The Black, White & Grey

or
The Ramblings of an Insomniac
or
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?

Journal Comments

  • Paul Louis Villani
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