We swapped stories. I told of people I had known who became paranoid on smoking cannabis, and M told of eleven year-olds getting drunk and pupils smoking cannabis in the fields- teachers passing just told them to “stop it”, rather than taking action. He disapproves. It is illegal, and the lads are not taking any notice of the warnings in the videos.
Alcohol is dangerous if you use it to escape stress, I said, and he expostulates- They’re not stressed! These are people who don’t care about the exams and are not revising!
M excels. He will go to university, unless just possibly he finds some more long-term worthwhile way of spending his time, and-
being teenage has moved on. It is not about seeing the sheep obeying the rules, and rebelling against the Rules. It is about a sober analysis of how things are, and moving towards appropriate goals- or about starting seriously self-destructive behaviour early.
I saw a woman put through the mill. On telly, this is: “Life of Crime”, in which a woman suffers a disaster to her career at the same time as her mother has a stroke and her marriage breaks down. Her daughter stays with her husband. We see her sensitivity and vulnerability, and her inability to open up because the pressure is too great. She is having a hard time at court, and on the phone to her husband she says, “I love you”. He says, “Bye”. He feels she has betrayed him.
This “police officer emotes, fails to catch the bad guys and is ground down by the system” plot is exactly the same as “Good Cop” in the Autumn. Setting it in the police enables the dramatist to include life and death threats, but the basis of it is the human being, trying to do the right thing, failing at work- the plot of several Employment Tribunal cases I have seen. Here we are, we workers by hand and by brain, under this pressure, the pressure of there being too many workers for the work needing done, so the wages go down.
Amazon, Google and Starbucks dodge taxes in the UK, and I was expatiating on transfer pricing to F when I realised- “You know all this, don’t you?” Yes, she does. She takes an interest. She gets news from Al-Jazeera and bloggers as well as from the BBC, and resents the journalists’ way of making a Story out of facts, rather than presenting them, and of their telling tittle-tattle about royals and celebs rather than real news.
F gains hope from Avaaz campaigns, and learning of NGOs- there is all this altruistic seeking the Good, and all the activists and ordinary folks can get together on line as a counter-weight to buccaneer capitalism. I block out my distress and anger at the Vast Impersonal Forces, and feel it at the fate of a fictional female police officer.
If I (not a rhetorical question: all comment is welcome) have distress at my own situation but feel it consciously only when I see a woman’s world collapse on the telly- might that help or hinder me from doing what I need to do?