Friday, 25 March 2011
Today would’ve been my Mothers birthday.
As anyone who reads here will know I’m very fond of telling little anecdotes, I have a lot about my Mum that I’ve thought about writing here, but it always felt a bit wrong, like its bad enough I’m laughing at her never mind sharing with the blogosphere …but…well... fuck it they are funny.
And it seems kind of apt to do it today.
My Mum was born in the early 1930s, she left school at 14 and although she wasn’t stupid she wasn’t what you’d call educated. In her generation women didn’t need to be, they got married young and expected to do what their mothers had done, stay home and raise a family.
Of course times changed fast and there were a lot of things - especially later on when it came to technology that she just didn’t understand.
Once when I was in the middle of washing up she called me, son answered the phone then brought it through to me, I tucked it under my chin and started talking to her.
“where are you I can hear water”
“I’m doing the washing up”
“how can you be talking to me at the same time your phone isn’t in your kitchen ?”
“it’s a cordless phone mum”
“don’t be silly, how can a phone work without a wire ?”
“mum, do you actually know how a phone works with a wire ?”
“well then, you can hear what I’m doing and we’re talking on the phone so just trust me when I say it works”
I used to have an answering machine on my landline that had a built in message, you could set your own but I sound like a 12 yr old boy on the phone so I left it.
Being an old style machine there was limited space for messages, so if you called you would hear “the person you are calling can’t come to the phone….etc”, but if the message space was full it would just say “thank you for calling” and end the call.
Most UK landlines also had a new service at the time where if you dialled 1571 an automated voice would tell you the last number to call your line.
Often if Mum had called while I was out she would leave a message that was never just “ it’s your mum can you call me back”, these messages would be 5 or 10 minutes long.
Son and I used to joke that she had conversations with the answering machine.
So this day I get home and there’s a short message from her that I really couldn’t understand but she sounded a bit upset/annoyed so I call her back.
“mum, you called me what’s up ? “
“that lady was very rude to me”
“what lady ?”
“the lady that answers your phone for you when you’re not there”
“mum . . *trying not to laugh*. . it’s a machine”
“no it‘s not, I called and she told me to leave a message so I was telling her what I wanted to say to you and she butted in and said ‘thankyou for calling’ then hung up on me ! Then I rang you back and I said I just want to leave a message for my daughter and she did it again !”
“mum . . *really trying not to laugh now* . . you left too long a message and the tape ran out”
“tape ? What tape ?”
“mum . . . *simple explanation of how answer machine works*. . .its NOT a real person”
“don’t try and stick up for her, I may be old but I’m not stupid, she was rude”
”mum there is no she, it really is a machine “
“daughter (she called me that when I pissed her off) don’t try and defend her and make me look stupid, I know it’s a real person and do you want to know how I know?”
“because it’s the same lady I talk to when I call 1571 to see if anyone’s rang me while I’ve been out “
The following Christmas I bought her an answering machine.
Her husband told me that setting it up was a nightmare, not because it was difficult to understand how to, the hard part was making her understand that she could record a message that people would be able to hear if she wasn’t home.
But apparently once she grasped the concept she then wanted to record a different message every time she went out saying how she was, any family news, where she was going and when she would be back because,
“anyone calling will want to know”.
She also refused to ever call me on my mobile because she had heard that they could cause brain tumours.
When I tried to put her mind at rest about this as I didn’t want her worrying about me she said if I wanted to take risks with my health it was up to me, but she wasn’t prepared to take the risk of getting a brain tumour at her age.
By calling me on MY mobile from her landline.
If that made you laugh then have a drink and toast her tonight.
It might please her because right now wherever she is she’s cursing me for sharing that with you lot !
Happy Birthday Mum xxx