Sunday, 14 October 2007

Stream of consciousness (ish)

I'd threatened (if that's not too harsh a word) to anna mr that I would do a stream-of-consciousness post after she did one, a few weeks ago now. So here it is. It seems a good idea to do it right now because, following the previous post I wrote, and the wonderful responses it got from everyone, I've remained deep in thought about the whole blog-thing in relation to what I do and don't reveal. This has moved on to reflecting on what I choose to reveal - or not - about people around me.

I really don't want to think about it too much or it will stop me from writing about anything whatsoever. It would prevent me from writing about my mother, in whose company I've spent the weekend. It would also prevent me from writing about my grandmother, who lives close by to my mother and who will soon, all being well, reach the rather fine age of 92.

Again it feels like a question of motivation: I shouldn't really have any worries about privacy issues since no one here knows that much about me apart from what I've written, and anyone who does know more about me certainly doesn't know any of my family.

So where's the problem?

I tend to worry about these things, that's where the problem is.

But I want to write about how twisted my mother's hands are from arthritis. Not that arthritis is restricted to her hands (to understate the hold that the condition has on her): but they are, maybe, the area that I focus on other than her face. Hands are pretty crucial things after all. I'm used to seeing hers as they are now. I can't imagine the pain and frustration.

I used to feel guilty for not helping her out more. I go back home every so often and get mothered, and for a good while I used to think, I should be cooking for her, I should be offering to help out with whatever needs to be done. I changed my opinion, though, or came to a point of realisation: whenever she wants something done, she will ask. Otherwise she'll damn well get on with doing it herself, and she keeps as much independence as she possibly can.

She had an operation on one of her hands some time ago, to try and get the individual joints realigned to a more manageable degree. I rang her regularly and offered to go and see her at weekends if she needed help with anything at all: she responded with a list of jobs which needed doing, and she then described her frankly ingenious methods of getting round the problem of each individual task with the temporarily-limited means at her disposal . In other words, she didn't need my help or anyone else's, thank you very much: or if she did, as mentioned, she would ask.

My grandmother is becoming increasingly dependent on her: but at her (my grandmother that is) remarkable age, the fact that she still lives in her own home, the one she moved into when married, is quite something as far as I'm concerned. She's getting more unsteady as time goes on, and not just physically. At the end of each visit I say "I'll see you soon" or words to that effect. I'm increasingly conscious that there's only so many more times I'll be saying that: while that sounds like a sad thought, it's tempered by the fact that whatever happens, (to resort to a necessary cliche), she's had a damned good innings.

I'm often reminded of something my late grandfather said one birthday in the final few years of his life. He had a lengthy spell of illness and was clearly ever more aware of his own mortality, and one of his apparent coping strategies was to specialise in a fine brand of gallows humour. For a birthday present I'd bought him a new shaving kit. As he opened the box and saw what it was his eyes lit up, he smiled at me and said with enthusiasm, "Thanks! This will just about last me!" I remember bursting out laughing though being highly aware of the the truth behind the humour.



Note: I have to be honest (well I don't, but I'm going to be), this wasn't completely stream-of-consciousness, I had to stop and think and change a couple of things, but it's a lot more off-the-cuff than most of what I've written previously. It's a lot more spontaneous than next Thursday's post is shaping up to be, put it that way.

35 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Does your mom have rhuematoid arthritis?

trousers said...

In a word dj, yes.

Anna MR said...

God's sakes, housut, I hope you're joking with that thing about next Thursday's post. You surely don't have things that well mapped out beforehand? That's frightening - more frightening, even, than your earlier "threat" (here realised) of a stream post (which I singularly failed to be terrified of).

Enjoyed the post, by the way. I don't see a problem with doing the odd bit of stopping and starting and correcting with writing stream of consciousness, but then that's me. Hope you've had a nice relaxing weekend, young legwear.

trousers said...

Oh, dj, just a further note, my previous reply was so brief purely because I couldn't think of anything else to add, just in case you might have wondered :)
x

hi anna, of course I'm joking: I meant the following Thursday's post! Next Thursday's has been in the bag since August.

Or to give you a more factual response (just so we don't all end up getting confused): I don't map the posts out in advance at all, I just respond to things which trigger thoughts off, and also have a very vague list of "Things I Might Blog At Some Point." But I do tend to spend a lot of time over some of the posts themselves during the process of writing.

Anyway I'm glad you liked it, and the weekend was quite a relaxing one: over all-too-quickly too. Hope yours was alright too?
x

That's so pants said...

Hi Trews

I like it. It reminds me of the way I think.

xxx

Pants

anticant said...

Don't feel guilty - such a waste of time!

DJ Kirkby said...

Mornin'! I have responded to your comment on my blog but thought I'd pop over to let you know that I think you'd enjoy my 'Wild hippie child' blog more than the NWNN blog (it is in short story format so you don't need to start from the begining unless you want to and the NWNN is 'chick lit' in my opinion and amatuer at best). Your poor mom, as soon as I read your description of her fingers, I was sure she must have RA. You write beautifuly, the images come through crystal clear!

But Why? said...

Very nice post. I particularly liked your recollection of your grandfather's gallows humour. I think it takes a certain level of contentedness with life to make such quips, knowing that they will be received in the right fashion.

bindi said...

I enjoyed this post. It reminds me of my late eight great uncles.

Its sometimes hard to know how to respond to gallows humor. If I'm caught unexpectedly by it I usually come out with something lame like 'oh don't be silly you'll be around for awhile yet'.

trousers said...

Hi pants, and thanks. I'm glad that you liking it, and it reminding you of the way you think, aren't mutually exclusive :)
x

Hi anti: that's nothing I don't know, but something I often need to be reminded of!

dj, thanks for the tip on NWNN, though I'll still have to look at that out of curiosity if nothing else (I'm sure it's perfectly good regardless). Thanks for the nice words too.
x

Hello to both but why? and bindi: various members of my family had a very dry sense of humour in common, so the gallows humour just seemed like a natural extension to that and it was never awkward from my point of view. In fact it's nice to remember such moments, they form a kind of punctuation to the more difficult aspects of such a time.
x

szwagier said...

Is consciousness really a stream? That sounds so-o-o-o-o 20th century. ;o)

trousers said...

It is if Mark E smith says it is, szwag.

"If" being the operative word, since I don't know if he does or not :)

szwagier said...

I'm not much of a fan of Supreme Beings, but if there is one, I've suspected for many years that he's not dissimilar to MES.

Anna MR said...

Um, hum, housut, szxcwxag (hello, nice to meet you), who's Mark E Smith...?

And I cannot believe Einstürzende Neubauten are still going. I did a quick count and I sold tickets to a gig of theirs in Helsinki twenty-four years ago. Alright, I was not very old then, but even so.

szwagier said...

how do, anna mr. Mark E Smith has been going longer than Neubauten. The Fall. trousers hasn't responded yet because he's probably still fingering his drums.

trousers said...

Lovely anna, Mark E Smith is none other than the lead singer of The Fall. English post-punk singular Beefheartian Krautrock-Psychobilly Techno curmudgeonly Manchester types. John Peel's favourite band. Of whom an acquaintance of mine said, "even their crap albums are really good."
Not everyone's cup of tea, but szwag is right on both counts.

Yes, re Neubauten, it's amazing: I first heard them 24 years ago. I can't speak for the new lp since I haven't heard it but, at least up until this point, they've still been doing excellent stuff (IMHO)
x

Anna MR said...

Oh man, housut, szzcwzcag - it is bad enough revealing how out of touch I am now, let alone letting slip how out of touch I was already then, even if I did sell tickets (and hang out) at Helsinki's punky gig place numero yksi. I remember The Fall as a name but couldn't mention, let alone hum, a single one of their tracks.

(escapes into far-flung corner of blogland, realising her old-fartness is now fully and properly revealed to all)

trousers said...

Help anna, everything's gone italic! Come back!

Anyway, in many respects most Fall songs aren't exactly hummable except in an out-of-tune, drawly kind of way. Which is one reason I love em.

Anonymous said...

ga! I wanted to be smart and just add a 'close italics' tag, but it won't let me. angle-bracket forward-slash i angle-bracket should do the trick, though.

szwagier said...

Ooops. That was me.

trousers said...

That's what I was thinking, szwag, but I'm not sure where to put it.

szwagier said...

edit anna's comment and put it after 'man'. I'm guessing that's where it's supposed to be.

trousers said...

Problem there is that I don't know how to edit anyone's comments, or whether blogger permits such things.

Anna MR said...

Oi, it may well be your blog, housut, but lay off editing my comments (you too, szzwzwagcgc) (and no, blogger doesn't even allow you to edit your own, which really is a disgrace). I will have you know I am very fond of both bold and italic, although to my disappointment I haven't yet mastered that cool thing whereby you make a "mistake" and cross it over, like you used to in the days of typewriters, leaving your amusing mistake to be read by fellow bloggers.

trousers said...

Hi anna, it's not your actual comment I would want or dare to edit (such a thing would be unacceptable), it's trying to find out how to stop everything on this thread being in italics! If you yourself have any advice on how to do this, I would be most grateful.
x

trousers said...

...and yes, I would like to learn how to do that crossing-out thing on my text. I suspect that a certain ario f may hold the answer to that particular puzzle.

szwagier said...

how about this?.

You can't edit the comments? So that's why the Lord of Mischief doesn't have a blogger blog.

The other alternative I've discovered is to squint so that your eyes are almost closed and tilt your head slightly to the right.

szwagier said...

well I don't know how you do it in comments, as it won't accept either s or del tags. But one or the other should work in posts. I'm guessing del.

trousers said...

s or del tags? Now we're far beyond the limits of my understanding..

szwagier said...

Sorry, my fault. I mean s or del between angle-brackets. Either of those should get you text with a line through it.

szwagier said...

I bet I know what happened here - italics-wise. Somewhere between anna's perfectly-formed computer and blogger.com a forward slash went missing.

OK. Not on a par with general relativity or anything, but it's early morning and I haven't had coffee yet.

Not allowing you to edit comments is making me want to explode. On the plus side, it also made me a comment-editing function on my blog. Every shroud has a silver lining. :o)

szwagier said...

add

trousers said...

I think you're probably right, szwag. Oh well, it's only affected this one thread: I would have been a bit worried if the whole site had gone italic. Might have had to rename it "the leaning tower of trouser press" or somesuch.

Anna MR said...

A very, very belated thank you to you both, housut and szcszswaqg, for coming up with (and sharing!) the technique for impressing people with the ---- thing. But do tell me, lads - do you really see all of this thread in italics? I don't. You are pulling my leg, methinks...

trousers said...

Hi anna, yes it's definitely all in italics (except for the first batch of comments): most curious that we can see it whereas you can't! One of the many mysteries that is blogger, perhaps.

I look forward to seeing crossed-out text used mischievously on one of your future posts (no pressure or anything of course).

x