Sunday, 12 December 2010


Honestly? Well, it wasn’t all just sitting about waiting to go to hospital. I mean, a lot of it is, especially toward the end. But, as I discovered slowly and surely whilst Charlotte’s belly ripened, someone up there is very practical. It is not by chance that a pregnancy lasts nine months. As a matter of fact, it’s ruddy genius, by Jove! Especially in this day and age. Once upon a time maybe not so genius as having children was more of an obligation. That is, you learnt your trade from your father, became an apprentice by the time you were fifteen, married a fifteen-year-old girl when you were twenty, had children, took over your father’s place of work, trained your child until he was fifteen and so on and so forth. Everyone was happy, surely. And then what did we have to go and do? Give ourselves options, that’s what! It happened all very gradually. It is not as if we, as a species, woke up one morning and unpretentiously said ‘Fuck it, who needs simplicity and contentment? We want lots of options!’. It was a process. Some may say inevitable but that is a matter of opinion.   
   Nevertheless, we now find ourselves in a situation in which we have a very varied selection of everything. We don’t need a lot of these choices, you know, like breakfast cereals. You want Frosties? Just put sugar on your cornflakes! I say porridge for all! And if you don’t like it, go hungry! Even the most insignificant of quotidian actions will present us with a very assorted set of options. For example, ordering a coffee, right? In the past the bartender would ask you if you wanted sugar and milk or not. Therefore, you had a total of four choices: black, black with sugar, white or white with sugar – yes, for the more pedantic (and duller) of you, there is the fifth choice of not wanting the coffee, but then why the fuck did you go into the cafe’ in the first place? In any event, why not pop down to your local cafe’ right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Starbucks as even the small businesses feel they have to keep up. Go down there, play the fool and ask them what they have in the line of coffees. Espresso, latte, macchiato, extra coffee caramel frappuccino, double chocolaty chip frappuccino and twenty-one other types of frappuccini, not to mention decafs and iced-coffees. You have just woken up. You were just too lazy to make yourself a coffee at home because let’s face it, you make a shit coffee and, after all, the sun is shining so you decided to have your morning coffee out. It is in that exact moment that you are presented with your first forty-seven choices of the day. For a coffee? Even the most strong-willed of cafe’ frequenters will cave and try, at least once, every coffee on the menu’. Just those last four words are wrong: coffee on the menu’. A menu’ for coffees? Unreal. I take mine black with one sugar, by the way. Too many choices kill the imagination. I am rambling now. Willingly I will go back to the whole nine-month duration being very savvy.
   The point I was trying to make was that having a child, which was once a pseudo-obligation, is now a choice. Actually, the fact that you get over the first trimester and announce it publicly will lead those around you to conclude that you went through a thousand choices to get that far. That’s the bottom line. We are so conditioned by the vast quantities of choices we have before us in everything we do that it may seem absurd that someone may not consider the choices but just follow his gut-instinct and do what he feels is right or, to put it differently, he was aware of the possible consequences of his actions. Basically, we have lost confidence in ourselves. You know, the idea that couples say ‘We are trying to get pregnant’ signifies, in the times we live, that they have made a very conscious choice and they assume that others actually give a damn. What do they want? A pat on the back? Is it only a very sick and highly indiscrete way of telling us that they are getting it on? If that is the case, well, I am constantly ‘trying’ to get Charlotte pregnant and when I am asked if we are ‘trying’ for a second I always have the same answer: even when she’s not looking. (to be continued very soon).

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