Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Home Alone - Part One

The 'rents have gone off on a holiday to Cuba, or Coooobah as my Mum insists on calling it. And it's all a bit weird and slightly freaky.

At the ripe old age of forty two I find myself excited and chuffed at being on my own in the house. I remember when they went away a few times when I lived there and was about sixteen or so. It feels the same. This concerns me.

Before the grand departure my Mum insisted an attempting to give me more instructions than you get in the average Bible. Frankly it took all my brainpower and effort to ignore them. There were so many different things that she felt necessary to tell me, so many rules, regulations and procedures that, at one point, I felt as if something might go into my head and get memorised.

Last night, as I tried to suss out what the exact procedure is for leaving rubbish outside, I was reassured to find out nothing had sunk in, not even the bit about what to do with the food in the special food bin. It made me feel good, like one of those fellows who has been thrown back into his home town after being away for twenty years and is relieved to find out he still knows his way around.

The departure, on Saturday morning at 7.30 AM was interesting. I had decided to do the honourable thing and woke up early, showered, changed and even did my hair product to see them off properly. I could hear, as I changed, that the olds were up already. My Dad had probably been up for several hours as he's quite paranoid about lateness, a quality that I've inherited and I'm not entirely at ease with.

I did the dutiful son thing quite well. I carried their suitcases down, sat around and said things when required. I also had to do a lot of last minute ignoring and that's not easy.

They had booked the holiday through one of these companies and the cab was due at 7.30 to pick them up. But, in a bit of logical thinking and quirky organisation that I have only ever seen in Sri Lanka before, they had been instructed to call the cab office if the vehicle wasn't with them by 7.20.

When I first heard this I was confused. Not in an outright and obvious sense, like when K is trying to explain something about My Chemical Romance to me and I get lost in scientific detail. No, more like when I get up from a chair and stretch something and think I might have farted. I had that puzzled feeling but couldn't quite figure out exactly why.

Then, as I was attempting to narrate the tale of their departure to Academic Bro, I realised where the plan went wrong. It was like a time trap, a vicious time circle, two time flavoured mirrors pointing directly at each other.

If a car is due at a place at 7.30 then it's due at 7.30, in normal countries that is, obviously not in Sri Lanka. So, if the instruction is to call at 7.20 if the car isn't there, then actually it's due at 7.20. But then, if the car is actually due at 7.20, surely the call should be made at 7.10. And on it goes, out of control. What is the point of panicking before there's a problem? Isn't it like wearing a belt and braces but then not wearing trousers just in case the belt and braces don't work?

On the other hand it's probably good for these elderly people to feel reassured and calm about things.

So, at 7.19 and 58 seconds my Dad was on the phone to the cab company. The conversation was predictably comedic, particularly when the chap on the other end of the line asked my Dad where he was. His answer couldn't be faulted for accuracy or reliability, though I have the feeling that it didn't give the chap the full information he needed.

"I'm here, at home."

Once the cab chap got through my Dad's obstacles and barriers he managed to find out that the car was on its way and would arrive in the next few minutes. It did, about five minutes before it was due. I sat there shaking my head in disbelief. It still doesn't make sense to me.

The cab was a Mercedes Vito van in silver and black. The bodywork was silver, the leather, the glass and the driver were black. The driver looked like he was on his way to act as a stunt double for Samuel L Jackson. He wore a sharp suit, sunglasses and a bluetooth thing and managed to treat my parents with just the right mix of friendliness and condescension. That means to patronise someone by the way.

If he had behaved towards me like that I would have been quite pissed off. So annoyed that I may have hit him written a blog post about it. But, to my parents he was warm and helpful, the fact that he spoke a bit slower and louder was a positive not a negative. They got in the van and Samuel closed the sliding door. I watched as they drove away, their faces barely visible through the dark tinted windows. I felt a little pang of something, probably wind, and went back inside the house.

They were gone and it was time for me to rebel, to kick against parental authority and behave badly and disgracefully. It's a long time since I was in this situation and I would waste no time.

I walked upstairs to commit two acts of rebellion.

The first one was to open a window.

The second was worse. I threw an old envelope into the wrong dustbin.

I just don't care sometimes....


FINroD said...

hahahahah awww... RD ur such a kid men... even after all these years... i guess the phrase 18 till i die is a true predicament.... nice post mate.. really enjoyed reading it...

Sachintha said...

LOL reminds me of my dad...
It's a nightmare for us when we are about to start a family trip or something like that... He's so fussy about everything, time etc...
Nice post man.

Anonymous said...

hmmm... if someone and please note if; has posted a rave at your house on FB for this Friday open to the general public, it wasn't me!?!

Sapphira said...

Really enjoyed reading this! :)

surani said...

Love your humour!