Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nature/Nurture

Clearly I've been doing a lot of introspection of late. And something that came to me was my first memory.

Now I never breast-fed as a child; there's always been a stoic 'No thank you' whenever those things have been pushed in my face. I also remember that I was rather fond of tipping my walk-along truck on its side and opening the lid and pretending it to be a washing machine. Clearly doing domestic chores is now beneath me, but as a child, I found the arts of household drudgery fascinating. All going to prove that I was a... special child. 'Theatrical' some would say. 'A downright nancy' my father would add, but then he was never that accepting and, if I think about it now, probably had some chromosomes missing. But my first memory nigh on puts the nail in the whole nature/nurture debate.

At the time I'm thinking about, my parents were living in a tiny council flat at the back end of Brownhills; not the most promising of areas, but there was a chip shop and a nick-nack store within pushchair distance so they seemed happy. I remember I had my own room, and when they put me to bed at the obscenely early time of five o'clock I would defiantly get out of bed and play for hours because I was off my tits on Vyral, a yeast-based extract my mother used to dip my pacifier into. It used to send me loopy, running around the lounge and gamboling into furniture. Years later when she was screeching this 'hilarious' story to two of her friends, three packets of salt-and-vinegar and a few empty glasses acting as their cauldron, I asked her why, if it sent me crawling the walls, did she give it to me day in, day out. She replied that in those days I had to remember there were only three television channels.

Anyway, this first memory. I knew it was Thursday morning as my mother always went out for a drink on a Wednesday night. Oh she did like a Babycham, a dance, and maybe a gentleman caller back if my father was away on business, as he was oft want to in those days. I recall being introduced to a succession of 'uncles' over a period of time to come, including a rather marvelous soldier called Alex, all dark hair and compact muscle, and dumb as Britney's kids. I'll say it now - well done mum. I do believe I admired her for that, and lets say when it comes to similarities between her and I, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.

I digress once more. Back to that seminal Thursday morning where I was walking through the detritus of the night out: a couple of empty bottles, a handbag with a kebab still in it, and a pair of patent deep blue stilettos, kicked aside after a night on the tiles. I don't know what drew me to them, those shoes. Perhaps a glint of morning light through our hideous flame-design curtains caught them there on the floor. But I picked them up and with the edge of my dressing gown, gave them a bit of a polish.

And that is my first memory. Me, polishing my mother's stillies. What a gloriously wholesome image there. Something to be proud of, something to treasure.

Shame that the next memory I have is of a weird sexual awakening on a Welsh beach. But that's a whole other story.

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1 comment:

Tickersoid said...

Those, 'oh so telling' first memories.
Mine, whilst banging different shaped pegs, very successfully into appropriate holes, (I had a mechanical bent even then) It suddenly occurred to me, 'Where did I come from?' I was existentialist even then.
The second memory, was an unfortunate incident with a pair of steel knitting needles and a round pin electric socket.