“How’s things going in the back there?” I asked over my shoulder as we thundered down the highway towards a day enjoying Brickman’s Wonders of the World and an evening filled with Matilda, The Musical. Given the adventure we were on, and the cost of said adventure, I expected nothing but positive affirmative hollabacks.
The odd man out was – amusingly, when I think about it – the only boy child in the car: Master11.
“What’s up, mate?” I asked, dreading his answer.
It was gonna be a sister coughing too much or talking too much or playing music too loud or touching his stuff. That, of course, would kick off the inevitable round of justifications and incriminations which would make things unbearable for about fifteen minutes and, with any luck but good luck, start up the complaining chorus comprised of the rest of his disgruntled siblings.
So at this point I was really wishing I’d kept my mouth shut.
You might imagine, then, how hell surprised I was when he went on to explain the reason for his deflated response without including a reference to any of his sisters.
“I’ve had this phone for two days now and no one has called,” he said.
A wonderful side effect of organising our Big Lap internet was I needed to upgrade my mobile to an iPhone7+, meaning we could swap out Miss13’s iPhone5 for my old phone and give it to Master11. He’d been super chuffed about it right up until now.
I stole a glance into the back seat. His chin was on his chest.
“People aren’t going to call you until they know your number,” I explained to him.
“I’ve given my number to everyone I know,” he told me. “Everyone. And no one has called.”
“Maybe they haven’t thought of a reason to call you?”
“What reason do you need?” he asked, although I suspected it was rhetorical because he went on. “Mum calls Auntie Bel all the time and they don’t say anything amazing.”
“You can always call someone,” I suggested.
“I can’t,” said Master11. “I don’t have their numbers.”
“Well, just be patient. It’ll happen eventual-”
Master11’s face lit up like a Christmas Tree with a faulty string of fairy lights.
“It’s ringing!” he grinned, staring at the mobile in his hands.
More grinning. More staring.
“Well, answer the bloody thing!” I yelled at him.
I suspect he was simply enjoying the sensation.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, pressing the button and bringing it to his ear. “Hello?”
There was a pause. “Who?” More pause. “I’ll put you on to my dad.”
“I’ll take it,” said Tracey from the passenger seat.
Probably sensible, considering…you know…the law and everything.
“Hello?” she said pleasantly into the iPhone. Pause. “Mary? No, there’s no Mary here.” At this point I resisted the urge to say there should be but my wife refused to let me bestow that name which I love so very much on any of my girls. Instead, I continued to listen to the one sided conversation which, I realised, was about to reunite our son’s chin with his chest. “It’s not a problem. Bye.”
“Who was it?” asked Master11 eagerly.
“Wrong number,” said his Mum, passing the phone back. “Sorry, buddy.”
But sorry be damned, apparently.
Cue, instead, a backseat fist pump bonanza!
“YES!!” Master11 yelled, nearly sending me into the guard rail. “My first phone call! I love having a mobile!!”
Raising a family on little more than laughs