Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ah, the parents....

We popped over to the revered elders at the weekend. My mother's always been a bit bonkers - in a nice way - and has the unerring capacity to get the wrong end of the stick. There is an apocryphal story that she once went to a garden centre and asked for a climbing clitoris. Mrs. Malaprop is alive and well and living near Barnsley. As a child I remember an occasion where we were watching "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau." (That ages me I know.) There was a sea anemone on the screen.

"What a nice little orgasm." My mother noted, looking up from her crossword.

Quick as a flash from my Father, beside her on the sofa: "Look, no hands."

I was mortified.

But I digress.

After a quick analysis of the tennis and my claim to have been emotionally scarred by Wimbledon as a child when I returned from school and found these two, wild haired and square eyed, surrounded by dirty crockery on a daily basis, we were talking about Britain's Got talent and such shows. My beloved was opining that as the warm up man is believed to call it Britain's Got Special Needs there was a degree of corporate cynicism that was going to end in tears when some poor soul topped themselves because of the unaccustomed public attention and the cruelty of the crowd.

"What?" piped up my mother, "At Wimbledon?"

There had been an earlier conversation about hearing-aids. My Dad has some hearing loss and has an NHS hearing-aid.

"Why aren't you wearing it, then?"


What a card.

"Well the salesman said a customised hearing aid would cost £6,000" My mother was clearly scandalised.

"No he didn't." (Oh oh, a bit of companionable bickering looms. The daughters roll their eyes.)

"Yes he did."

"No he didn't."

"Well I must have been in another conversation then."

"Look, I'm the one with the hearing problem and I heard him clearly."

There is a certain irony, I feel, about an argument over a hearing aid involving two people who don't hear very well.

At some point, and for no particular reason, the conversation turned to the increase in traffic in our area. My beloved noted that the arrival of speed cameras on the main road would be an advantage as we crossed the road in the rush hour.

"Why" my mother enquired "would you be crossing the road in Russia?"

Watching T.V. with them is a bit of a nightmare and the daughters beg to go home if there is something on they really want to watch. My mother you see, can multi-task: she can read the paper, make tea, nod off, do a crossword and completely lose the plot of a T.V. programme all at the same time.

"So what happened to the blond girl?" (This is going to be tortuous.)

"What blond girl?" (You should know better by now than to ask.)

"The one with the little boy."

The younger daughter is staring daggers as we are talking over Dr. Who - which didn't have a blond woman with or without a little boy.

"He had a dirty football kit."

"Oh God. It's that advert for the pink detergent. She died."

"Oh. Shame. Pretty girl. Is that Frank Sinatra?"

The parents-in-law are no better.

There is a story which has passed into the annals of family history.

The P-I-L were at a party.

"We're going to Evita in January." said the hostess.

"Will it be warm there then? enquired my Mother-in Law.

The Father-in-Law has cataracts. He has cataracts and he is in a bad mood. He doesn't do age well. He doesn't like to drive for obvious reasons. He also doesn't like the way my M-I-L drives so they don't go anywhere.

"What about public transport?" I ask my beloved.

"No, mum had that virus before Christmas and since then she throws up on buses. She said she was going for an outpoint appatientment."

Is this the future?

I can not help but wonder what examples of parental madness my brood is storing up for future humiliation.