Saturday, August 21, 2010

Family: the weight

Never, ever underestimate how much it takes out of a person to endure protracted emotional strain, particularly if this involves self-restraint. Example: spending an entire afternoon with your family of origin, all of whom you love, and all of whom intend to vote for the Coalition even though Tony Abbott appalls at least two of them.

Especially if it's a birthday gathering and there's a lot of pressure to play nice.

I come from a family of implacable ALP-haters who are quite happy to vote Green in the Senate and are all going to. They're all perfectly intelligent, though not what The Australian calls the 'tertiary left', and they all loathe the Shooters and Fishers and the Christian fundies and the climate flat-earthers skeptics and love Barack Obama as much as I do.

For them it's not about left and right as such: it's about teh unions and teh evil commies and teh Great Satan Whitlam and so on. Both sisters work in the health sector and have had their politics formed over decades by listening to male doctors, while my father has never forgiven the commies unions for the wartime strikes.

By the time I got home last night I could hardly walk from the exhaustion of the strain of refraining from shouting and throwing things. Fell into bed at 8.30 with my Ruth Rendell, which was as much as I could manage, lights out by nine and slept till 7.15.

The moral of this story is that the older you get, the more physically knackered you are rendered by stress. I would have been better off going for a long, long walk.


M L Jassy said...

Oy Vey, I sympathise! This must the goyishe equivalent of Jewish family visits in which Gaza is debated over coffee and cake ... oh, the agony!

Emily said...

How familiar the story is. Unfortunately the greatest stress for me is in restraining myself from throwing a plate of food at my smug brother-in-law and my compliant sister. I know that if there is another family dinner where politics enters discussions I just won't be able to resist. Normally we skirt around politics by not mentioning it but it is increasingly more difficult.
The tiredness you felt might be the physical restraint of not chucking a tantrum (like I fear I will), and the resulting tension needing release in sleep.
Haven't read Ruth Rendell for a few years so thanks for the reminder.

JahTeh said...

The lines were long at the school where I vote so as I moved along I had a sneak look at the flyers and a lot were holding Liberal and Green. It was cold and I'm afraid I was very rude to the Liberal man who went to hand me the vote sheet. I said, "when his hell freezes over!" I am deeply ashamed..not.

Ann ODyne said...

My father will vote LIB as he has done all his long life, and he could not name his sitting member, now, during, or after casting his vote - there's a lot of that, and I also despair.
I have been a Polling Place volunteer, and seen that voters who are obviously doing it for the first time, are Too Cool to take** the how-to-vote information.
When seeing the Informals tally tonight, think about how many of them are UNintentional informals.

** re JahTeh darling: accept them from all the volunteers, and with a smile.
They are hungry, cold, and dying for tea-and-a-wee.

ThirdCat said...

I see your pain and raise you several weeks with in-laws and the in-laws of in-laws...
(not that emotional stress is a competition)

Anonymous said...

I spent last weekend in my parents' oldies' village, for my Mum's 81st birthday. And THEY adored Pauline Hanson. And Thatcher. And would not go back to England for even so much as a holiday because they've heard there is 'hardly a white face to be seen there now' ...
So I hear you, I really do.


wv: spitl (oddly amusing and relevant)

Ann ODyne said...

Have you heard 'well-off older folk' referred to as WOOFs?

re Thatcherism: my local candidate's website has a link -
"Coalition to establish Voluntary Youth Corps"
- they must be so sure the virgin-voters are 404s

... (ie clueless).

Lucy Sussex said...

I never forgave my grandmother for telling me "not to vote for that horrid man Whitlam". As she was nearly 100 I couldn't threaten to report her to the AEC. I should have.

Mary Bennet said...

Ann O'Dyne, I wasn't too cool to take the how to vote card but I still voted informal. Or I must have because I got up to 88 in the Senate and there were only 84 candidates.

I blame trying to use voting as a chance to teach a bored three-year-old about a practical use for all the counting she's been doing -perhaps not that well "And what comes after 24? Good girl, let's write 27" or something like that.

Am mortified.

iODyne said...

Oh Miss Bennet! My friend oDyne sends her regards.
The ballot paper is not for the faint-hearted and there really should be more advance help for several categories of Voter.

I have always wished for
all-Independants in parliament, thinking there was a more democratic tinge to that. Toe-ing the 'party line' against one's own heart, must be vile for MP's. is not in favour of women having reproductive freedom, but does not emphasise youth's responsibility for fertility, nor did he practise it himself. I fear him as a leader.

WV is busten. indeed.