This one is going to be a little different.

This time, I’m going, while my parents are staying here.

On all previous occasions, they have taken me to my new place of living, helped me get setup, and then left, leaving the final goodbye on the doorstep of the new place.

But now… today… I’m being picked up by my soon-to-be new housemate. He’s arriving in a van, which will be loaded up over an agonising period of a couple of hours, and then we’ll be off.

I like travel. To me, as much a part of a holiday or any adventure is the journey to it (though the journey back is depressing). So I’m bizarrely looking forward to the many hours drive to my new house.

Note the use of the word house. I don’t know whether it will become my home yet. The jury will be out for some weeks, depending on whether I feel comfortable there.

But this is it. This is the genuine end of an era. Not like the many false dawns that came with other “leaving home” moments, when I’d move to Hull or London for university purposes. No. They were always done with the idea that, one day, I would be back… whether it would be for the holidays or permanently, as has been the case since June last year.

This time, though, I am moving out properly. Though there will remain some of my stuff here, because I don’t have the boxes to shift it, mostly I am going. My life is currently sitting in my old bedroom, waiting to be shipped out. And never to return.

Of course, material possessions are one thing. I know for a fact that I will be returning here. In fact, the ridiculous thing is that I will be back here next weekend. I have agreed to try to keep up one of the regular contract jobs I have here in the hope that it will lead to more work. Which is bizarre if I’m moving 200 miles away, I know… but if I can organise it properly, I will be able to come home fortnightly to work which pays for the journey, and maybe a little bit more. Making a profit from coming to see my family will be a beautiful double whammy!

That’s the plan. If it becomes inconvenient, it will be ditched. And on that point, I will sever all remaining reasons to travel home for anything other than Christmas.

So while I’m not fully leaving here forever, there is a very decent prospect that it will become that. Especially if, as I hope, the new business down in my new location takes off.

Before that, though, will be at least a month of settling down. I don’t really know what living with this person is truly going to be like either. It’s all a gamble on many fronts. I only hope I’m making the right choice.

But it’s too late now. Gotta roll with it. Gotta actually try and be a Real Adult, rather than sponging off my parents. That will be a big relief to me, and to them as well, I’m sure. Though I do more than my fair share around here. I wonder how they’re going to cope. The rest of the family are going to have to chip in a lot more than they normally do.

Anyway, it is time to sign off. Lots of things still to do till the move this afternoon.

Here goes nothing.

Pressure Point

The atmosphere is particularly tense in this house at the moment. 

The reason is simple. Last night I told my brother just how disappointed I was in him, the same one I’ve been having a rather complicated time of things over lately. The flash point has been a couple of rather damning revelations involving the police, chases and my brother’s descent into the realms of worrying which people are going to snitch each other to the police.

It’s all very depressing. I thought he was smarter than that. Mistakenly, I thought he was cut from similar cloth to me. I wasn’t bothered with all that shit in school. I shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t care”. Maybe times have changed and it’s harder to steer clear of trying to look tough now. I carved my own niche out, I was smart but reserved, didn’t draw attention to myself, but somehow I struck a happy balance of not making any enemies by being generous and helpful. The odd bit of homework help here and there (and no more than that, I wasn’t that generous!) does wonders for one’s popularity. It was no skin off my nose, and it kept everyone friendly.

I don’t think my brother has that luxury. Sadly, he’s not as academic as I was. So I think he feels he has to carve his own identity out, which is the usual young male bravado thing. The language is foul, the subtle racism is there, the endless sexual references disgraceful, betraying a very disappointing view of women, and his attitude towards the people who put themselves out for him on a daily basis – us, his family – is shameful. 

So I flipped. Very quietly, very politely. But leaving him in no doubt that I’m simply surprised and disappointed as to the direction he’s heading in. 

No more words have been exchanged since then. In truth, they’re not likely to. In this family, we can’t talk to each other. We can’t even look at each other half the time without it either turning nasty or being turned into a joke to try to deflect from the very real danger that we might just possibly talk about our feelings about something.

The thing is, I know so much more. I have lots of stuff stored in reserve now. I don’t particularly feel bad about how I’ve obtained this information, but it all is slowly leaking out as it becomes possible to do so in public, either through a lapse or a very tactful leading discussion. I won’t go fully public with all of this unless or until I’m pushed into it. And right now, we’re pretty close to that line. 

I just worry where we’re headed. There is a great risk that if we push too hard he’s going to go into serious rebellion. No one wants that. But we can’t just stand by and hope for the best, thinking that he deserves the independence and freedom that he has been given for the past few years. In truth, he doesn’t.

But I do know this. I’m glad I’m not growing up in today’s generation.

The Predicament

In the past couple of days, I’ve been dealing with something of a rather difficult situation in my head revolving around the youngest of my two brothers, currently aged 14, and what he gets up to. He’s at that awkward age where he thinks he’s not a kid, but really he is, taking stupid decisions and needless risks, because he’s invincible. Fair enough, we all felt like that, and it’ll never change as part of humanity.

But my brother is causing me a bit of concern. He is something of a Jekyll and Hyde character. He has a load of friends who are all quiet, hard workers and don’t really go out much, meanwhile he has a bunch of friends who are much more “street”, and come with everything you’d expect them to in terms of attitude and appearance. 

My brother can’t choose between them. He alternates between groupings whenever he feels like it, but lately he has become more attached to the latter group because he now has a girlfriend. Some nights he goes out and returns after 10pm, smelling of smoke and girl’s perfume. I don’t think he smokes, but someone in the group is, and it wouldn’t surprise me if alcohol will soon follow in the years ahead. 

He’s growing up, I know that, and I accept it. He’s exploring who he is. He’s not doing it quite as I expected him to, but kids are like that. As his older brother I feel like I have a bit of a duty to look out for him though, and try to offer him advice on subjects that might be just too embarrassing to speak to our dad over. 

But, of course, that’s just the theory. As brothers, we have never been all that close. We don’t really have common interests (I’m determined to find something though, as per my previous post), we don’t share life experiences with each other, and we certainly don’t talk about emotions. That’s unthinkable. 

So in reality, there’s very little I can do to talk with my brother over the things he gets up to and try to make sure that while he can have his fun, there are some risks that are just unacceptable, and he must know the boundaries that simply can’t be crossed.

But therein lies a further complexity. The modern world, with its commercialist pressures and the freedom the internet provides adds a bit of a problem. Boys will be boys, and now they can be even more so by free access to a huge range of pornography, widely distributing it to each other on mobiles and computers, and in some cases even making it themselves, despite all the legal problems that may cause if it falls in the wrong hands. Like I said, they take stupid risks and don’t understand the consequences.

So the other morning, I was a little surprised to see some unexpected items in my Google search history. I’m not sure how they got there, as my search history is linked to my Google account, and there’s no way my brother could have logged in as me, but there the search terms were, and at times when I knew that there could have been no one else responsible.

I did a little digging, and sure enough, while the history had been erased, the relevant files were all still in the cache. 

It left me in a dilemma. He’s a teenage boy. What he was looking at came as no surprise. In fact, I’d be more surprised if he wasn’t looking at it. In truth, when I was his age I did the same. I also know my other brother did it. No – the actual porn itself is not an issue. While I don’t look at it any more, and haven’t for several years, it’s perfectly understandable that my hormonal brother would be looking at it.

The thing was, this time I didn’t really want to leave it be. The sites he’d visited had left a number of presents on the computer (viruses, adware, etc) – and so, at the very least, I had to give him a bit of warning to be a bit more careful about the links he clicks on. Of course, this would be a very embarrassing conversation not just for him but for me. But I figured it would be better him hearing it from me than from my parents, as I’ve no doubt my dad would have done his usual spyware sweep of the computer in good time and uncovered all the stuff himself.

But there was another reason for me doing it. I wanted to show my brother that a) he’s not invincible after all, he will slip up; b) that I care about him and want him to be careful and c) that he has another person he can confide in if he needs support or guidance. 

I think I did that and handled it sensitively. There’s no need for me to go to my parents with any of this info, as long as my brother starts to appreciate his situation properly and have more respect for himself and others. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. Yesterday I stumbled across some rather unsettling material on his phone, and with that as justification I’ve had a look at his MSN conversation archives. Suffice it to say, they’re not good. Full of masculine bravado and massive exaggeration no doubt, but behind them is an obvious veneer of truth that my brother is in with the wrong crowd.

This isn’t the brother I grew up with. He has changed almost beyond recognition in the last year. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst his former friends, as I read in his MSN archives. 

He’s gone astray, and I’m now incredibly worried about where he’s heading. The difficulty I now have is that all the information I’ve got which I could use to have a talk with him has not been obtained legitimately. I can’t raise any of this without making it obvious that I’ve been forced to spy on him to try to get to the truth. And that’s a massive breach of trust.

But at the same time I’ve got all of this running around my head constantly and it won’t go away. 

I just can’t believe how early kids lose their youthful innocence these days. It seems only five minutes ago when I was talking about the good day I had with this very same brother eating the Pizza Hut buffet lunch

I need advice, badly.