8 years, 3 months ago


Link: http://weblog.tetradian.com/2012/12/28/family/

Another Christmas, another cold. I just don’t seem well adapted for English winter…

Nor for families either, I guess. In England at least, Christmas is both a religious festival and family festival – yet even at best I’ve never felt more than peripheral to any of that. The perennial Outsider: never a real sense of belonging anywhere, anywhen, or with anyone – not even in my own birth-family, to be honest. Oh well.

I don’t have family of my own, and I just don’t seem to have any way to connect with others in the way that most others seem to do. I do try, but I guess I’m just not cut out to be social. For historical reasons which don’t much matter here, fact is that I kind of missed out on most of the usual means on how to learn that, way back when, and I’ve never really found a way to catch up since. Sorry.

Much the same applies in the virtual-world, on Twitter and the other social-networks: I do engage (sort-of), and I do try to advertise other people’s good work, but I’m not good at the small-talk bit, and I’m definitely not good at the ‘thank you for retweeting me’ social-network equivalents of the after-Christmas thank-you notes. My apologies, is about all I can say… I don’t mean anything by not doing the ‘thank you for the thank you’ bit, it’s just I’m a social ignoramus, is all…

Still, perhaps there’s some hope for me yet. Earlier this Christmas the cold had gotten so bad that I’d reduced myself, sniffling and snuffling, into watching old videos on iPlayer – and the severe constraints on the BBC’s current budget is well reflected in the sheer paucity of their choice of films. I’d even slumped so far as to sit through Robert Rodrigues’ kids’-film Spy Kids 3: Game Over, most of which sits in that sad space somewhere between almost too clunky to be worth watching, yet not bad enough to be enjoyable for its awfulness. But the very last scene, clunky though it was, caught my attention, not least because of its cultural undertones.

Spy Kids is nominally a Hollywood franchise: yet even though the language is English, just about everything else in the film is Latin culture through-and-through. And the place where this stands out the most is in that last scene. Before this, the kid heroes have done their task; they’ve handed over to grandfather to admonish and yet forgive the bad-guy, who’s agreed to change his ways, at which everyone’s breathed a sigh of relief. At this point the cast do something that I don’t think I would ever see in an Anglo movie. The kids stand with the parents: all four of them reach out their hands together and shout “To family!” The grandparents join in, and join hands with the others: “To family!” Then all the allies from this film, and the adversaries too: “To family!” And then, each introduced by brief cameos, all of the allies and adversaries from the previous two films of the series join their hands to the pile, each with a shout of “To family!” A near-random bunch of misfits, eccentrics and Outsiders – all of them somewhat broken, yet all of them acknowledged also as human in that brokenness – all linked together by this one strange notion of ‘family’.

And I’d guess that that’s the kind of ‘family’ that we have here, around enterprise-architecture and the like. And much as is often true for me in real-life ‘family’ too, here I’m perhaps best described as a somewhat-eccentric, always-somewhat-Outsider sort-of adopted-uncle – often somewhat off-the-wall, occasionally a bit too far off-the-edge, but for all that still part of the ‘family’, perhaps adding that little extra something to the family just by being there.

So yeah, I do apologise for being a bit distant, perhaps a bit too unsocial, a bit too much out on the edge of the party, even a bit too much the grumpy old uncle at times (particularly towards those of the family who think that bullying, bluster and bullshit somehow make them more ‘adult’…). But at least I do play well with the kids – which, strangely, many people seem to think it’s beneath their dignity to do – and I do admire all of those who have something real to show.

And I do mean it when I say thank you for including me in this metaphoric ‘family’. You know who you are: I really do appreciate this.

To family! :-)