I mentioned that I'd done the Wesley Car Boot sale the other day. That I'd gone into the chapel hall and its smell reminded me completely of the Protestant school I'd gone to. It was sort of born out of Wesley, in a way, as our mad headmaster came from teaching there. Amusingly, when I mentioned Wesley to my grandmother, she spat, 'I wouldn't send a dog to Wesley!' I don't know why, she didn't elaborate :)
Anyway, I have taught in a Catholic girls' school, and noticed a musty, Catholic smell in the old part of the building - walking under the cruxifix over the door and smelling that institutional smell was a very sensory experience. Though evocative of nothing familiar to me.
But the Protestant smell was evocative of my old school. Familiar too was the white bearded gent with the cultured and educated voice, with the name-tag saying 'Fraser'.
I was there with a girl my husband worked with, a lovely girl from Churchtown, who thinks I'm totally eccentric. Her associations with Wesley are of knacker drinking with her friends and abusing the Wesley boarders on their way to the shop - 'Haaa, no-one loves you, you've got no-one, that's why you're in a boarding school!'
Shit. That would never have occurred to me.
And it suddenly struck me, with an immense feeling of sadness. My mother's gone, we are drawing a veil over my relationship with my father, his extended family aren't so pro-active about socialising. And my husband's family and lots of friends - I'm not going to be able to explain this without sounding snobby. Despite the fact that there are lots of people that I love and esteem, they're not like me. When I talk to them I necessarily operate on a polite and more surface level. I edit my opinions and interests and responses, I'm not operating on default. That's the point. What's your default status?
I'm never on home ground. And to be honest, I'm not sure what that is anymore. I've been out of the loop so long that I now feel unsure of myself back in with the people I'm talking about. I've started feeling stupid around them, like I can't keep up. So I'm in a sort of no man's land. I hadn't really noticed til the smell and the Frazer guy sort of pushed a button of ... not belonging. Of likeness, I suppose.
This left me feeling depressed, a little lost, and hopeless. Like I've lost something and I'm not sure how to get it back. The fake Bray accent my daughter has adopted and can't get rid of is driving me nuts, and I miss theoretical conversation.
Perhaps I just miss my mother. She's the person I really identify with, to be honest. Jo versus the world.