Yesterday, was one of THOSE days. You know the type I mean? A day when for some inexplicable reason your brain fails to make the necessary electrical connections to maintain its normal, half-arsed plod and opts to impersonate a lemming sighting its first cliff instead. It was not my finest hour.
I’m pretty sure my brain’s ability to randomly freeze didn’t start till I hit my forties, and since fifty raised its very ugly head, my slightly mad moments now seem to be on a far more reliable schedule than the virus checker on my laptop.
Multi-tasking overload is the trigger, I’m sure of it. Gone are the days when I can fold the laundry, change broadband providers and get dressed, while simultaneously remembering how to do GCSE maths and volunteering this rediscovered knowledge to my uninterested offspring.
Ah, the good old days…
One job at a time seems to be the only answer now. Sadly, my dodgy recall function fails to remind me of this on a regular basis. Rather wish my brain could have downloaded a set of those nice fluorescent post-stick notes when I skidded past forty-nine.
Back to yesterday.
The day started without a hitch so I happily committed some time to an animated call with my phone line provider about some call charges on the landline.
‘I DO NOT USE MY LAND LINE TO MAKE PHONE CALLS!’ I explained at a dulcet squawk to the uninterested lass at the other end of the phone.
To smack the point home, I defiantly informed her no one else in my household was to blame either – neither of my teenage sons actually knew what a land-line was (they had evolved beyond anything that required a wire), and my husband only stared nervously at the home phone when it rang and waited for the answering machine that he’d married to pick up the call.
The customer service lass, overwhelmed by disinterest, felt obliged to get rid of me with the new-fangled ‘I’m messaging a complaint reference to your mobile phone’ response – for the record, this is a reply guaranteed to annoy the pants off anyone over fifty who still understands how to use a pen and paper.
‘Have you received my text?’ she monotoned.
That was the moment I realised I couldn’t actually FIND my mobile phone. Proceeded to haul arse around the house – upstairs then downstairs – hunting for the damn thing while keeping up desultory chit chat with the faceless customer service rep who really wanted me to JUST GO AWAY.
After an unsuccessful foray under the bed- accompanied by two commando-crawling dogs who recognised this as a brilliant game – I gave up and returned to my desk. The customer service girl – relieved that the background noises no longer featured feral dogs, muffled grunts and cursing – didn’t even put up a fight when I demanded that she use her WORDS to provide me with the reference. I wrote it down on my nice bit of paper with my excellent pen.
Having finally escaped the call, decided it was probably a rather good idea to retrieve my phone from the dashboard of my unlocked car where I had most likely abandoned it. Frisked the car like a mad woman – NO PHONE! Dragged a teenager out of bed so they could share in my trauma; roused him with an excellent rant about how I’d probably been robbed by an enterprising thief who prowled the pavements to prey on poor defenceless women just because they occasionally forgot to lock their cars and left their phone in full view on the dashboard.
Teenager spent a moment looking sad that he had not been assigned a sane mother like the nice ones all his friends had, then – with requisite exhausted sigh – called my mobile number from the phone he kept permanently welded to his hand.
My phone instantly rang somewhere in the house. To my amazement, grumpy son tracked the noise to my desk and there was my mobile sitting pugnaciously right in the middle of it. If we’d been in a comic strip there would have been a big cartoon arrow jabbing at it. Son added ‘crazy’ to the list of things he’d rather his mother wasn’t. Naturally, I expressed my gobsmacked disbelief by blaming the entire household – including the dogs.
‘Bet you were actually calling from it,’ grunted teen as he wandered off to scull chocolate milk and seek adoption.
Suddenly had a distant memory of clutching the mobile to my ear when I crawled under the bed; re-wound the conversation with the lass from the phone company and died a little inside.
Okay, I know anyone over half a century is thinking ‘Yeah, yeah – done that.’ BUT just when my brain really should have re-fused out of pure embarrassment – IT DIDN’T. Instead, I hurtled towards the double whammy…
Decided – for reasons I CANNOT explain – that the best way to rescue my pride was to get as far away from the bloody mobile as possible, so I launched myself at the shops with reluctant teens in tow. Performed a manic weekly shop up and loaded it into the car with large teen squished in front passenger seat and even larger teen concertinaed into the back. Shopping achieved, began to feel a smidgen better.
‘This car is really dirty,’ grunted front passenger teen with the misplaced superiority of someone who’s bedroom regularly impersonated a bad day at the rubbish dump.
‘Don’t insult the car,’ I hissed nervously and patted the dashboard reassuringly. After all, we all know it is a proven fact that old cars can hear bad words and have a tendency to act on them immediately.
Sure enough, turned the car key to head home and every indicator on that vindictive wreck of a vehicle started flashing manically like an hysterical spaceship. Lapped the supermarket car park a couple of times in the vain hope it would all just go away. Elder teen punctuated the laps with helpful diagnoses from the web like ‘Complete Electrical Failure’ and ‘Your car has REALLY died’.
Getting into the spirit for a world class meltdown, I monologued shoutily at the boys that our car was defunct and it was DEFINITELY their fault for egging it on; announced that we would be walking EVERYWHERE now. Did another couple of panic-stricken laps of the car park and entertained a handful of geriatric shoppers with time on their hands to gawk. Younger teen slumped in catatonic shock in the back, as not only was his mother less than normally sane, now she was going to kill him in a death car as well.
Due to our excessive load of melting ice cream and defrosting meat, I decided the only thing to do was to try and crawl home via the back roads. People stared and waved frantically at us from the pavements. A nice gentleman whizzed up behind us, flashing his lights and honking furiously to inform the blind dingbat in the car in front of him that her vehicle was pulsating with light like a neurotic firework display. I sensibly chose to ignore the entire world beyond the windscreen and glared fixedly at the road in front of me; we painfully tootled onwards like dodgy nightclub neon. Hissed at the boys not to make eye contact with anyone but just to stare at their phones like they normally did.
Finally inched home and killed the engine; teens leapt out of the car, stampeding like young buffalo to the safety of their bedrooms. BUT that bloody car just kept flashing.
Summoned my neighbour on the grounds she was a real human being who was happily not a teenager. She came and looked. In the nicest possible way, she wondered why I was driving around with my hazard lights on.
Tentatively, I poked that funny button in the middle of the dashboard – that odd button I’d never used before. Car instantly stopped flashing; neighbour tried not to smirk – failed.
Have decided to resort to pen and paper again – you can’t go wrong with pen and paper. I’ve attached a couple of fluorescent post-stick notes on the front door. They say ‘HAZARD LIGHTS’ and ‘MOBILE PHONE’. Fairly certain that pad of notes is going to be hammered in next to no time.
There is a definite upside to this pathetic tale of mid-life failure, though. It seems any sense of social embarrassment I once had was erased during my fiftieth birthday re-boot – probably evicted on the grounds it was an underused app.
Also, the boys are now showing a surprising amount of interest in some rather distant universities. As days go, I’ve had worse….