I have three kites. All are still in their packets.
All are unopened. None have ever flown.
They’ve never experienced the wind in their… erm, sail, is that what it’s called? They’ve never reached the sky. They’ve never caught the breeze on a sunny but breezy day.
They’ve never been used and I’ve had them for a few years now.
This is because I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what to do with them.
I’ve never flown a kite, never strung a kite, never held one in my hand. Never ran into, or away from, a breeze, holding it behind me, in front of me, or just to the side of me and hoped the wind would catch it and take it soaring.
See. I’ve no idea what to do as I’ve never done IT and the bastard things don’t come with instructions. It’s like you’re SUPPOSED TO KNOW!
I grew up without a father, my mum didn’t know anything about kites and so I’ve never flown a kite.
Today, in our town, there’s the Kite Festival. And in order to fully appreciate it I have to do something some with a Y Chromosome hate doing. I have to ask someone how to show me to do something. Show me how to string and fly a kite, which, in all honesty, I should’ve LEARNED AS A CHILD.
I’m doing this in the hope that my three-year old son and 21 month old daughter can experience something I never did. The glory as it soars or the bitter horror as it comes crashing to the ground. The fun of flying a kite. The joy, or frustration.
I wanted one as a child but my mum told me she wouldn’t get me one as it WOULD get caught on an electricity pylon and I WOULD be fried to cinders.
We lived in central London. The nearest electricity pylon was about 30 miles away in Kent.
I think, her saying this, was because she didn’t know how to and had no-one to ask, and that embarrassed her.
As my children get older I’m beginning to understand why my mum did certain things, behaved certain ways, and said certain things. Not the alcoholism, that I’ll never understand. But I can understand her not drawing me anything more than Ollie Owl, because she couldn’t. Not buying me a kite and flying it. Because she couldn’t. Not taking me swimming because, following an accident in a pool when she was a child, she was shit scared petrified of swimming pools.
I have to ask a man, to show me how to string a kite. I have to forgo all those things that makes me frustratingly male and ask questions about something I know nothing about, rather than blustering on like the noob I usually am.
Last year we took the three kites to the same festival and my then wife repeatedly asked me to ask someone what to do. I didn’t. I was embarrassed to do so. I was embarrassed to ask someone to show me how to do something I could see 8 year olds doing, for farks sake. I got into a massive strop, which I’m not proud of, and sulked through most of it, hating all these bloody show off kite fliers with their kites soaring above us to some farking chill out Ibiza track by Kinobi. ‘Slip Into Something Comfortable’, if you’re interested, and no. I won’t. Because I feel uniquely embarrassed. I’ll be the one sulking in the car.
But today will be different. Today I’ll take the kites along and I WILL ask someone to show me what the fark I’m supposed to be doing with them, or just one of them. I’m doing this so my children can experience something I never did. So they have the choice whether or not to enjoy it and not have it forced upon them by my own ridiculousness. So, in the future, we can go do something together on the Heath, or on the Moors. Go fly a kite. I’m not sure why I said Moors as there aren’t any at all around here but you get the idea. The idyllic picture of a father and his children flying kites on a breezy day.
And I’m not going to be embarrassed about it.
It’s for them, so I can swallow any embarrassment.
Unless I have to ask a child. In which case I’m sending T.
Has anyone got anything similar to this? “Oh I wish I could do something but I can’t and I’m embarrassed to learn but I’m sure I’ll have to?” Sharing’s good. It makes me feel less of a tool.
Thanks for reading.
UPDATE: 18.10 05/08/2012
So we went, and between my ex-wife and me we set up on kite easy farking peasy. The other one? I took it over to a stall which was selling kites. I asked the man for help and he didn’t have a clue. Told me he didn’t know how to do these kites and was terribly sorry but I should ask someone else.
So I asked, and I’m not an eejit. Even the kite expert kite man couldn’t do it.
So we flew a kite. I say we, my ex was at the business end and I did the holding and throwing into the air.
And the children? Looked totally bored by our efforts and really loved the Thomas The Tank Engine kite someone else was flying. FFS.
Two children, one potty trained, the other not. Going cheap to a good home…