Where were you Friday?
Can you remember? Maybe in your mind it’s just another day which has slipped by barely noticed. Let me help. Friday was so freakishly hot when I pulled in at a huge Brisbane service station for a Gatorade I commented on how not busy they were and the girl behind the counter said, “No one steps out of the air conditioning on a day like this if they can help it.”
Ten minutes later I stood in the middle of the living area in my son’s new rental frowning wistfully at the huge, useless head unit on the wall.
“Oh, good,” my son had exclaimed earlier in the week when I’d phoned to tell him since I have an appointment with a specialist on Friday and I’m helping him move home on Saturday I’d just be sleeping over the night. “That means you can be at the new place when they come to hook up the power.”
“Sure,” I said. I was planning on visiting my brother for a coffee and maybe window shop in an Apple store, but I could fit this into my schedule. “What time?”
I waited while he referred to his emails.
“It says here between one and six.”
By two o’clock I’d opened all the windows in the house and brought a pillow up from the car to try ‘relax’ on the wooden floors.
By three o’clock I’d returned to the car, started the engine and eaten through a quarter of a tank of fuel with all the aircon outlets tilted & turned to face me – the best hour of the afternoon – but when the gauge got so low I was worried about having enough fuel to make it back to the girl at the servo I had to turn the engine off.
By four o’clock I’d started passively aggressively teasing my son with photos of how shit his new place is. Every cracked or chipped tile. Every nail hole, plastered or not, in the walls. Every scratch & scuff in the polished floorboards and every light fitting and switch. Every missing fan blade.
Okay, there was only one of those.
Then I did a twenty five minute video walking around the place pointing out everything I hated with increasingly genuine disdain, so he could hear me saying how shit it all was too.
I later found out he had to turn his phone off at work. Seems when 244 photos of reasons you should have taken longer to find a new place come through in quick succession all the pinging attracts the attention of others in the office.
Not that I’m a complete ass: Halfway through I sent a photo of a nice bit I found with the suggestion it might be quicker if I just took photos of the bits which weren’t crappy. Because I care about his feelings and shit.
In any case, you might recall Friday the 15th of November 2019 was a shitty hot day with no reason to leave the comfort of an air-conditioned room or office. I’m pretty sure if I ever develop kidney stones from dehydration they will be directly linked to that date.
Finally, my son’s work day ended and he arrived, chirpy and pleased to see me, at his new front door.
“How’d you go?” he asked, giving me a hug and looking around.
I shook my head.
“No one’s been,” I croaked through cracked, unsmiling lips. It’s possible I’m exaggerating about all but the unsmiling bit.
“But it’s ten past six,” he said, and I swear he was gaping at me like somehow this was my fault. I mean he obviously wasn’t but my sub-conscience was looking for any excuse to snot the prick for torturing, with whatever the opposite of waterboarding is, someone he’s supposed to love.
“Were you here the whole time?”
I think he finally took in my expression and realised this might not be an appropriate line of questioning. He pulled out his phone to send off an email to find out why no one had come.
I pulled my own phone and very deliberately took another photo of a spot on the wall so he could see me hating on his house and then, presumably because it’s something of a reflex response to when it starts to get dark, I reached out and flicked on the nearest light switch.
“Hey, Dad,” Master27 said just as the room lit up. “It says here they came and hooked power up at eleven this morning.” He looked up and smiled at the bright light above us. “That’s a relief.”
I may have sworn at this point. A lot.
“Oh,” he went on over the top of my creative cussing, “and thanks for all those photos. Saves me having to do them myself for the entry report.”
raising a family on little more than laughs