The leaps and bounds in a human being are a marvel to observe. My wife told me that my daughter had sat under our little kitchen table yesterday and said “I am unhappy”. It seems impossible that she’d be able to formulate any kind of comprehensible sentence, but one that expressed such a complicated emotion is bamboozling. I don’t think it was a deep existential angst. I think it was a little strop because she hadn’t been allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast, but it’s still an incredible step forwards in becoming a human being. And how typical to express unhappiness before ever having spoken of happiness.
As she begins to understand the meat machine she finds herself imprisoned in then things will get much more complex. For now it’s all about experimenting and learning. She also rather overplays the sensation of pain, now she understands it, saying “it hurts” so often that part of me wonders if she has some terrible condition that means the brush of the softest tissue against her skin leaves her in agony.
But weirdly her ability to express her unhappiness fills me with delight. I think only because I know it’s not a real unhappiness - I am going to find it hard to cope when life genuinely gets her down and unhappiness isn’t just about a temporary failure to get her own way.
What an exquisite combination of pleasure and pain, hope and fear, being a parent is.
On the flip side there’s a possibility that we are terrible parents and have a two year old who is depressed and in constant agony.
Up to Barnsley today. I wasn’t sure I’d been here before, but in fact I’ve been here at least twice. I remembered the theatre once I got there. I did very slightly better with numbers than I had five years ago with 113 sales. Yeah, that’s right baby, back over 100. My career is on the up. Bex my tour manager had mentioned that Barnsley is one of the EDLs heartlands and I found myself joking about this a lot. Luckily the audience enjoyed the piss taking and part of the joy was my inability to control my tongue. My favourite bit was telling them that people in Leeds had said that Barnsley folk would not give any money to Scope, just in case any of the cash went to black disabled children… But even as I was closing the show I couldn’t resist one more dig, before chastising myself for being unfair to what had been a brilliant and almost entirely non-racist crowd.
See I still can’t stop it.