Hello.I was confused and sore headed.
Uhm – HiYou look good today.
I was quite proud of myself for moving to London, it seemed like the place to make something of myself even if that something was a confused Himmler lookalike with alcoholic pretensions and a fried chicken bloodlust. So when she said I looked good my first thought wasWell damn, maybe I do.
So I said simply Thanks.
She smiled at me, a slightly wan smile that pushed the dark smudges under her eyes up a little.
So, you want to go somewhere?
She smiled again but it was fading now.
Somewhere - just you and I.
Reality came into view and my mouth lost its self control.
Wait a minute, you’re a prostitute.
She hushed me.
So - do you want to go somewhere or not?
I shook my head but said thank you very politely and wished her a nice day. Before I had finished she had already turned away and slipped her hand into another chaps arm.
I met more in Cambodia. One lady was working in Cambodia to send money back to raise her son in Thailand. She cut hair, bedded English backpackers and in between time she chatted with my wife and I at the bar. She also told us when we’d been there too long, waving us off and pointing out it was 2am and we were due to leave the next day. She had a huge smile and lovely eyes.
Last Friday night Toes wouldn’t go to sleep. She decided to change out of her pyjamas and into a purple dress she had for ballet. She found some make up and plastered her cheeks and lips in rouge and scarlet. She found some high heels that an aunt had given her and she strutted into the lounge and struck a pose.
What are you doing?
I need someone to pretend to be the customer.
She stuck one leg out again and pouted at me.
I need someone to pretend to be the customer.
What does the customer do?
Knock at the door and I answer it. Will you be the customer Dad?
I stood, not knowing how to play this game.
C’mon Dad, knock on the door and be the customer.
Uhm – bed time darling. C’mon off to bed now.
She shouted in protest but it seemed easier than finding out what my 4 year old thought the customer did. I have since figured that she was emulating a neighbour of ours who wears bright lip stick, dresses in the style listed only as fabulous and works at the markets selling vintage clothes but on Friday night that explanation hadn’t occurred to me.
I don’t mind what the kids grow up to be though Toes Friday night career path was a shock. There are things I’d rather they weren’t of course – religious, working in real estate, loveless, addicted, bored, but beyond that? In my ideal world Bear would be a fireman (who owns a restaurant). Currently he is determined to grow up to be Thor, Iron Man and Hulk (Thors head and hammer, Hulks arms and legs and Iron Mans rocket feet and weapons). Toes would become a talented guitar playing Goth (who also owns a restaurant). The Goth side of it is to combat the deluge of pink she wears at the moment. Currently she wants to be either a mother with 2 babies, 3 on Sunday and she has a list of potential boyfriends.
Neither the fireman or the guitar Goth are likely to happen, so here’s hoping on the restaurant. I saw an older couple in a restaurant once. The waitress asked if they had a reservation and the chap said My son owns the restaurant. He asked us to come down.
Damn I thought, that would be cool. A table was cleared and a parade of food bought out along with wine. With this image in mind I hope. Every day I hope.
Wouldn’t you be disappointed if Bear grew up gay?
The question came up with some folk over dinner not long ago and our answer was immediate.
Of course not.
But it’s such a hard life. Don’t you want them to be – well - normal?
We just want them to be happy. Anywhere, anyhow. Just happy.
Normal? An IT worker I used to know liked to be peed on by married women. Finn, a woman I despaired working with, judged potential partners on how much they knew about Harry Potter – if you knew enough you might get to bed with her. I never got my head around the Q&A session she must hold in the lounge – What was the name of Harry’s school? If the chap says Hogwarts he gets a flash of thigh, a kiss on the cheek. What shape scar does Harry have? If he answers a Triangle then the buttons are fastened and he’s shown the door.
It must be so hard to not be normal.
It must be harder to spend time worrying about what’s not normal. Bear and Toes have no idea about normal. There is not a whisper of racism in them (though Toes is fascinated with darker skin), there is not a hint of homophobia (though Toes and Bear both agree that adults kissing is gross be it men and men or men and women – amusingly Bear, when considering the idea of girls kissing girls said That would be cool Dad) and the only violence they have is towards beetles – Toes loves them to death, stroking the legs off of them and Bear, if you’re not watching him, likes to stamp on them. They've not been told anything is abnormal so nothing is.
My daughter is a 4 year old in heels and make up looking for a customer. Bear made a Thors Hammer out of a tissue box and tin foil at the weekend and then sat down and watched a Barbie movie with his sister.
A fireman (with a restaurant) and a Goth indie singer with a guitar (and a restaurant). That’s my ideal. It won’t happen, I know that. But the less normal they turn out the more delighted I think I’ll be – well, as long as they don’t become real estate agents.
(written while listening to the new Sigur Ros album - damn it's beautiful. Like, love, share the blog, reassuring man hugs for all)