1/31/2008

This is England

Thank you to everyone who commented or sent emails calling the people who broke in fun words like "assholes" and "fuckers". I knew there was a reason I loved you all.

We were not broken into today, so we have made it one full week without someone kicking in our door and taking our stuff. Rock on. Who knows, we may even make it months, MONTHS without having to get a new laptop! I have carefully labelled all of our electronic gear with an ultraviolet pen, as advised by the police officers who came to take the report. Incidentally, they kept referring to our bedroom as the "crime scene", as it was made a mess of with jewellery strewn everywhere, wardrobes opened, and bedside cabinets emptied. Do not think it escaped my notice that our bedroom, once the site of Bataan Death March sex, and more recently, no sex at all, was frequently referred to as a "crime scene". No shit, officer. No shit.

Shaken as I was by this (btw, my apologies for my post-break-in post, because hello, h-i-s-t-r-i-o-n-i-c), it made me think further on why I have said numerous times that I don't want to raise P in this country. That is not to say that one burglary has convinced me to bribe a Canadian immigration official to expedite our residency application, but it's just another nail in the coffin of England, which, let's face it, would probably just get nicked anyway.

I want to raise P in a place that does not have people pissing in the middle of the street at 2pm. I want her to be able to play in the park without hearing dimwitted chav mothers telling her 4 kids under the age of 8 to "Shut the fuck up". It would be nice for her not to see drunks stumbling down the street at midday, or loud-mouthed louts walking around with cans of Stella clutched in their hands at all hours, night and day.

When The Dude came home to find our splintered door, he was very un-Dude. Normal Dude would flip out and book the next flight to the US and just stay there until Canadian residency was granted, but this Dude was totally zen. He said, "Everyone gets done once!", with a casual nature that is so unlike The Dude that I'm inclined to think he has been replaced with a pod person. It's sad that Pod Dude, being English and all, thinks that being burgled is just a part of life. I grew up in white bread, all-American, middle class suburbs, and I couldn't tell you of anyone I knew growing up whose house had been broken into. Middle class ignorance, middle class bliss.

Ever since having P, I'm all about living in a sequestered community. Throw up a big old gate, I'll hide behind it with my family. Perhaps tellingly, I initially typed "from" my family. Either way, I'm not opposed to the gate. This does bother me, liberal, hippy leftie that I am. Parenting is making me want to hide my child from all the bad people, and even the mildly bad people. Let me stress, not poor people, just naughty people. I plan on raising her to be directly involved with charitable causes, because she needs to know how fortunate she is. My mom used to make us spend our Easter Sundays serving up dinners at the local homeless shelter, and aside from the one time when a man in his 50s told my 14 year old self that he wanted to get between the sheets with me, I enjoyed it.

I know I can't shield her forever, which is why I want to do it when she's young. It's not like I want to keep her so isolated that she's like a kid stumbling out of the woods after living with one of those Mormon-like cults in deepest Utah, but I want to heavily censor her reality. Is that weird? As I say, I feel like I'm deeply betraying my liberal leanings - wanting to run away from the problem rather than help.

My mom always warned me that you get more conservative as you age. Am I turning into Pat Buchanan? Now, if you'll excuse me I must go polish my rifle.

13 comments:

Suz said...

I haven't thought of gated communities but dream of living on a cul-de-sac, away from speeding cars and kids driving pocket bikes.

Meg said...

Yes, I horrify myself by surprising bursts of conservatism too. Like finding the idea of a film about teenage pregnacy totally unfunny on every level, for example. Or the fact that I work at a school in a wealthier part of town becasue I couldn't hack the naughty kids in the disadvantaged school I started at.

*SIGH* Some left-wing commie pinko I turned out to be.

rockmama said...

I totally could have written this post. These are EXACTLY the reasons why we are moving Stateside in a couple of years.

If I spend a Saturday shopping in my hometown, I come home a little tired. If I spend a Saturday shopping in an English high street, I come home wanting to kick people's heads in. That's reason enough for me to want to leave.

It's the kids here that surprise me the most. At 10 or 11 (or even 15, mind you), would your mother have let you hang out on a village playground at 11pm, fucking around, making noise and just generally making a nuisance of yourself? HELL NO. Do parents here not give a shit where their kids are or something?

I've come to accept my conservative streak. Am I still gonna vote Democrat? Of course. But do i get just a little pissed off about constantly being taxed into the ground? You betcha.

PiquantMolly said...

Wow. Ahem.

Makes me really *look forward* to living in London, this post.

Yeah.

Becky said...

I hear Chicago is nice this time of year.

(hint, hint).

realitytesting said...

Everyone gets burglarized once? Is this true? Oh my God, that's awful if it really is.

Helen said...

I dunno-I got burgled a number of times in the States, so far the only danger I have in my neighborhood is the threat of a cow getting loose (hey-the sticks aren't that far out of London).

I asked Angus if he'd ever been broken into and he said no, but then he grew up in a nutty town here, no doubt it's because they were all too busy praying to the moon gods or some such shit.

Almamay said...

Sorry London hasn't been very good to you. I've been here 21 years (from NYC) and have never been burgled. Must be dumb luck on my part. You must still be very upset, I would be. I'm so glad you and your family weren't home.

wheelsonthebus said...

First, I am sorry about the break-in. That is terrifying.

Second, I think having kids does this to ALL of us. I really do. We are more liberal in some ways, but when it comes to protecting our children, we figure we can only do so much so we should at least do that.

Third, here in SW London, now and then they don't stop at pissing in the street :)

Emily

S said...

I think your mom is right because I've become more and more conservative as I've gotten older, especially since having K.

Anita said...

Sgt and I moved to the country this summer. It was the best thing we've ever done. I never lock my doors, my older boys can't get into shit like they would in the city (not that they can't find trouble here ... cow tipping is a popular sport among the teens) and the quietness is amazing. Like Helen, the only thing we worry about is wayward cows walking down the road.

Where in Canada are you trying to move too? Our little town is great and we could always use another chick with a smart mouth and sharp tounge.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here actually really bother me. Considering I live in England I can find those statements about my country offensive.

First of all you can't judge the entirity of Britain and the UK based on the place you live. I.E if you live in London it will have a worse crime rate than other places in the UK.

If you live in London you're going to have a much different lifestyle. It's busier, dirtier, etc than a lot of other places. It's also more expensive.

If you prefer the USA that's your perogative but it's really unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.

You got burgled. That's a horrible thing to happen, but if you tell me that isn't just as common in the USA as in England I won't believe you. People get burgled EVERYWHERE. There are bad people EVERYWHERE.

Again, a commentor here asked if parents 'give a shit about their children'. Is this seriously, just happening in the UK? Because forgive me, but, I'm pretty sure all around the world, there are badly behaved children and bad parenting. That doesn't make EVERYONE here bad parents. It disgusts and angers me that you would be so stereotypical as to take a few examples you've seen and make assumptions.

I'm not going to stand here and say my country is perfect. Without a doubt it's not. We have the same problems as any other country. I can say for 1000% certainty that America is a lot less perfect than the UK in a lot of respects.

But I'm damn certain i feel alot safer in a country where guns aren't legal. Where school shootings aren't all over the news with monotonous regularity...But, that's not to say I would judge every American with the same thing. I certainly wouldn't reply to a post claiming that everyone in the USA seems to shoot people...

Maybe next time you should consider people's feelings before making judgements.

rockmama said...

Actually, anonymous, what i said was "do people not give a shit about where their children ARE?" You may want to consider reading things through before opening your anonymous wordhole. But just for the record, the sentiment is the same. If you were a caring parent, would you let your school age children stay out till all hours god-knows-where, doing god-knows-what? That this happens ALL OVER BRITAIN and is IN THE NEWS CONSTANTLY is enough to tell me that a lot of parents here in the UK aren't taking their responsibilities seriously.

I live in an extremely picturesque, rural area and STILL encounter the same kinds of horseshit from people that Pru is describing in her post. I live here, I pay taxes, I judge things as I see them. Get over yourself.