9th January 2009

No man is an island.

Was that meant to apply to women too?  Because I feel like an island. From an early age I remember being alone, and quite liking it. When I had to mix with other children I found it hard to fit in, and I was easily bored.  I suppose that’s pretty selfish, but I did try. The older you get the less you can be bothered trying to please others at your own expense, though of course a little give and take is always important.  I was always like that.  My mother is Italian by birth, she moved to England when she met my Father in her early twenties. I think Dad thought with an Italian wife he could forgo most of his responsibility for looking after kids and the household.  But he underestimated her, and her deep curiosity about the world (which she invested in me). In fact she could never be much bothered with house work or running after me and my brother when we were kids, so from an early age I learned to cook my own meals and do my own washing. It was only when I did go to another kid’s house that I realised that wasn’t exactly normal. Now it seems strange to me that my mother had children at all, but I suppose for a young woman then there simply wasn’t a choice.  Or at least there was, but it would never have occurred to anyone to have made it.

My father was a loner too.  The picture I have in my memory is of him hunched over his desk, lost in circuit boards and diagrams, usually in the same scruffy clothes he’d worn for weeks. He would only get properly dressed if he was going out (hardly ever), or receiving a visitor (almost never). The closest he got to giving me fatherly advice was to remind me and my brother that I had the whole of my life to get things right and if things didn’t make sense now, then don’t worry, be patient; “It’s only the start”.  My mother just said that if I was happy then she was happy. And I suppose I was, so they both left me to it.

 

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