Thursday, 14 January 2010

Class war

Another thought struck me today related to this, that for the last decade I've felt very much trapped between social classes and it normally leaves me feeling very isolated.

This occurred to me tonight when, after my exam, I made my way to a pub near my home to catch as much of the Rovers-Villa semi-final as I could. (That was a conscious decision - I was avoiding watching it at the nearest pub to the college and then ending up hanging around in town drinking afterwards until the bus home.) There can be few more obvious juxtapositions than a two hour psychology exam essentially forcing me to discuss why people are fucked, followed by an hour sat on my own watching people who are fucked.

What struck me was that I've always felt somewhere inbetween the working class I was born in to - the people who drink socially in the pubs I like - and the middle class - the people I've always intellectually more associated with. I've never been that close to my family apart from liking how they can, without a second's notice or a hint of awkwardness, gather for any social occasion and totally relate to each other. That is something that very few middle class, geographically disparate families I have ever known, have been capable of doing, and it's a very warming thing. On the other hand, from an early age at school I always associated with the clever lads and am still great friends with them to this day - and they're all from middle class backgrounds. My girlfriends have been from that background, too; I'm attracted to intelligence before anything else, I know by now.

What I've put myself through is a torn life between the fantastic honesty and utterly genuine warmth of my family, tempered by their requirement for beer and complete lack of relation I feel for them often, and the intellectual and comic rewards I've always sought from my friends, partly cancelled out by their own detachment and individualistic views. Pub-going people are by definition blessed with social skills, warmth and a genuine temperament few possess, but equally they have a fondness for laughing too loud at simple jokes and taking the edge off most humour. The more gifted people out there have a knack of seeing into your soul with a wise comment, but are more than fond of patronising comments and sorry put-downs. Somewhere in the middle is who I look for but I've ended up with this huge mass of friends and family who I can relate to in one way or another but few of whom I feel any real kinship with, and I've been using beer to fill in those gaps.

I often think that just "taking it as it comes" is the best answer, but the fundamental issue with that is that if that ability isn't born into you, and you're one of those people who want to make a difference and give answers to people, you can't just take things like this as they come.

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