys and horrors, good and evil in life are all unequivocally human in origin, it seems to me, with religion being nothing more than a mechanism for many people to attempt to evade responsibility for their own actions and desires - 'God did it/made me do it' is the philosophical equivalent of a five year old pretending their imaginary friend ate the chocolate bar that was supposed to be saved for later. So, Mr Local Church, by all means do good things, altruistic things in your life, help others, help protect the environment, whatever. Just do those things because they're the right thing to do, though, not because some completely imaginary (non)entity 'told you to'.
'He's a cutie'. My immediate reaction on seeing the picture of a boy, a school photograph, by all appearances, on a blog post earlier this afternoon. Once I read the text, though, that reaction has left me feeling dirty and worthless, not for the first time. Because what does that phrase, 'he's a cutie' really mean in the way that it came into my mind? That he would be exactly the type of boy I would be sexually attracted to, 12 years old, very good looking, outwardly happy. Not a million miles away from my mind's eye picture of my character, my 'imaginary playmate', Simon, in Optimal. But what was the reality of his life? According to the report, he was repeatedly sexually abused while in a children's home in South West London in the 1980's, by members of a so-called 'paedophile ring', before committing suicide in his twenties. I often tell myself, and others, mostly by way of this blog and my fictional avatars in various stories in Nephelokokkygia, that I would never knowingly hurt a boy, either physically or emotionally. But how much is that 'window dressing' for my psyche, simply a way of helping myself live with myself? What would I actually do in the face of actual, real-world temptation? If I'm being honest with myself, the answers are not a pretty picture. I might hope not to be an abuser, but that hope looks more than a little forlorn sometimes. And now is one of those times.
I heard the Buzzcocks song on the radio a little while ago, I'm sure most people know which one I mean, the one that, when I think about it, says it all about me. Everyone I've ever fallen in love with, I shouldn't have, right back to my first little-boy crush, at 11, on my (female, but very tomboyish) cousin, through my first real love, R, when I was 17, via my cousin and best friend, to my ex-wife. It's been an unmitigated chapter of accidents and disasters, from start to finish.
I also heard, on the same radio station, the afternoon DJ make some thoroughly sneering remarks about 'that legislation passed last night'. Well, Mr DJ, some people are gay, and some of them even have the audacity to like rock music, for all its image of testosterone soaked machismo. Fucking get over it.
The House of Commons last night voted heavily in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, although a majority of Conservative MP's voted against. It was only the second reading of the relevant bill, so there's still quite some way to go before the legislation is actually enacted, but it's certainly a big step in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned. All of the arguments I've seen from the 'anti' side have stemmed from either the imaginary, largely in the form of religious objections, or simple homophobic prejudice, with words like 'immoral' and 'unnatural' bandied about. Love is love, as far as I'm concerned, and not worth more or less dependent on who is doing the loving. Equality is the just and civilised way to arrange society, in my opinion, and this particular element of equality is just as important as any based on race, religion or gender.
You don't often come across something that opens a new window onto your personality, especially when you've only been out of bed for fifteen minutes. This post has done just that, though. So much of what was written could apply to me, almost word for word. The feeling of being 'different' - in the early days, because I was fat, when it wasn't at all common, totally non-sporting, even though I really wanted to be accomplished in that regard, especially at football and cricket, and because I was much more intelligent than almost anyone else I knew, later because of my growing realisation that I didn't feel the same way about sex and matters arising as, in my perception, everyone else did. The phases of vacillating between the three coping strategies, whether to fight, whether to hide, whether to try and be like everyone else, even if it wasn't me at all. The social phobia, the sensitivity to criticism, being caught between the impulses to lash out or to curl up in the corner and cry. And, above all, the shame and self-loathing. And the way all of these factors shape my psyche to this day.
Hardly a day goes by when I see stories which underline the deleterious effect of religion on society. Whether it be Islam or Christianity, or others, organised religion seems to me to capable only of hatred, destruction and suppression of the human spirit under the dead hand of superstition, all, in sick irony, in the name of supposedly loving gods. If this is 'love', give me some honest animosity any day. Surely humanity has come far enough from the feudal, medieval roots of these pernicious cults to not want to live in thrall of this imaginary nonsense any longer. Education, and more education, would appear to be the answer - except, of course, if you advocate education, they shoot you in the head. It's all vile, almost beyond words.
Yes, real ones, and in a public place - i.e. the pub - as well. My ex has rung me a couple of times over the last two days, because her dad isn't at all well - he's in hospital at the moment, although the latest update is that he might be discharged after the weekend - and it may be that I might need to go to Cornwall, to look after our daughter, if things take a turn for the worse and my ex needs to go to the Midlands. I made it clear that I had no problem in helping in any way I can - ditching work wouldn't be any sort of issue, in the circumstances - and, while I initially said that was because I would do it for my daughter, the truth came out pretty quickly, as I told my ex I would just as readily do it for her, because I still love her. Which was the absolute truth, and the catalyst for the tears. I know she doesn't love me anymore, and I accept that, but that doesn't change my feelings for her one bit. As I've said before, it would make things less traumatic if I could fall out of love with her, but I simply can't.
I've spent quite a bit of the last day and a half pondering the question in the title. There is a more general version of the question about my life as a whole, which I have no idea how to answer, but this version is about the blog, and its future. It seems to me that there are four alternatives - I can carry on as hitherto, I can head for the anodyne, and only talk about uncontroversial subjects, I can scrap the whole thing, or I can say 'sod it!' and say exactly what I want without the slightest consideration, apart, perhaps, of avoiding having the blog nuked. My gut reaction, I have to say, is to go for the last option, and just be myself, warts and all. I'm well aware that I'm already well beyond the pale in many people's eyes, so a little more extremity is hardly going to alienate more individuals than I have already.
In that vein, I've been in my 'London local' for a while, finding it, for reasons that should have been completely predictable, much busier than usual. Predictable, because it's within easy walking distance of a Premier League football ground, where a big match is being played this evening. The place was a bit of a cattle market, for a while, although it's quieter now that the football crowd have decamped to the match, but the collateral advantage from my point of view was that there were a goodly number of boys on the premises. One in particular was an absolute little darling, sitting no more than half a dozen paces away, albeit, from my perspective, mostly obscured by his father, just my thing, blond and excruciatingly good looking, if slightly too young, even for me. That said, though, I would quite happily have whisked him away somewhere, had the opportunity arisen - subject, always, to his willingness - and if that admission upsets anyone, I'm afraid that's their problem rather than mine.
Stupid of me to have done what I did around this time yesterday, and stupid of me to have written about it. Stupid of me to expect anything from having done either. Stupid of me to have any hope at all that I'll ever find what I'm looking for, either in terms of a relationship with a special individual, or in terms of acceptance from the world at large, even acceptance of my celibate, 'admire them from a distance' lifestyle. Stupid of me to bother carrying on at all, really.
I didn't come to Blogland to fish for sympathy, and that's not what I'm looking for now. I came here to try and find a place where I could be myself, and where I could try to come to terms with the turmoil in my head, by means of laying it out in black and white. Failed on both counts. Stupid to have tried.