Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crisp Sandwiches For Breakfast

So last weekend was my birthday*. Yet another year to add to the numerous that have already fallen by the wayside. Birthdays have never really interested me, even at a young age and I think it may have something to do with cake, but I can't be certain.

Spending so much time on my own during the day, with nowt but my trusty paintbrush to keep me company, I tend to find my mind wandering and I started mulling over how my life has changed. Mostly without me even realising it.

When I was really little the majority of my life was spent pooing, eating and sleeping. I have a funny feeling that I'll be returning to this pattern of existence, although I'm hoping not for another 50 or so years. Forward a bit and I'd progressed. I started to realise that life contained priorities, challenges and responsibilities (although these words had yet to manifest themselves into my vocabulary, which at the time consisted of mainly "Why?" and "No"). The discovery that dirt mixed with water made mud had a profound impact on me and I soon set about the challenge of making the perfect Mud Pie. Countless seconds were spent mixing until I finally had a decent looking slop. Obviously I knew that I couldn't cook it (oven is "ouch") so I figured that raw tasting was the way forward. I shortly decided that I wasn't going to make it as a chef.

Then came Lego. The most ingenious invention ever to have graced the planet. Armed with my Imagination I proceeded to construct the largest Lego tower I had ever seen. Being around 4 years old, large Lego towers were few and far between, so it didn't take too long. But why stop at a tower? Expansion was the key. Garages, guns, moon bases, small odd looking animals, faces, plates, and even a Lego massager (my Mum had a sore back and I thought it would help) were all on the list of things to build. I was a God, there was nothing I couldn't make. Even if the end result did look a little angular. But that was a triviality I didn't have time to address (until I got some sloped shaped bricks for Christmas, and then everything had sloped edges, even things that were supposed to be straight).

By the time I reached 5 I had discovered money. My Great Nan saved her copper coins (1/2 pennies, 1's and 2's) and gave them to me when I went to visit her. Although they were only the really shiny ones. Sometimes I would have about 20 of them waiting for me and I would spend hours counting them, making shapes out of them on the carpet. I also knew you could give them to people and you would get stuff in return. Important stuff. Like sweets. I used to visit the little Indian lady that owned the sweet shop below where we lived and give her some of the coins in exchange for Cola Bottles. This arrangement worked really well and I liked her for it. One day I heard her talking to her husband in a language I'd never heard before. Nothing she said made any sense. I thought I'd write her a thank you note for providing me with sweets in exchange for metal discs. I wrote down a whole bunch of stuff that looked like she sounded (squiggly lines in essence) and gave it to her proudly stating that it was a thank you note in her language. It was only in later life that I realised why she looked so miffed. But she was lovely and just smiled and said thanks. My career as a serial spender was off to a flying start.

Adult conversations often confused me. They were faster than my own and rarely contained words that I understood, like Toys or Presents. One day I tried and Adult conversation with my Action Man. Mostly I came up with "Hmmm, yeah", a nod of my head and a noise akin to "Rar rar rar". This seemed to satisfy Action Man, so much so that he then set about waging war with the Transformers. I've since realised that Adult conversations are overrated, mostly full of rubbish and still contain a lot of words I don't understand. They are also rarely about Toys or Presents.

Now that I'm older I no longer build fishes out of plastic bricks, or try to hide a complete head of broccoli under my fork. I worry about having enough work to pay the bills and think that cheese is too expensive. I notice that the city I live in is incredibly dirty and am puzzled as to what my Council Tax is spent on. It concerns me that I think society is becoming more decadent and am fed up trying to remember that rubbish day is a Thursday. I'm bored of having to do the washing and I loathe having to shave for fear of being mistaken for a homeless guy. I understand that there is a great gulf between the rich and the poor of even my fair country and it saddens me. No longer can I get away with cutting up some plain paper and drawing a rather poor Queen's head on one side, then passing it off as real cash. And have people accept it with a "Aww, isn't that sweet".

Now I'm older I've come to realise that being a kid was very good fun indeed. Talking to yourself, imagining that you were 6 types of robot, was perfectly acceptable social behaviour. Sitting in a cardboard box that you had drawn spaceship controls in, with a borrowed black mascara, for 2 days straight was considered a fine display of creative intelligence. And having odd socks and shoes on, an inside out jumper and backwards trousers was never frowned upon, purely because you had actually managed to dress yourself without help or supervision.

*Insert slightly premature old man's voice here* "Cor, I remember when I was a kid...."


*Well, it was last week when I started writing this, now it's 2 weeks. I'm such a slacker.


Princess of the Universe said...

You don't like cake? Wtf?!

PS I would also like to point out that the word verification below is: "angst"

Reeny's Ramblin' said...

Excellent post! I often think back on how fun it was to be a kid. I spent my summer vacations up north with my Grandparents for 2 months a year. Basically, all the kids that were shipped up there for the summer were ferral. Never wore shoes, swam all day long, built rafts to be able to ride the river, hung out in the forest playing princess...

I would go back to school in Sept and the feeling of having shoes on was completely foreign to me. Sigh.....

Franny said...

Some can pinpoint the moment childhood innocence and wonder end – for others, they slip away unnoticed.
The Lego massager and the thank-you note – my favourite parts.