The two things the self-darling mentioned that really bothered me were my age (always amusing coming from one’s elder) and my choice of education. My age is only relevant that at 28 I am (oh no) effectively on-the-shelf and have made no inroads into procreating. I’m getting on, you see. I need to decide this now. An infant, obviously, is more important to a woman than paying her way or having any other manner of interaction with life. Since I can barely pay my way now and certainly can’t afford a nanny, let alone being unsure if I’d actually like to have a brat, I rather think that childlessness is quite the sensible option. Apparently, though, the part of my brain not consumed with shoes ought to be working towards finding me a stooge. Oh sorry, I meant a man to take care of me and pay my bills in return for sex, children, no sex, and a whole shitload of crap about how hard my life is and how much I’ve sacrificed. (Though if I were my dear coz I’m sure that it would have gone a little more like this: virtual whoredom, snagged a lovelorn fool, barely put out, got the ring, put out enough to get knocked up, had the baby, and baby you are a fool for life and you know it.) Because, you know, that’s the way it goes and that’s what we’re here for. A thought just occurred to me: maybe her earnest desire to see me with child stems from her obvious belief that I am of otherwise no value to the world – even if I am going to have little fatties.
As noted, she also took me to task about my education. Oh dear, I have a fucking arts degree and we all know what that means. It means that my rich parents put me through university so I could get dumb old me a Mrs. Probably, they paid someone off so that I’d actually graduate cause you just know I didn’t manage to pass any classes. Anyone, you know, can do an arts degree, they’re nothing, honest, you’d have to be a complete fucking moron to even want to study…sorry what are humanities…? Dearest coz could have gone to university, only she’d have done something worthwhile, don’t know what but she’s very clever, probably would have made a doctor. Pity she felt school so restricting when she was sixteen. She’s done loads of Tafe courses since though and you know how, um, academically challenging office studies are. I’m sure she can macramé up a storm or something. It’s a crying shame that she’s unable to manage the basic research to denigrate my education effectively. The education that I will, one day, be forced to pay for. An education that saw me working two or three jobs to barely survive and that taught me rather a lot more than one finds in books or at the hands of skilled teachers. That at twenty I made a conscious decision to sacrifice all I knew because I was intellectually bored and because I needed to break from familiarity. Because I couldn’t prolong childhood any longer by always having someone always there, always looking after me, because I needed more from life than the half-life of a child in their parent’s home. And I was a child, I still think I am a child because it didn’t serve to forge me in the fashion I’d planned. The scared child is the scared child still only now with added debt. She, of course, went from mummy to housemate to hubby all within a one hundred kilometre radius and a handful of years. She has, you can see, every right to look in askance at my life as I have chosen the easy options. And I have no right to look in horror at hers as she has, evidently, the one true path to all that is good and glorious in life. Clearly there’s something wrong with education for its own sake and for not being on the same path as her at 28. Was she on that path then – what was it, five short years ago? They go in a haze, don’t they, years? No sooner one comes than it’s gone. Though I think I can safely say that she was always on the lookout for someone to ease her way and look after her.
By far the most irritating aspect of this interaction was that it had its genesis in my own loose tongue. To be fair, however, not even the best of seers would have foreseen that a former friend to whom, alas, I rather entertainingly described my family now looks set to marry my favourite cousin. Hell, I was there and I didn’t foresee it (or, rather, hoped the beer-goggles and drugs would’ve worked off by now). The bile transfers beautifully from one relationship to another and in the interests of preserving the status quo, and making herself look like the innocent lamb to my vile and aggressive she-wolf, she evidently made free with comments never meant to be heard by their inspiration. The obvious lesson is to be far more careful about who I rudely, if truthfully, discuss and with whom I discuss them. As I now have a dearth of cousins with whom I speak regularly and/or who are on the hunt for a