Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Let it Be.

Everybody knows when I am worried about anything because I’ll spill my guts to anyone prepared to listen. That’s always been a downfall of mine. Too ready to divulge all. Heart on my sleeve. Candid. As far from mysterious and enigmatic as you are ever likely to get. I find it surprising therefore when other people are more secretive and guarded.
Hubby, whilst he’s not prepared to as I might, tell all and sundry over a cappuccino that he’s fretting about something would rather put on a brave face, but this mask slips when he is at home and I know immediately when there is something bugging him as my normally, “Come, come, chin up. Keep calm and carry on”, guy, gets all needy on me. This manifests itself by hugging me, rather alarmingly, randomly and too often and burying his head in my neck and sighing. This is something of a hindrance when one is frying bacon for instance, or taking the bins out. The last thing you need then is burning fat spattering up your arm as your husband needs succour, similarly standing there with a bulging bag of rubbish, one arm around one’s husband, the other hanging off due to the weight of the bag distracts one from the husband’s anguish.
Last Friday having spent the night away babysitting Mags’s children, I finally had to tell him to pull himself together, when, as my car pulled up outside the house, he was waiting on the pavement for me. He opened the car door and yanked me out, pulling me into his arms with a rather dramatic, “Oh my God I’ve missed you. Please don’t go away again”.
After I’d put the kettle on and made him a coffee, I asked him what on earth was wrong.
“Alice. We can’t carry on as we are.” Here it comes, he’s having an affair.
“The remortgaging didn’t go as planned. We just can’t afford our lives. We need to downsize. We need to do something drastic”. This is the point where, in the movies, the hysterical damsel in distress gets a slap across the face, comes to her senses and falls head over heels for the man brandishing the slap. I didn’t fancy my chances. Instead I handed him a fig roll to go with his coffee.
“Hmm I see” I said, rather calmly. I was only capable of being calm because the happy pills that I’ve been taking for a fortnight, are finally kicking in, whereas, had he said this a month ago I’d have fled the house wailing, “No more, I can’t cope with any more”. The Black Dog’s jaw has loosened its grip.
“Well, we’ll have to make some cut backs then” was my optimistic reply and if he was about he say, “it’s gone beyond cutback’s love”, I may never know. The moment passed as our son ambled into the kitchen. With his hair grown unattractively long, sideburns and a weird looking, beard thing he looks like a vagrant.
“What the hell do you think you look like?” asked Hubby, much I’d imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo’s dads asked back in the 60’s.
“A psychiatric social worker”, he answered. I smoothed his hair away from his face.
“Let me just cut your fringe darling”, I begged. He was having none of it.
“It’s for my drama exam. I’m in role”. Hubby and I looked at each other sceptically. Having a son that is a devoted student is not something we can boast about.
“Is that a fact?”, I asked.
“Yup”, he said, peering into an empty cafetiere, as though looking at it more intently were going to make it elicit magic coffee.
“So when is the exam darling?”, I persevered. Keep all avenues of communication open with teenagers, they advise.
“So, you’re not going to shave until then?” asked Hubby before burying his face in my neck again.
“What about Monday?”
“What about Monday?” answered my son.
“It wasn’t a rhetorical question love. I was wondering what time the coach was”.
“What time the coach is where?” This was becoming tiresome.
“To the University expo”. It soon transpired that he wasn’t on the coach from school and that in fact he and his two band mates were planning to take the train.
“You do realise that the expo isn’t in the centre of Exeter don’t you? It’s at Westpoint”.
“Which is?”
“Just off the M5”.
Funny old thing, but Monday morning saw me and three glum band mates drive up the A38.Amongst a few thousand 17 year olds I was the token mother. I visited every stall from myriad universities and almost broke my shoulders humping jute bags filled with hundreds of prospectuses around with me. Getting my son to be enthusiastic was as painful as drawing teeth. He just wants to play music. There is a degree he can do in Popular Music for God’s sake, or Music Management yet he is so short-sighted that he cannot see that if he doesn’t go to uni he won’t have time to for his band as he’ll be schlepping to work day in day out and that’s if he’s lucky to find a job.
We drove home in silence. One of the band members, acknowledging that I’d spent time and money on taking them there and back and buying doughnuts, coffee and lunch at least had the grace to open a prospectus and read a page on a forensics degree.
We came home. Hubby came home. World War Three broke out.
“I’ve got news for you. You are going to University young man. You can’t be a waster all your life. Hell when I was your age I was earning a wage. I...” Much as I expect Mr McCartney said. Unfortunately I doubt they’ll be the next Beatles though, which I why I doubt Mr McCartney then buried his head in Mrs McCartney’s neck and sighed.


Anonymous said...


Love the blog. Don't worry about your son. He'll find his way. (I can say that because I have a slightly older son who's a writer/actor/musician in New York. Of course, he did go to university first, which helped a lot.)

Susan (your American customer, who hopes to be back across the pond soon)

DL said...

Hi AB,

I also love the blog.

It's crap, this money stuff, isn't it!

Our son Guy's also doing the University Expo stuff at the moment. Was at Bristol last week and Cardiff today. It's slowly dawning on him that perhaps those GCSEs did matter after all, as well as anything he may be doing now: now looking towards damage limitation strategies.

Best wishes,

It's just me said...

I've been reading avidly, but I don't always comment. I do, however, look forward to your next expose of family life.

I was the same as your son (except a girl, obv.) and actually ended up beginning a music degree before dropping out. And man, did I drop out!

Now, however, my life finds me doing a responsible job which I happen to love, and being all grown up and respectable.

It'll happen - some of us just need more time before we get there.