It’s been another turbulent few months of political unrest and all signs are pointing towards the End Times. Mum and I have been dealing with the often-disturbing nature of reality the only way we know how: talk about it.
Wimbledon’s started and mum’s usually quite on it, like the horses. So, looking for an easy punt, I decide to see who’s hot this year.
Me: Who’s going to win?
Mum: Don’t know.
Me: Why not?
Mum: Not on it.
Me: Why? Haven’t you been watching?
Mum: No, I’d have had to watch all of Queens and I started watching Poirot.
I’m down in Devon having run myself into the ground again. I emerge from my cave after a late night arriving from London looking feral and ravenous.
Me: No, no bread. I ate a lot of bread yesterday. More vitamins, please – I need to be treated like a very ill athlete.
Mum: When have I ever treated you as anything else?
We’re listening to the news, which should just be re-named ‘Brexit’ …
Mum: I don’t imagine Brexit will affect writers.
Me: No, we’re hiding safely below the poverty line.
(Of course, it absolutely will.)
We’re having a very literary discussion as usual, and mum is telling me what she’s reading at the moment …
Mum: The Evil U Give.
Me: The Hate U Give.
Mum: The Hate U Give …Yes.
Me: Ok, nice. I don’t like the title but I’m sure it’s very good.
Mum: Oh it is.
Me: Everyone’s reading it, it’s a very woke book.
Mum: Oh is it?
Mum: I’m reading a woke book?
Mum: Oh how wonderful.
There’s a pause and then …
Mum: What is this ‘woke’?
I think how to explain it ..
Mum: What’s the opposite of woke?
Mum (with usual wistfulness): Maybe I am dreaming.
Me: No mum, you don’t want to be un-woke, that means you’re a racist.
Mum: Oh fuck. Ok. Well, I’ve always been woke … Like, awakened? Sounds very religious.
Me: Yes, I don’t know the etymology but it’s akin to enlightenment … but with a more political emphasis.
Mum: Right, very interesting, ‘woke’ …
Mum’s listening to The Archers …
“Nothing stops for The Archers, it will be going on when dinosaurs come back.”
We’re talking about my imminent trip to Cardiff, and my more imminent trip to the Ladies Pond …
Mum: Have you got good gear to go in?
Me: Not really, no. But it doesn’t really matter what I’m wearing, I’ll just get in the water.
Mum: No for Cardiff, you Twit.
Even during the jubilance of the World Cup, spending a lot of time alone can make you very irritable. And sometimes people are just irritating.
Me: I’m finding everyone very irritating today.
Mum: Watch the football and relax – I hope it won’t be too exciting for me.
She thinks for a second and comes up with a cunning plan …
Mum: I’ll take another beta blocker.
We’re talking about other people’s holidays and mum says decisively …
“The only travel I’m interested in is time travel.”
Mum is regaling me with more tales of my baby acting days*, the salad days, when we could afford salad …
Mum: You used to get money for every audition.
Me: That’s good.
Mum: Yeah, you paid a few gas bills.
* Find me on the cover of ‘Mother and Baby’ and several stunning nappy adverts.
Mum is jolly annoyed that after joining the Lib Dems she has found them to be rather un-radical, they’re all rather old, and they haven’t implemented any of her very excellent ideas. She huffs …
“There aren’t enough young members … I’m bored of the Lib Dem’s now, they’ve bored me. I’m joining the National Front like everybody else.”
(She is, of course, joking … Just in case you lost your sense of humour.)
Mum’s up in London and I’m cooking stir fry, we’re celebrating some exam results and have had a couple of glasses of prosecco. She starts confessing all her secrets …
Mum: Lauren Goodyear …
I look at her blankly.
Me: I don’t know who she is.
Mum: I’m absolutely fascinated by her. I think it’s the closest to fandom I’ve ever come … She’s back with her boyfriend, and the teeth!
Me: Who is he?
Mum: I have no idea. You couldn’t understand what he was saying because of these enormous white teeth.
Mum: I laugh not … It’s frightening.
Mum has now eaten the aforementioned stir fry and says ….
“You’re a good cook. But you must take your B12.”
We’ve heard through the grapevine that something has gone wrong at one of the local holiday cottages, apparently guests are very angry. Mum supposes …
“They’re probably going to smear poison on the doorknobs.”
We’ve discussed everything on the planet and now we’ve arrived at a nasty little life form …
Mum: I want Philip Green in jail.
Me: You’ll be lucky.
Mum: You’d be surprised, people are angry.
Me: He’s an awful human being but he wasn’t one of the rudest people I met.
Mum: Really? You were appalled the day you said, “I’ve just met the most revoltingly rude fat old man.” He leant over you while you were talking to Ronnie Wood.
Me: Oh yeah. No, he was incredibly rude.
This was before mum was kicked off Facebook – probably for sharing too many articles about LSD trials – and she’s reading something very interesting about our star signs …
Mum: ‘Who’s your worst enemy?’ Oh this will be a laugh …
She clicks on the next slide.
Me (a Virgo): Oh dear.
Mum: Virgos are logical and analytical, while Aquarius creative and impulsive – but both can be stubborn and aggressive.
Me: Well, I think we’ve done quite well.
Mum: My parents were both virgos, I’ve always liked virgos.
Me: But are you sure they liked you?
We’re ending another delightful phone conversation and mum parts with …
“Well I’m going to go and be woke in Barnstaple and check everyone else is being woke.”