The Black, White & Grey

The Ramblings of an Insomniac
I See Grey People

When a child is young, the world is Black and White.

White – warm, cuddly Mother and Father
White – food takes away hunger
Black – dark rooms are boring and make me cry
Black – loud noises scare me

As a child grows up and begins to learn the world, swirly patches of Grey appear.

White – favourite cartoon
White – playing in the street with Jenny
Black – strange person in strange car
Black – homework
Grey – roller-coasters
Grey – chocolate makes me sick

I want to be a fireman

Parents are often idolised at eight years old. If an adult tells you to do something, you’re probably going to do it. At ten and twelve, the world has confusing Grey blotches on a Black & White checkerboard.

I want to be a Policeman

And then come the teenage years. In a sudden rush, the world turns into a swirling, miasmic cloud of Black, White and Grey. They alternate, interchange and confuse the young mind.

My parents are not idols
My father drinks too much
My mother is lazy
Politicians suck
I love my parents – they do what they can
My father works too much
My mother is bored
Liberals are demons
My parents hold me back – but do it for me
My father is having a breakdown
My mother is having an affair – I think

I want to be a politician

Enter adulthood, the idealistic years. An attempt to stop the confusion, the swirling.
Picketing and demonstrating. Getting your voice out there.

I’m here too!
I count!

But love and work take over, and free time dissipates. Before long, the years slip by and suddenly middle-age is a step away. If you have children, there is a strange mirroring effect.

I speak to my son, and hear my father speak
I remember my father speaking to me
I look at me through my son’s eyes, and see my father

The newly-young see me as old. What is this old? I’m me, not old

The world has turned to grey – as grey as my hair
Nothing is the way I remember it
Everything is both right and wrong
Nothing feels certain. Or precious little does, anyway

My parents had their faults, did the best they could at the time, with what they had
Good food is great – but moderate!
I sometimes like dark rooms. It’s relaxing. And, lonely
Loud noise I can handle, as long as it’s music I like
Jenny turned out to be a real bitch. Or maybe she’s just hurt
Those strangers in that car were possibly looking at the for sale sign next door

I want to be a teacher

Now I’m trying to regain some of the Black and White into my life.
The grey is rational, reasonable, even noble. And it’s insipid.
But this time, I must learn from the past, and choose my Black and White carefully.

How’s your world?


  • Paul Louis Villani
    Paul Louis Vil...almost 7 years ago

    Whoa, this is deep stuff mate.
    I’m truly taken back by the gravity of your words!
    So glad you shared this with us, well done Mark! :D

  • aaria
    aariaalmost 7 years ago

    “Choose my black and white carefully” – thoroughly enjoyed this, Mark.
    Ahhhh, the journey of life!

  • mick8585
    mick8585almost 7 years ago

    Mark if you can stomach it, read about Alfred Adler in Wickipedia. Always found him inspirational.

  • Lisa  Jewell
    Lisa Jewellalmost 7 years ago

    And I don’t know what to say……

  • SylviaHardy
    SylviaHardyalmost 7 years ago

    Love what you’ve written. It is very thought provocing! As to my world? That’s another story.

  • MissKristy
    MissKristyalmost 7 years ago

    There is so much to this..i need to absorb and then reread. Brilliant journey you have taken the reader on. I’ll be back..

  • Suzanne German
    Suzanne Germanalmost 7 years ago

    Wow Mark – my brother is a writer!!!! – this is so gripping I was actually reading each line with anticipation.
    You have a real way with thoughts and juxtapositioning of ideas! I really enjoyed this and will i’m sure, read it over again as there is so much in there… much to take in.
    I particularly like how you keep changing ‘what i want to become’

    as you know – grey has always been a place i’m confortable with – as for wrong or right – wrong and right – chequers – sqaures – lines – borders – perimters….get the picture? (well my picture at least…)…they ‘hem’ in as well as ‘protect’

    boundaries are only as good as we want them to be- if we want the to be there – and then when they serve no purpose or the need behind them changes – then it’s time to remove or change the edges…grey – yes!!! always comfortable as much as the possibilities of change are out there.

    take care mark

    absolutely loved reading this – and please write some more bro’!!!
    Suzanne x

  • Mark German
    Mark Germanalmost 7 years ago

    Eerie, and weird, having my family read these things from across the world :)
    But hey, maybe it’s a cathartic exercise.

    Suzanne – sometimes, for me anyway, a soup needs to have a distinctive flavor for it to have any character. Mix in too many ingredients, and you get a mess… :)

    Just as a matter of interest – Suzanne is my sister, living in England. We communicate more through RB then anywhere else :)
    But we do love each other.

  • Suzanne German
    Suzanne Germanalmost 7 years ago

    Oh mark that’s nice….of course we love each other!!!
    i like tasty soups too! and I like lots of strands and textures – for example take thai – ad indian food many ingredients to make a simple curry paste – and that’s not even including the other ingredietns!!

    i like simplicity too – like chicken soup (at differnet times though) – i try not to mix or confuse complexity with simplicity – they each deserve and earn their respective places!

    LOL!!!! Suzanne :))))

  • Erica Corr
    Erica Corralmost 7 years ago

    Quite accurate. You speak truth, Mark German. Thanks for sharing this. Interesting to read the comments, too.