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02 September 2006 @ 10:00 pm
Memoirs of a really boring person  
Ah, the joys of an Irish public library in a smallish former market town. (And if you didn't get the healthy dose of sarcasm in that sentence, hold out your glass -- this one's on me.) I've become accustomed to the fact that my family's bathroom has a bigger floor space, that they stock number three -- and only number three -- of every series and trilogy, and that you'd stand a better chance waiting for newly published books to fall out of the sky than loaning them out within two years of their debut. One thing I hadn't factored in was the calendar -- it's Saturday. The day when beleaguered parents take their cawing offspring to their five-minute immersion in voluntary edification.

And I do mean five minutes. I was quite horrified to hear, during my hour, the phrases 'Just one book, X!' and 'Hurry up, X, we have to go now' uttered more than once. I felt like saying, "Um, hello? You should be encouraging them to read and letting them browse as long as they like, YOU UTTER MORON WHY DID SOMEONE THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE YOU FUNCTIONING OVARIES/SEMINAL GLANDS?" And not once did I hear a parent say to their child the only thing you should say in a library -- to wit: "Be quiet."

Then again, it's wrong to assume that parents should have a Plan for their children, just because I think they should. It's the only thing that separates us from beasts (or doesn't, depending). You have to give your kids something to believe, even if they don't believe it. You have to show them how they should act, even if they don't act that way. You have to teach them how to think, even if they think differently.

My own parents aren't like this, although for the longest time I thought they were. When, aged eighteen, I finally confessed to my mother that I couldn't go to mass any more because I didn't believe, her reply was: "Oh, really? I expected you to stop ages ago." When I complimented her on her strategy in raising me to love reading to the point of insanity, and with the direct result of excellent grades and career in mind, she said, "But I didn't. You wouldn't go to sleep when you were a kid -- you kept popping in to Dad's and my bed and trying to watch TV with us. I just wanted some time alone with him. You insisted on being told four stories before you'd fall asleep, that's all."

Is it any wonder I can't tell my arse from my elbow, really?

As I walked to the car I passed the second ring of hell, also known as my former music studio. The strains of tortured pianists tinkled into the streets. I paused to recall how many times I'd been made to cry within those four walls (double figures), then hurried on before the Devil They Named Pearl saw me. Good times, good times.
Current Location: in front of my ordinateur
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Where does the good go (Tegan and Sarah)
jehnt: supermanjehnt on September 2nd, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
My father has often been found lamenting the fact that he taught my brother and I to be independent and strong-willed people. It's really awful, he says, because we won't ever do what he tells us to. XD

Parents are silly.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Blue kissscoradh on September 2nd, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Wicked. I learned to be bolshy simply because my father expected me to jump all the time. That's why I really don't understand eg women who submit to wearing bourkas. I'd be all NO WAI DUDE.
jehnt: sga - lorne - confuzzlementjehnt on September 2nd, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
Q: bolshy? What's that? *plays stupid American*

I don't really understand to women who submit to things like that either. I guess my social paradigm (OR WHATEVER) is just so completely different. Like ... I don't even understand girls who do what their boyfriends say all the time. Like I have friends whose boyfriends like control who they see and what they do and just ... I mean, I like boys, but not THAT much. If any boy was all "no sry I don't think you can go hang out with person X because I don't like them" I'd be like "Whatever! PS - don't talk to me again."

Also, uuhhhhhhhh, stupid question, but is PoT a manga or anime??? Because I feel like I should start reading/watching/whatever so I can read everyone's PoT fic ... but I have no idea where to start. :-/
empathic_siren on September 2nd, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
*sly smile* What a lovely, lovely rant. Me thinks your Pearl has much in common with my Farghetto
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Back Golden Pairscoradh on September 2nd, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Piano teachers everywhere are cut from the same cloth. The cloth of EVIL.
mad_martha on September 2nd, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
*snort* I could have written that whole first paragraph, and possibly the second one too.

I have no idea how I ended up loving reading the way I do. My parents were both big on books but I don't remember them actually reading to me much, mostly because I had two older brothers who were always taking Mum and Dad's attention by trying to kill each other with their bare hands. Possibly I just decided at some point that I preferred books to people which, had you known the girls I went to infants' and primary school with, would be a perfectly logical conclusion for anyone to come up with.

I'm sure I learned to be stroppy from Mum though. I mean, there's no way a four-year-old girl thinks up the pleasing phrase "I'm not getting married to keep some man in his idleness" on her own. I happily claim the evil genius for saying it to my starchiest great-aunt in front of the whole extended family though.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Banana headscoradh on September 2nd, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
It wasn't until I noticed the way neither of my parents actively read that I started to question their motives. I mean, I know a few of my friends have notions of denying their kids TV rights and trying to instil in them reading values, so I assumed that's what happened with me. Apparently not. The fact that I turned out like this is a fluke -- depressing. I'd rather have been stupid, pretty and popular, kthanx.

When I was little I was asked what did I like better, food or books. You should have seen the response to the answer I gave ...

At least in our generation, men are supposed to be able to do things like hang towels. The fact that my father cannot master this awesomely difficult task convinces me of the utter superiority of the female sex, in every aspect of life minus urinating from a standing position.
mad_martha on September 2nd, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
At least in our generation, men are supposed to be able to do things like hang towels
I'd introduce you to my brother, but I'm not a sadist. He cannot flush the toilet. Or hang towels, now that you mention it.

I love him dearly but hopefully I will never have to share houseroom with him for an extended period ever again, because I might have to eat the breadknife or something ....
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Bitchsmitescoradh on September 2nd, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
God, my brother does that too! 'Preventing water overuse' or something. If he's that concerned about the environment he should join Greenpeace. I do not love the smell of ammonia, I don't care if he does!

mad_martha on September 2nd, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
At least your brother tries to come up with an excuse. My brother blames the dog!
jehnt: misc - ballet - bluejehnt on September 2nd, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ahhhhh I see. I can cook ramen!

Because we do not talk one on one to the boys we like. That would be too normal.

And the few times I HAVE talked one-on-one to the boys I like, they try to HOLD MY HAND. Which I find weird and unnatural. It's like, let's just skip to the making out already, kthx, except I don't say that because, like, YOU KNOW.

Thanks for the pointer. *is excited*
jehnt: sga - zelenka - cakejehnt on September 2nd, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
Uh. That was a reply to the screened comment ...
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Dane Danescoradh on September 2nd, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
Ramen is noodles! I learned this from PoT. [nodnod] I can do the instant kind, go me.

I can't remember the last time I made out with a boy. Let us skip the fact that I'm a loser and go on to:

Yay! It would be awesome if you got into it too. I could do with a friend here. But I won't hold my breath -- it's a big investment and there's the caveat that you need to watch up to 15 episodes to be sure you hate it, if you hate it, because it's only then that the action gets started. Mind you, I read the manga first so I loved the anime from the get-go -- but it's not like I didn't already know I was odd.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on September 2nd, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
I actually use my mother, father and brother's cards to get books out. They only allow two per person here. That blows, as you can imagine! But yeah. I wonder what exactly they're hoping to achieve with those kids. One of them didn't know what 'reference' meant. Is that it?
Margravine Palavar: Beach Margravinemargravine on September 3rd, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Two per person! *faints and falls off of huge heap of library books*

Oh, dear. You can claim political asylum due to library persecution and come stay on my couch. I live two doors down from the library and can check out an unlimited supply of books and dvds. (Although most of the dvds are crap.) It may be a tiny library but the interlibrary loan process is a thing of beauty and the librarians have been known to forgive late fees.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cooler than youscoradh on September 3rd, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Unlimited? Wow. The most I've ever come across is ten books for a month (when I holidayed in Australia). I can only keep mine for a fortnight 'technically' -- in reality, I've kept them out for a year on two occasions and only had to pay a fiver fine. And I only did that out of guilt, not because I was made to. ;D
Melanie: HYDE } Hmph.4am_secret on September 2nd, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
I honestly have no idea how I came to love reading as much as I do. My parents never ever read to me (neither of them are big readers), and my mother used to punish me by forbidding me to buy books. Even as a kid, aside from feeling it was the end of the world because I didn't do anything but read, I could tell that was messed up :P
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Footballscoradh on September 2nd, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Heh, I do remember that my mother was better pleased when I bought books than when I bought Barbies. Mainly, I assume, because Barbies were like three times more expensive.

Ah, parents. Where would we be without them? (Literally.)
Margravine Palavar: Streetmargravinemargravine on September 3rd, 2006 03:26 am (UTC)
I'm with you on the having a plan for children thing. Even if you have no real clue about developmental psychology, it's easy enough to figure out what's good for the little vermin and encourage it. Why would anyone rush their child out of the library? These must be the same brand of cretins I see bring their kids to Washington, D.C. and then hustle them along without pausing to read any of the nice educational placards so carefully placed throughout the Smithsonian and the National Zoo. They just answer questions the kids ask with made up nonsense! They identify the mice in cages as bushbabies despite the nice sign next to the cage with an illustration of a bushbaby! Gah.

That said, I've been forced to conclude that my parents have no clue. I too thought there was some deliberate rearing until I re-examined my childhood and decided that I was at least 10% raised by the dog and that my parents were making it up as they went along. I'm pleased enough with the results though and I never wanted for books.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Banana headscoradh on September 3rd, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
They just answer questions the kids ask with made up nonsense! They identify the mice in cages as bushbabies despite the nice sign next to the cage with an illustration of a bushbaby! Gah.

Stupid-heads. Then again, maybe parents should get intravenous drips of patience when the kids come along. That or employ the seen-and-not-heard method so at least they aren't constantly pestered.

was at least 10% raised by the dog

Love it!