I remember weekends. Or at least, I have a memory of what I think weekends should be, but I’m not sure if that memory is real or not any more. It involves waking up late, noodling around with my phone for half an hour in bed, eventually getting up and wandering to the local newspaper shop to get one of the broad-sheets, and sitting in the lounge with a coffee for an hour – doing the crossword, and reading the news of the week. After we might wander into town together and grab an early lunch at one of the many restaurants on the high-street, and then go for a walk in the park for an hour – perhaps a little way along the river.
(this is where you hear the sound or a vinyl record scratch)
I woke with a start at 6am when the alarm clock went off, after forgetting to not set it for the weekend. After remembering that it was the weekend, I fell back asleep for a few minutes. I murmured to my other half that I should get up to make sure Miss 18 got up in time for her bus (she had a health and safety course at work first thing this morning). As I said it, we heard the front door slam.
“She must be starting early?”
We dozed off. A phone call woke us both again, a few minutes later. My other half picked up, and I tried to make sense of it. There was no bus. The bus was late. The bus wasn’t coming. I squinted at my phone, and tried to make sense of the “live map” of busses in the local area – there would be one in 10 minutes.
I called her back, and tried to explain. And then the thunderbolt hit.
“Hang on a minute – it’s not even 8 yet, is it.”
“No. It’s 7:30am.”
“I don’t have to be at work until 9”
“Oh you idiot!”
I have to admit – I’ve done it before – but I’ve not left the house and been on my way to work before realising I was running an hour early. By the time I stepped from the shower – because I was awake now anyway – she was home, standing in the corner of the kitchen with a coffee, telling everybody to shut up.
The rest of the morning has unfolded in a similarly chaotic fashion – making pancakes for Miss 13 and her sleepover buddy (because OF COURSE we always have kids here on sleepovers), washing up, going shopping with Miss 13 for new school shoes (because she destroys them on a regular basis – nobody has ever figured out how), washing up again, and then setting fire to the washing machine.
It’s early afternoon now, and the rotary washing line in the back garden is showing signs of structural failure. It’s worth noting that ALL of the washing has appeared since Thursday afternoon – while I was working at home I cleared it.
(Several hours pass)
It’s now late evening, and I’m finally sitting down for the first time today. The health tracker app on my phone tells me that I’ve walked nearly fifteen thousand steps today. The second half of that happened because just as I was writing this earlier our eldest daughter arrived home from work, and wanted me to go with her to get something for Mother’s Day (tomorrow). I initially objected – wanting to at least have an hour or two of weekend – but everything escalated pretty quickly, and minutes later I found myself walking into town with her.
In a strange sort of way, I’m glad we went. While wandering along the high street, she asked if I wanted to go to Starbucks. I reminded her that she’s old enough to go for a drink now – and that we could go and get one if she wanted.
“But where would we go?”
“Any of the pubs in the high street!”
“Where are the pubs ?”
I will admit to telling my other half this same story when I got home, and both of us laughing. It says something about our daughter that she has no idea where the pubs are around town – there are at least five in the main streets through town – perhaps eight or ten if you count others.
Anyway. We went to one of the more popular bars, and got a drink each – while sitting there, it struck me that this was a first of sorts – “going out for a drink with Dad”. I smiled while watching her sipping her drink, and she noticed – frowning at me questioningly.