Leave and cleave

College course is proceeding.  Still in work, but off on holidays for 10 days. I’m going to wait for the exam results, and see if they’ll fire me post October 17th, and then pay me a month’s severance in lieu of notice.  I’m really glad I jumped ship before I was ready, otherwise, I’d have been sitting around with my thumb up my ass post October 17th.

Got mixed reactions from family about starting the software engineering HDip.

Met my grandmother for a barrage of complaints about how I never see her, and the way my mother treats her. Being old means you don’t give a shit any more. She was bombed in WWII in Northern Ireland, then emigrated down South when Catholics weren’t getting their fair share of the good times of the 1950s, and before the fighting started. She said I was stupid for starting a serious relationship so early, and going straight from college to a professional job. She said I should have taken a year out before I got too committed to the woman or a career. She’s 86, and worked herself until she was in so much pain she couldn’t bend down to pick up her children. I respect that. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. But Jesus fuck, suffering olympics gold medalist.

Different story with the woman’s ancestors.

Went with the woman to her grandparents, as her grandmother is recovering from knee surgery. They seemed delighted to have us, and we were talking away for hours about the bastards that wrecked the country. But then when we went home, the woman’s father had gotten a call from his father that we had inconsiderately imposed on them! And she got given out to, despite turning up with flowers. Her father said not to take it seriously, as by all accounts, the grandfather is a bastard himself: a cute hoor, a bollix and a gombeen. But he was as nice as anything to our faces.

At least I know where I stand with my mother’s family: they’re all cunts, and any sprinkle of pleasantness is to be savored. But we got no indication of the grandfather’s displeasure, and the grandmother was having a grand aul time talking with us.

I don’t think you ever get treated as a separate person from your parents in Ireland. You inherit their status in the family, and any problems with you aren’t brought up directly, but go to your parents instead. It was like the time I was homeless, and had to stay with an aunt. But when I got back from holidays, she had turfed me out, and I was totally unaware that was her plan. Even if we get married, we’ll never be a separate “unit” from her side and my side. We’ll still be in the hierarchy that was destined for us since we were born, and almost nothing we can do in life will change that.

If you’re the first born son, great things are expected of you, and you’ll always be treated well in public. But expect to get a bollicking in private over everything because expectations are so high. That goes double if you’re “bright”. If you’re a woman, and the first born, it seems similar, but there is more pressure to do well in school and college. Men always had farming or trades in the past to fall back on.

“15 acres doesn’t marry 30” is a country phrase that describes the interfamily bargaining that went into marriages in the past – it was a business union. But I think, as people moved off that land, it was brains and social capital that were judged. And funnily enough, it seems men marry “up”, as more women had better education and more upper class employment according to our national statistics bureau. She definitely has more brains than I do.

Fuck it. There’s always the civil service to work for.


4 thoughts on “Leave and cleave

  1. “We’ll still be in the hierarchy that was destined for us since we were born, and almost nothing we can do in life will change that.”

    Meh, when it comes to family my policy is to hang out with them when you can, enjoy the good times (if any) you have together and completely disregard any “life advice” they try to offer if you don’t think it makes sense. Also IMO you’ll need to set very clear boundaries around your new “unit” and enforce them whenever necessary. You’ll see, telling family members to fuck off and mind their own business is much easier than giving the same message to strangers 🙂

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