It Runs In The Family


Telephone conversation with my mum:


Me: ‘Hi mum, what you up to?’

Mum: ‘oh nothing really. I slept in till eight! ‘

Me: ‘Yeah?’

Mum:’I know – disgusting: all I do is rest! Your father was snoring again so I didn’t get down till about two.  I lay there as long as I could but it was boring so I thought, may as well make myself useful. The cat was moaning so I fed her. Then I thought, may as well get the ironing done, so I did that and the floor. Did you try the lemon solution on your bath?  There was a thing on the radio about bleach fumes –  this woman passed out in the toilet in Boots. If they’d used the lemon it wouldn’t have happened.  Ten minutes she was there before someone saw her feet sticking out.”


Mum:’ I’d have hoovered, but it was probably a bit early’.

Me: ‘Yeah’

Mum:’Did your sister tell you? Your dad chipped his tooth’

Me: ‘Yeah?’

Mum:’I told him not to have those mints.  They don’t even taste minty but you know what’s he like. ‘

Me: (sympathetic) ‘Yeah’

Mum:’It’s not like it was toffee. A toffee I could understand. But a polo? Imagine. He had three!

Me: ‘Mmmmm, yeah’

Mum:”I said to him, ‘Stanton, you don’t want to risk it, not after last time, but he can’t be told.  It was only a wee one but I knew when I heard the crunch.They should put warnings on the packets. A child could easily choke’.

Me: (concerned)’Yeah’

Mum: ‘Him and mints. Remember what he did when we were on holiday?’


(muffled noise)

Mum:’No, she hasn’t heard it. He wasn’t wearing his glasses and lifted the toothpaste instead of the soap.  Asked me if it was a new shower gel. “Nice and minty” he said, “but it doesn’t get much foam”.

Me: ‘Yeah’

(Dad shouts something)

Mum:’ No, I’m trying to listen!  He says he got his new glasses.’

Me: ‘Yeah?’

Mum: ‘They’re designer.  What are they, Stanton?’


‘Justin Timberlakes. No: Timberlands.  Justin Timberlands. Hold on

(to Dad) Why are you shouting? Well tell her yourself. (whispers) He doesn’t know what he’s got”.

(sound of wrestling)

Dad: “Your mother doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Honestly! It’s not Timberlakes.  They’re by your man off the telly, Wan Gok”

(sound of struggle)

Dad: “You doing alright?”

Me: “Yeah”

Dad:  “Bye”

(sound of muffled laughter)

Mum: “Well, have another mint then, mister smarty. Your father.  Doesn’t know what to be at.  So what’s new with you? Hold on: No – that’s the sky! I love the sky!

Sorry love,  your father’s trying to do my jigsaw.  Good to hear from you.  Stanton – not the blue bit – ”




…Are they all like this?

13 thoughts on “It Runs In The Family

  1. Sounds a lot like when I call home (and it’s almost always me calling them, and more than once a week is considered excessive!). As soon as she’s picked up the phone Mum calls my Dad to let him know it’s me, and then if I’m lucky fills in the time it takes him to get to the phone with whatever’s going on their end… then passes the phone over to my Dad before I’ve had a chance to get a word in edgeways! I think there’s maybe a generational element in that they just aren’t comfortable enjoying unrushed dialogue.
    But there IS hope: I’ve managed to train my DIY-focussed father to ask how me and the wife are doing before he proceeds to whatever technical questions need addressing!
    A real danger is when I judge the quality of my relationship with my parents – or more accurately their love for me – on these unsatisfactory communication patterns. I have to repeatedly remind myself that poor communication by phone does not remotely indicate lack of affection for or interest in me – simply shows lack of comfortableness in phone useage which is an entirely different thing! Rant over!!

  2. [meant to say “aren’t comfortable enjoying unrushed dialogue down the ‘phone”.]

  3. Hi Pedro

    Absolutely – it’s about different communication styles and technology, rather than a lack of affection..(tho I suspect that Dads everywhere have a language all of their own)…

  4. Brilliant! True Norn Iron parent-child telecommunications! Made me laugh out loud.
    Though, I must admit, my mum has progressed to using Face Time from her new iPad (!!) which means my dad can now pull silly faces and make jokes about what my mum (and me, if I am “allowed” to talk) say, without having to make any conversation himself. With the telephone, when I ring and he answers, I still get the same, “I’ll get your mum…” clunk…

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