?

Log in

 
 
07 September 2016 @ 11:38 pm
Every breath she took... realising the horror.  
I referred earlier to the girl I became seriously infatuated with during the horror of my last couple of years in Norwich.  And again. It's now over. done with. Not quite "finished", or I wouldn't be writing this. But I have absolutely no interest or desire to make any sort of actual contact. As I'm commiting this to some sort of public inspection - although I doubt anyone's going to actually read obscure notes written in an obscure journal, but one which is open to public inspection, I can't stress this strongly enough.  I very sincerely do not want to identify her or make any waves or cause any embarassment to somebody who does not deserve it. And as stated before, this is going to be "bitty", just a set of ideas and impressions and confessions I might return to later to make a coherent story out of. First notes, really. but they have to be written so very carefully as other living people are involved. Even if only a small handful out there will know who and what I'm referring to. For all I know they might even end up reading this. Look. I don't want to embarrass anyone or make them uncomfortable.  Involving psychological breakdown verging on mental illness, it was a nightmare of a time where my actions caused a lot of concern and anxiety to others. The most embarrassed person should be, and is, me. With only that very slight mitigation.

I'm aware my post-Norwich story has lots of the features you find in the emotionally charged testimony given by former wretched sinners who found Jesus. "I was at rock bottom and the things I did were the worst sort of sins...{{catalogues acts of depravity and evil}} and then there was a blinding white light and I looked on the loving face of Jesus..." I may discuss this later.

Wish it had been that easy. But I also passed through that sort of entry-level Christianity and came out on the other side as a born-again agnostic. Still am.  I still have something of a spirituality, and an awareness there is something more. That all this happened for a purpose. And the purpose was probably to give me a great big kick up the arse and to make me grow up and take responsibility. And it had to be a bloody hard kick as I was in self-destruct mode and blind to all reason.

But anyway. The girl. Gods, I have to talk about her but I do not want to identify her. I know she's still there and lives in the South of England on the other side of London. She's doing well for herself, and is presumably happily married with kids. Home, I discovered after searching on her name and making a few intelligent guesses, is a frighteningly beautiful picture-postcard village in a very affluent corner of a very affluent Home County close to one of the major cathedral cities which I have not visited, and which I now have a good reason not to. Checked it out on Google Earth. It has an aura that makes Knutsford, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge look like impoverished council estates.

I found her Facebook page. A recent photo - although it's so many years on - still has the look of the girl I got into complete miserable agonising unrequieted love for. Nearer fifity than forty now, yes. But still her.  This brought back a lot of thoughts, memories and associations. Strong ones. She'd have been nineteen or twenty then.  but the associations and emtions were past ones that beling to 1988-89. In the past. Memories of old feelings. Whatever drew me to her then is pretty much dead and gone. I was just responding to the memory of it - PTSD again?

I built a picture of her from publicly available Internet sources - as said before, if you put it out in public, you cannot complain concerning who looks at it. I discovered some things that were simply not available to me at the time ( those people i broached the subject with urged me to forget it and move on. They didn't say much about her)  and winced. How the hell did I ever think I could....  me. Loser scruff from a crappy part of the wrong city in the wrong part of the country.   Family dirt-poor, no resources, didn't even own our own homes, mother a single parent bringing up a dysfunctional family in too small a house with no support... the experience, the alienating experience, of having been a scruffy poor kid at a grammar school populated by the more affluent and fortunate, coping with bad social skills and most certainly not the social skills mecessary for making it with the middle and upper-middle class kids at Stockport School....   and I discovered, the same at university when i finally got there, only more intense,  and with a majority of well-heeled upper-middle kids around me. The same sense of growing inadequacy and that I  simply just wasn't good enough. Same alienation. But worse.

She. Seriously affluent family living in two of the richest counties in England. Very stable well-resourced upbringing. Public boarding school education. (upscale girls' boarding school). The background and upbringing to give her that uniquely upper-middle sense of belonging, of having a right to be there, of the right sort of entitlement. Post-university, good jobs, good marriage, making her own way in her own business. Credit to her for that even allowing for the accident of birth and upbringing.

I read all this, refined my mental picture of her, and thought "What a fucking idiot. Did you ever at any time think it was even marginally possible?"  It is said that social mobilty in Britain is not possible. Very, very, few people escape the social class or economic strata they were born into. There may have been a brief window of opportunity where this was possible, but that started to die in 1979 and went very quickly. Virtually gone even by 1984, when i belatedly started university. Dead by 1987.

Even then, it was clear that people sorted themselves out quickly into their own kinship groups. I've written elsewhere that British universities don't need frats or sororities as America has them. There's no need. Britain is rigidly stratified by class and economic background in such a way that everybody knows where they belong and you do not need initiation or a skull-ring to know your own. You've been part of the "appropriate" frat since birth. Try to mix with the wrong group, one several rungs "above" you, and you will be corrected and rebuffed. You may make temporary acquaintances and you may be able to nod and say hello if you meet them in the street some years later. But that's as far as it goes.  A friend explained what it was like to be the only working-class kid at Liverpool University. What identified him in his first few days, he reckoned, was not knowing how to use a telephone - having never had one at home while he was growing up. The other undergrads around him noticed and remarked on this.  Excruciatingly embarrassing, he said. I empathise. For me it was a photocopier. The first time I saw one I had not the slightest clue and tried to feed paper into what I thought was the appropriate slot. I was prevented: I'd have blown the machine!
(Come to think of it, I never saw a video player close-up  until maybe 1997: up to fifteen years after the more affluent got them. I honestly thought you turned the tape over and fed it in the other way round to get Side Two, having reasoned from exposure to audiotape). And I remember visits to my actual then-girlfriend CP's family in an upmarket village in Essex, where i was taken to task over things I'd never, ever, considered before, like how you placed your knife and fork on the plate after finishing your meal. (To which my response was "That's important? You are kidding!")  All those little tell-tale identifying shibboleths that mark your place and position on the British social ladder. And yes, there IS a soclally upmarket part of Essex. Forget all the bits which are Outer London, in the same way Middlesex ceased to exist and was absorbed into the cancer tumour which is our nation's capital city. All the places in expanding Outer London  that give Essex a bad name as the heart of chavdom, bad taste and low intellect. The real old-time Essex may have shrunk to a coastal strip around the Blackwater Estuary and along  the border with Suffolk - but it's as socially upscale as anything else in the accepted Home Counties. And CP lived there.

But CP was not the one I shall call, for want of a better name, Margaret Band. MB for now.  ye Gods. Realising 26 years too late that even in the most ideal circumstances things would have been doomed, even if she had been well disposed towards me. Which she was not.  We were simply from too far apart on the social ladder. The ladder would have needed to be a long one standing in a deep pit and I'd have been inside the pit on one of the lowest rungs. MB would have been somewhere towards the top.(quite a few rungs above CP, who I did have an also-doomed association with and which began to founder because of our social differences. Although I screwed up royally.).  We'd have needed walkie-talkies to communicate.  Again - "how could you have been so fucking stupid? So detached from reality?"

More soon. Played out now.

Ah well. Today's theme song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G63BiXkzBdw

Sweet child in time
You'll see the line
The line that's drawn between
Good and bad

See the blind man
Shooting at the world
Bullets flying
Ohh taking toll

If you've been bad
Oh Lord I bet you have
And you've not been hit
Oh by flying lead

You'd better close your eyes
Ooohhhh bow your head
Wait for the ricochet

 
 
Current Mood: soul-searching, waiting for the ricochet
Current Music: Deep Purple, Child in Time