I’ve done a lot of amateur dramatics, innit. I’ve worked with a lot of directors. There’s two types of director: ‘blockers’ and ‘wankers’. A blocker doesn’t mess around. They just block the farking play. Tell you where to stand, when to sit, and, erm, how to fall over, maybe. A wanker, meanwhile, despite the nomenclature, doesn’t show you where, when and how to wank; rather, they initially forgo the blocking in favour of analysing the text, character work and pretty much fannying around.
At my last rehearsal there was quite a bit of wanking and fannying. We did some improvisation. Ack. I hate improvising. Gimme a script and I’ll act my extraordinary arse off. Tell me to improvise a scene and I’ll curl up in a ball and weep quietly in the corner. Farking hate it. I feel like a tit. I say all the wrong stuff, and then worry that the director is looking at me and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s totally not what I envisaged the character to be like, Jeezus I made a mistake casting her, now I’m stuck with this tit who can’t even improvise, man alive the whole play is RUINED’.
OK that’s a bit dramatic, but this is DRAMA, people.
So. Improvisation. Innit. What a crock.
But then today, it struck me: I’m improvising ALL THE BLOODY TIME. I haven’t got a FARKING CLUE what I’m doing. This last year I’ve moved house, lost a husband, gone on benefits, had a new relationship and lost that as well, all while doing that parenting stuff and maintaining a blog and having a LIFE – of sorts – which, to a past version of me, sounds utterly alien and totes not what I was expecting.
Life is just one HUGE improvisation. We all pretend to know what we’re doing as we trundle along. I really admire people who plan stuff – who say, ‘Oh yah, in five year’s time I’ll be in a cottage in the Cotswolds with three children, seven dogs and a pony’ or ‘By the time I’m forty I’ll be assistant manager of this helium balloon company!’ or ‘I must taste rum’n'raisin ice cream at least once before I farking DIE’. That’s ambition. That’s PLANNING. I don’t plan. I can’t. If anything, this last year has shown me that actual constructive planning is beyond my reach. So I improvise.
I thought I knew what the months ahead held for me. I thought I’d eventually find some sort of stability in the near future. Now that’s changed again. I’m adrift. But I have Moo, I have a house I can finally afford to live in, and we can eat. That’s a start. Everything else, I’m MAKING IT UP AS I GO ALONG. Innit.
Are you a planner, or a wanker, like me? And what do you do if stuff doesn’t go the way you planned?
Recently my next door neighbours had some loud sex. Moo was napping, and I was blogging, so I could hear it. They both seemed happy, which was nice. Then, once the loud sex was finished, they made bacon sandwiches. I know this cos I smelt the bacon frying. I really hope they washed their hands before they did the cooking, but y’know, when you’re in the throes of decadent passion, maybe that’s not something you consider so much.
I also hear my other neighbour shrieking at her children. One of the children is learning to play the trumpet. The shrieking and the trumpeting is possibly connected, I dunno. I certainly feel like shrieking when that farking trumpet starts up. Learn to play something other than Twinkle Twinkle Cunting Star, FFS.
My house is uber-small. It’s like a flat, but on two levels, so it’s a house, but small, like a flat. So small. Downstairs, it’s one room wide. So – potentially – I could have bacon-sex one side and trumpet-angst the other, simultaneously. The mind boggles. Well, actually, my mind protests quite clearly, and refrains from boggling. I’ve always been vaguely claustrophobic, and alarmingly, it seems like the walls are closing in.
I feel like I have no privacy. Both neighbours have someone home during the day, so if I’m in the house, I can hear them, both sides, hoovering, or coughing, or running down the stairs (do y’have to run? Really? Down the stairs? All the time? Really? Running? Cos you might fall and BREAK YOUR STUPID NECK, fool) or cooking, or talking on the phone, or doing EVERYTHING, EVER.
And yeah, they can hear me and Moo, I’m sure. I wonder if they sit there and roll their eyes, saying ‘Oh, the baby’s crying again’ or ‘Oh, she’s crying again’ or ‘Oh, she’s singing along to A-ha again’ or ‘Oh, she’s wanking again’. Not that I wank particularly loudly. But, y’know. I bet they listen, hands cupped to the wall, and then high-five each other and revel in their smug pork-based fornication. Bah.
Within my home I fare no better. Moo can be a clingy little mare on occasion and sometimes doesn’t want me to leave the room without her. Therefore if I wish to defecate, I have to do so with a tiny companion in tow. And she doesn’t let me do it in peace. No way. She brings me offerings, from my bedroom. Hairspray, jewellery, cotton wool, shoes, tampons. It all gets laid at my feet, or in my lap, as I’m trying to squeeze one out without rupturing a pile, or prolapsing my colon, which, y’know, I’m really keen NOT to do. Quite distracting. The other day, I was ceremoniously given all these delightful gifts and more, and then swiftly divested of the loo roll, which was kind of the only thing I wanted in the world, at that precise moment.
One day – ONE DAY – I would like to shit in peace, without the contents of my make-up bag being deposited in the knickers around my ankles. One day, I would like to have a cathartic cry, hooping and wailing, without my neighbours calling social services. One day, I would also like to bring myself to a very loud orgasm without my neighbours politely applauding from three foot away, innit.
Do you know your neighbours more intimately than you’d perhaps care to? Or do you find it hard to escape from your kids and attend a call of nature on your own, for once?
And more importantly, does anyone have a nice big detached house I can live in, please?
Thank FARK I have a girl baby.
Sure, I’m going to have to have the ‘periods’ talk with her, but her dad’s a biology teacher so I reckon he’s got that covered (will be better than me screaming ‘You’re CURSED! CURSED TO BLEEEEED from THY WOMB!’ at her when she turns thirteen or something anyway). And OBVIOUSLY I’ll warn her off boys. And tell her not to smoke or do drugs. And, er, keep away from unicorns, innit.
But generally, it’s OK. I’ve got it covered.
Out with two friends for dinner last night, the subject turned to our children, as it invariably does. They have boy babies. Boy babies who are getting to that age where they are discovering and playing with their – ahem – junk. And by ‘discovering and playing with’, I mean ‘touching until it becomes obviously tumescent and then touching it some more and then DEAR GAWD if he touches it ANY MORE it will DROP OFF’. One friend described how her son particularly delights in violating the rubber duck at bath-time. Oh how we did laugh. But I laughed hardest.
Surely I won’t have to have this talk with Moo? She doesn’t have a penis. I checked. I’d have seen it when changing her nappy, I’m sure. She has nothing to ‘play’ with. Nothing to, er, engorge in an obvious and showy manner. And when she reaches teenagerdom no sudden explosions of love custard to contend with at all hours of the day.
I am not denigrating the self-love. I applaud it wholeheartedly. But babies? Really? REALLY? They know not what they do! It can be terribly embarrassing in public (‘Your dog is humping my leg’ ‘Oh sorry, no, that’s my baby’ ‘Right, that’s OK then. Carry on’) but they are INNOCENT. We just have to quietly and discreetly prevent them from getting themselves off. Innit.
When I worked as a TA in a primary school there was a little boy who liked to grind up against tables. And chairs. And toy boxes. And the bench in the playground. You get the idea. At first I was a bit startled by how, um, vigorous he was. ‘Is he doing what I think he’s doing?’ I asked the teacher. ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘just ignore him. Don’t draw attention to it.’ But it was hard to ignore when all the other children are sitting down nicely and he’s making sweet love to a table. Eventually we couldn’t ignore it and resorted to removing him from whatever he was being attentive to, even if this meant moving him around the entire classroom several times during class. In the end, his family moved to Australia. So I imagine he’s harassing some kangaroos now.
That’s an extreme example of an over-amorous young boy. I’m sure 99% of children don’t do this. And maybe I’m being presumptuous when I say that I won’t have that problem with Moo. Girls can grind, too, right?
And where do we draw the line in between being groovy and OK with our bodies and their sexual functions, and over-sexualising young children before they’ve even entered puberty? I want Moo to be able to talk to me and her father about the ‘squeamish’ stuff, if she needs to. But do I really want to be having a conversation about masturbation with her while she’s still a child?
Moo is 16 months old. I know I’m worrying about stuff that I don’t need to worry about yet. But out of interest – those of you with older children – have you had to deal with anything similar?
Oh and I’m totally expecting y’all to share your wanking anecdotes now, thank you.
*waits patiently by comments box*