I had one of those nice warm fuzzy moments this weekend. I was up earlyish on Saturday, and while treating myself to the customary "I've-the-weekend-off" scrambled eggs on toast with big pot of tea, I turned on Sky Go. ESPN's "gold" channel was either on freeview/part of the subs, or whatever this weekend. They were showing vintage rugby from 2005's 6 nations tournament.
Now the one and only thing my last ex and I had in common was an interest in rugby. Really, honestly, that was it. Well, there was one two other things, but they're well below the boundary line for blogs, so really the rugby thing was a highly critical part of the relationship, a sort of common lynchpin through which we could actually enjoy SOMETHING in common without looking confused, cringing or biting one's tongue.
I recall the 2005 tournament well. We were in domestic bliss at the time, were pretty much in a good place all round. Anyway, we spent the championship weekends watching with two friends of the ex who were, shall we say, would have been perfect fodder for reality TV. The older one, a pure Norrie, had dumped her husband of a few years for a 17-year old co-worker in the seedy nightclub they worked in, and shortly ousted him out of the house for her teenage lover. You couldn't make it up. I christened them the "Glanmire Chavs." My tolerance gradually drained, over a long period of time.
Anyway I recall watching that particular Ireland/England game in either the pub in Glounthaune beside the shop or the one that serves food in Little Island, one of them is the "Rising Tide", I can't recall which. What I do recall was realising a) that the younger sister we were including in rounds of drink wasn't actually 18 (mentioning to my ex met a "don't mention the war" type response, sure enough, the poor kid was pregnant within a year) and b) that the alcoholic mother was actually starting to pass out.
Oh dear. I remember having to blank out the sense of "oh God" that I felt at the time.
Cue to 8 years down the road, and there's a real sense that I'm in a better place. None of this sense of acute embarrassment at the anti-social antics of people who are beyond criticism. None of this coercion to hang with people who really, you've no more in common with than the language you speak.
You know, there is an awful lot to be said for being single sometimes. I couldn't help feeling a sense of relief that I've brushed every last element of the cringe-factor out of my life - at least THAT kind of cringe-factor. My own stuff is a different matter, but at least I'm responsible for myself. If this entry seems like smug, snobbish cruelty, well perhaps it is. But how much should you have to endure outside of what you believe is the "way I live".
Now I'm about as classy as an ASBO, and I've been in a fair amount of trouble myself, and have behaved appallingly in public from time to time, but this was a normal afternoon in this terribly dysfunctional family and it was horrible to witness. So glad to be away from all of that, and so determined to never again draw myself back into that kind of company, whatever it means. But god, was it nice to feel I could live my life the way I want without being subjected to such a horrible environment. Never again will I let myself get dragged down like that.