Another of life’s hard lessons- do they ever end?
I have enjoyed myself so much remembering people and happenings in my past, but I am very wary of writing about memories in a way which might identify, or touch on the experiences, of the others involved. I’ll tell you why.
I was listening to Book of the Week on Radio 4 one morning as I pottered around and suddenly I began to recognise the scene that was being described. It was eerily like an event in my life.
It went on in more detail.
There was no doubt, it was my life!
I had to sit down. It’s quite a shock to turn on the radio and hear a bit of your distant past being humourously retold for the entertainment of the respectable elderly doing their housework on a Tuesday morning.
One of my daughter’s childhood friends had gone on to become a sort of jobbing media personality and had made use of her memories as fodder for some of her writing.
It was the most peculiar feeling. It was the difference in perspective of the same event that shook me most. I had experienced the incident as sad and distressing, but she had written it up as funny and laughable. It was mocking the people involved.
For me it was one of those moments in life when the scales fall from your eyes. When you realise you don’t matter to another person. You are just an insignificant, but marginally amusing detail in the backdrop of their lives.
I did track her down at one point and tax her with it.
“Oh it wasn’t you, it was someone else,” she replied, with more than a hint of irritation.
“What rubbish!” said my daughter, when I eventually told her. (I had been reluctant to mention it to her in case her feelings might be hurt). “Of course it was us! I knew the moment I read the book, but I didn’t like to say anything to you!”
It is easy to get led astray by your own desire to be witty and clever, especially if that’s what makes you a living. Even a humble blogger can get carried away with the pleasure of gaining a few extra hits.
But it doesn’t feel nice to be on the receiving end, to be valued only as the raw material for somebody else’s vanity.
Still, I’ve had that lesson, so perhaps I’m safe to continue!