amw (amw) wrote,

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we interrupt this broadcast...

I write a lot. I over-analyze everything. Now i am going to over-analyze in a very British way. Hello, i'm amw and i'm English. I don't remember anything about England, other than my dad and the other army guys piling up sandbags on the beach. Was there a flood? A tidal wave? Was it just a training exercise? I don't remember, i just remember that is the first memory of my life, and perhaps the only memory i have of my childhood before we were posted to West Germany in 1984ish.

In any case, my father was a Rupert. Went to a public school (UK version). Did economics at a toffish university where he met my mother who came from an upper-middle-class Eurotrash family. He joined the military as an officer, got married. I never had to want for anything growing up, but i think my mom's Dutch influence showed in that we never got "lower class" toys like Barbies or Transformers. We got Lego. Books. Computers. Stuff that would make you creative, make you learn. As a kid, i felt poorer than all my friends with all their cool gadgets, but theoretically i was probably richer. Well, financially, i almost certainly was.

Everything went to shit when my parents divorced. Both mom and dad had decent jobs, and the divorce pushed them harder to succeed, especially my mother. I was already a nerd by this point. Enter the step-family. At the time a typical white trash family of New Zealand, although now my step-mother has a PhD and my step-siblings are all well-educated and successful. Upward mobility ftw. But those early years were formative. That was when i broke out of my nerd shell and had my every-other-weekend time to cut loose of the constraints of being the nerd son of an upper-middle-class family.

It stuck. I hate to class-analyze, but hey, i warned you this was going to be British. Pretty much from the moment i turned double-digits, all my friends came from a working class (blue collar, for those of you following in the States) background. Why didn't i hang out with the New Zealand or Dutch equivalents of the Clueless girls? Who knows. I didn't get them and they didn't get me. Who i mostly did hang out with were the kids whose parents were drug addicts or alcoholics or the kids from broken homes... And when i went home to our cute little house for a nice, solid vegetarian meal, they were in a mobile home or a shared apartment or a farmhouse eating KFC or TV dinners.

It stuck. As a later-teen, and even into my 20s, my best friends turned out to be people from oppressed minorities, white trash, or just kids of parents who fought fucking hard to make a living. Those kids were battlers, to turn an Aussie phrase. I identified with the struggle, with the hardship, with the joy of breaking free, but i always felt somewhat of an impostor because my background is actually so fucking privileged by comparison. And yet, i could never properly identify with people of my own socio-economic group.

And then came J, who i married, who when i met was the black sheep of her family - cast out for being a dyke, for not being academically excellent... Of course, once we got married, she made up with her upper-middle-class family because finally she was going to have the "normal" life. She went back to school. Wanted a house and kids. So instead i fell in love with a friend of mine, daughter of an alcoholic and a clerical worker, employed as a union laborer, a serious drug addict herself... Aaand i got divorced. I mean, the fuck? Is this some kind of white guilt thing? Am i pulling some kind of 18th-century noble savage bullshit?

Fuck, i don't know. I don't even try any more. I'm not looking for friends, i'm not looking for partners, i'm just buzzing around this city completely self-absorbed and random. And who comes to talk to me? Immigrants from Kenya, from Egypt, from Spain, from anywhere that isn't Rich Europe. Starving artists. Gypsies. Refugees. Homeless. Sometimes i talk to the New York or Sydney or London hipster ex-pats and they are so fucking vapid i can't even. The conversation doesn't even last 2 minutes. And then some drug addict starts talking about their shitty life and we get each other.

God, i feel like Burroughs or Ginsberg or some other white, privileged, douchebag drug addict. Except, you know, i can't art.

I wonder sometimes if my parents are disappointed. Although it seems i'm now old enough that whatever disappointment they might've had in the past has turned to acceptance. I was a complete drunken wreck last Christmas with dad and my step-family, i think they could count on one hand the hours they saw me sober, and mom's recent visit to Berlin wasn't radically different. It's a pattern, though, and at least i'm not doing furtive bumps in the bathroom when i see them.

The guy i took home last week said he can't really talk to his family any more because he has basically been a drug dealer all his adult life, and what do you say then when they ask you what you are doing? At least i can point to a "real" job. And yet i feel so little comradery with my colleagues. Even the ones who are ravers, and go to the same clubs i do... They are Friday guys, or occasional Saturday guys. For them it's a hobby. For me, my job exists solely to pump money into this scene. On Sunday. On Monday. Whenever. Whenever the real people are there.

Fuck, i don't know.
Tags: looking back

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