Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Allan's Rant

A few weeks ago, my dad decided to set up a blog. I don’t really know what convinced him to do it. Perhaps it was an inferiority complex he inherited from richer relations we met at my cousin’s wedding (who simply love to blog about how much money they have, and how much better their lives are when compared to ours). It might have been my own exertions of pressure; since the credit crunch, I find myself (consciously and subconsciously) hunting down ingenious ways of making a quick pound or 2 out of unsuspecting members of my friends and family circle. My father is a self confessed grumpy old man (you don’t believe me? Check out the blog), in fact, he makes those heroes of the series look like a rather cheerful bunch of chaps! His rants about driving (well, women drivers to be exact), Rubbish on TV, going shopping, queues at airports and other public amenities etc, left me certain that if dad could get himself noticed by the producers in the know, we could live rather comfortably off his fame and fortune! Gained simply by nature of him being who he is! Since that discussion took place, he’d commented (jokingly or so I thought), that he was going to set up a blog. I volunteered to do this for him a couple of times, mainly as a gage to work out just how serious he was, but he declined casually, saying he would work it out on his own. I knew he wouldn’t of course; my dad is most certainly very technical (and far more technical than me, which wouldn’t be hard I know!), but the finer points of internet browsing, shopping etc have rather past him by! I wasn’t quite sure where he’d end up with the blog thing (if any where), and just put it down to a momentary whim post our trip to the wedding (my parents have allot of such whims by the way, usually instigated by dad). So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a call from dad the other night, announcing that he’d set up his blog, and wanting to know what I thought of it! “great!”, I said “what is the link? Did you send it to me?”, he calmly said he hadn’t quite worked out how to send links, but he gave me what I thought was the address, and I went off to see what words of wisdom my father had written! I was shocked by the eloquence of the letters, political comment and journalistic spin that emanated from the page that opened up! Could my father really write like this? Had I been blind all my life to the immense creativity and innovation hidden behind that apparent toughened West of Scotland exterior?
As I dreamed some more I happened to scroll down the page, and learnt to my disappointment! That the site I had opened was a blog run by some mate of Boris Johnston, (who isn’t my dad by the way; I think he’d rather be seen dead than do that!). I called dad back then, informing him that he’d given me the wrong link to the blog:
“oh” he said “ you missed out the –“ “but dad” I said incredulously, “ you didn’t tell me about any –“, he said “oh? I thought I did, but does it really make a difference?”, I dread to think what will happen if dad ventures in to the world of following, uploading video, pictures and the like.
Any way, for those burning with a desire to read, you can check it out at: www.allans-rant.blogspot.com (don’t forget the -), there was only 1 post up there before I looked, but it was pretty good for an intro, and suffice as to say my earlier comments on dad’s literary talents may not have been entirely misplaced!
What struck me in particular though were his kind words about me, and how he dedicates his blog, (or rather his rants), to me. I suppose I never thought he would have done that. Its not so much that he acknowledges I giving him the idea, but more his pride in me as his daughter, for the person that I am, and the fact that despite our major differences, and frequent misunderstandings, we have an unspoken bond which, although makes no sense to the world, is understood, nurtured and treasured by both of us in our own special way.
As a child, I was always terrified of dad, he was the one who disciplined me, ruled me with a rod of iron, the one who slapped me if it was needed, who grounded me and laid down the law of our family. My mum never ever challenged him, even when things got rough and she had perfectly valid reasons not to! A short-term family split and a host of other upsets kept dad and I separate for a long time (in spirit more than the physical sense), and my marriage was certainly enough to instil what felt like permanent alienation in both of us. After my foreign trip however, every thing changed! Perhaps it was me, perhaps it was dad! But somehow conversation flowed much more easily! If my dad was getting wide, I had no hesitation in telling him so. Not only that, but I could joke with him, could disagree with him, and didn’t let his moods or rants sway me in any particular direction. Maybe the journey had given me a new sense of self worth, confidence and the courage of my convictions, maybe the absence had softened his heart towards me (its amazing what distance can really do; apart from just making the heart grow fonder), in my case, I think the biggest thing the distance had brought about was an end to the fear I constantly carried around with respect to my dad. We started to go out for lunch, to watch TV together and develop hidden codes and in-jokes with respect to my mum’s crazy relatives! It was nice, it was almost like discovering my father for the very first time. Looking back on it now, I see that it was very much about the almighty setting the scene for what was to come; at that time, dad new he had a unique genetic complaint which would require lifelong monitoring and testing to insure it did not affect him, and just a few months on, shortly after buying my flat, I was to learn I’d have the same thing. Our yearly check-ups, scans, blood tests and visits to the clinic brought us closer in ways that neither of us could articulate. I can’t forget dad’s reaction when he learnt that I too had inherited the corrupted gene. He was devastated, telling my mum and uncle how guilty he felt, and how in some way he believed he was responsible for inflicting this on me. If there was any resentment or anger about the past in my heart right then, it melted away to insignificance. Whatever had gone before, be it childhood or thereafter, it could not be changed, but what could be altered was the future we now found ourselves tangled up in, (dodgy genetics or other wise).

As we attended the clinic yesterday for yet another check-up, (all was fine by the way), I pondered over just how similar we both are, though we might loathe to admit it; the quiet way we worry about things, often taking our fear out on those closest to us, how we disappear off and cry in secret rather than share our pain. How both of us have a degree of difficulty in expressing ourselves, particularly with respect to love. Above all however, I smile at how much both of us love to rant, and how my dad was the one intuitive enough to recognise the need for an appropriate outlet for that ranting, hence the blog!

Needless to say, I love it, for what it represents, for the fact that my dad has been open enough, strong enough and creative enough to actually take it forward, and I love it for the fact that something in his blog speaks loudly from between the lines about the bonds we share and the rants we revel in.
Do check it out, and do leave some comments; both of us have fragile egos, and both of us love a little praise once in a while (even if its not entirely justified, praise is praise for all that and always makes the heart fly!).

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