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The Self-Appreciation Society

being one of those Stupid Weblog Things

January 22nd, 2009

Keep it in the Family Courts @ 09:47 pm

Vodka, dinner, job application form, in that order.

I was on the family courts today, where people squabble over children in the same way my brother used to squabble over the telly, except this time it's adults and the commodity is proto-humans and it's very expensive and takes years and I have to sit through it and it takes an authority figure more than five seconds to sort it out. They called it quits for the day at eight o'clock when I should have been gaming. This is of no benefit to me! I already didn't want children so I'm learning nothing!

It probably says more about me than about the opposed parties that I flat-out cannot identify with whatever the fuck is going on in their sick heads, and feel far more at home at a murder trial. I've been annoyed; extract that out some degrees and you've got murderous intent, I can imagine that. But wanting to own something so intensely that you'll fight tooth and nail socially and legally, learn to hate those you used to love, go to enormous expense, turn your entire life upside down - sure I have commitment issues or whatever and few movie quotes speak to me with such melodiousness as Heat's "don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner", but, let me put it this way: everybody has obsessions and compulsions, but it's only obsessive compulsive disorder when it starts preventing you from leading a normal life. The behaviour I've heard testified to in that building is mental. Children make you mental.

Why is that okay? Were Lovecraft and Poe and their ilk wrong in their genre implication that insanity is worse than death, something to punish the most wicked and to threaten the heroes? Certainly most stuff children do to people sounds like the actions of a parasite to me; maybe a medical condition. And even though I can sort of understand - it's hormonal or something, like with liking women, which I'm okay with because women are sort of hot - who examines their own life and goes "I don't really have enough going on and things aren't complicated enough; what I need is a medical condition!"?

My current status of "I suppose you're the closest thing in the room to a barrister" is an addendum to "I suppose you're the closest thing in the room to a doctor", and in a similarly half-assed way I've had a glimpse at the medical end of child acquisition too. The less said about that the better, but suffice it to say it is the worst thing I have ever witnessed, and I've seen The Ninja Squad.

So I suppose if anybody's interested in trying to explain you can consider this a solicitation to state your case if you like. I have interacted with a child socially, by the way, so I'm speaking of a position of only near-total ignorance rather. And yes, although it wasn't much of a conversationalist, there was something heart-warming about having someone be genuinely, uncomplicatedly and expressively pleased to see you, it being obvious that they consider their day to have just improved significantly because you've showed up. Unfortunately the reason it's so uncomplicated is because it's purely selfish - here's the guy who'll play with me and push me on the swing and acquiesce to some of my other demands. I noticed I get the same heart-warming feeling from dogs that like me.

I should be back in the criminal courts next week. At least there you get the feeling that witnesses are telling the truth, or at least that the truth will emerge. Today's crap had the father as an abusive, distant weirdo who cares only about his rights, the mother as a manipulative mind-control cult leader, and the kids saying their holiday in Lanzarote was full of cockroaches on the beach and blisters and starvation.

Revised: vodka, dinner, vodka, job application.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
Perspective plays a big part in it, hormones too obviously, no small amount of arrogance comes into play at times as well. Now that said, all of the following is obviously the opinion of someone with parental hormones coursing through his veins and more than his fair share mental problems.

On the most basic and emotionless level, children are the "future" insofar as they're needed to make sure things keep going (leaving aside whether or not you reckon things *need* to keep going), society requires young to provide for the elderly and parents require children to support them in their old age so in a sense, both on an individual level and the greater societal one, they're required. This kind of conditioning is ingrained over the decades into most people in the same ways as we know that stealing is wrong and punching people isn't that much better. So, on a fundamental level, we're programmed to have children (have - not want, thats another matter entirely). On some people the programming doesn't take, on some people a fucking memory leak happens and they have fifteen scumbag offspring forming a clan of drains on society. Given that sanity is determined by what society expects, having a kid is about the sanest thing you can do.

But not many people are that cold and objective about it and to be honest "I need something to look after me on the cheap when I get decrepid and insane" is the kind of motivation that ensures the result will want nothing to do with you when you're decrepid and insane. The basic desire or motivation to have a child is almost impossible to put into words but personally it boils down to a desire to make sure that there'll be someone around for another eighty or so years that'll be doing his best to torment people I don't like. Another way I see it, I'm in a position where I have a good chance of raising a good person, somehow that feels like a reponsibility.

I think one aspect you're not considering is that in those divorce cases you're describing is that it isn't about the child, in fact the feelings of the child are frequently ignored when really any caring set of parents would be putting them at the forefront but its more a matter of "principle", that each of them is clearly better at the role of a parent, that the other one is at fault in the divorce and would obviously be harmful to the child somehow. They don't want the kid so much as they don't want their ex to have it.
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Date:January 23rd, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
I hate to say it, but as a married parent, I can imagine many paths that would lead to the bitter scenes you saw in court. Having and children does change you in both good and bad ways too. I'd love to explain it, but i'm not sure I can.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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Date:January 26th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't get negatively worked up very often, so no doubt you'll be disappointed in the vast majority of my tripe.
Date:January 23rd, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'm thoroughly enjoying parenthood. All this talk of parasites and family courts is entirely irrelevant to me.

Dismissive, I know, but I hope it provides a sort of answer.

Date:January 27th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Interesting post.