I’ve made choices in my life. One of them was not having kids. Yet, disappointingly, I’m unable to escape the grip of Moana, or Frozen. My angst, it’s calling me.
I’ve done my darnedest to stay true to my values. I’ve decided to not have kids, and despite the odd rare miss, I’ve stuck to that. In fact, I’m the only solitary individual left in my social group. The last bastion of whatever it is that I’m trying to prove. Don’t get me wrong, I love their kids, but that’s enough for me. As I grow older, I become more certain of my “life-altering” choice. Because I don’t have to keep anyone else alive, I’m able to notice things. To borrow from the dimwit jingoism of Pauline Hanson, I’ve noticed a subtle invasion, this creeping Disney law.
Look, it starts slowly. First, it takes over your television programming, and then it spreads, to playlists, to iPads, to road trips, taking away the space for honest hard-working Australian programs. Suddenly, I look around, and everything I see is Moana and Elsa. Need I remind you that they’re not Australian, they’re not even factual. Someone else, someone who doesn’t live here made it up. Don’t get me started (oink) on Peppa Pig (oink), she’s an agent for the Chinese (oink oink).
House of Hanson hyperbole aside, I’ve seen it happen. Believe me. Once it gets into the bloodstream, you’re done. It’s all you can hear. There’s someone I know very well, one who always had a great resistance to Walt’s overtures, and had a great interest in a great many things. She now possesses neither of those things. In fact, she scared me recently. I got into the family car which housed her two daughters and her husband and also Elsa. Suddenly, we were commanded to let it go. We did (I didn’t), and by the time it was thoroughly let go, it was time to let it go again. The tiny person with the crazy eyes told us so. All of which prompted my friend’s head to swivel around on its axis, gaze at me with an unblinking eye, and maudlinly state, “This is my life now.”
I fear this was for my benefit. She could tell I wasn’t singing, and therefore felt the need to add cynicism so I didn’t feel left out, but I don’t think that she meant it. The programming had her, but could she tell I was following along in my head? Did my scowl betray me? I did feel left out. Like Elsa did her sister.
All I ask is for peace and quiet. Haven’t I earned that by choosing to not have children? One room where that song, and all it represents, does not soar. One place where my brain is not devoured by earworms.
Which brings me to my next point. As an adult sans child, I have no reason to know the lyrics to Moana and/or Frozen. While the kids never worried me anyway, what does is the collateral damage done to my eardrums. The punishment of children has always been making fruit salad and purporting the yumminess of, but should those who shoot blanks be subject to the same auditory abuse? If you repeat the tune, do my ears not bleed? I understand that the repeated dropping of it is just to stop the kids losing their minds – and “once you’ll have kids you’ll understand” – but I’m the oldest kid in the car, shouldn’t my requests have equal footing? I can cry too, y’know. I too am grumpy. I missed my nap, and I hate this song.
Family cars and the family picnics are family time. Whatever happens, happens. If you don’t want the world to blow up, play that song about the sea calling me, I get it. But, goddamn it, Moana’s invasionary force has rowed headlong into my unattached bachelor lifestyle.
Last weekend, I partied with some responsible types. They were lawmakers in the employ of the NSW government, it seemed like a safe space. My other life was at the end of a two-hour train voyage. Suddenly, it wasn’t, as our karaoke session was interrupted by the introductory chords of the devil’s tooting, both worlds felt very close, identical even. I met eyes with one of the guys, who motioned me outside for a cigarette, who duly lit one, rolled his eyes and crested his voicebox to the people in my stairwell to let it go.
Can I not halt the inexorable march of that rising drum beat and The Rock extending his pipes through the unrelated walls of my regular life? Haven’t I earned that by choosing to not have children to bury me and later divide my belongings? All I ask is for peace and quiet. One room where that song, and all it represents, does not soar. One place where my brain is not devoured by earworms.
To paraphrase Michael Corleone, it was in my home. Where my brain goes to sleep, where my inadequacies come to play with their toys.
Maybe I should let it go, but you first.