Saturday, 26 June 2010

Cousins Reincarnated, Duty Calls and Paranoia.

I'm quite glad there isn't a supermarket surgery again this week, as it allows me a lie-in, and postpones the moment when I have to talk to Max. When I do finally get up, he's weirdly attentive and jumps around making cups of tea and a cooked breakfast. He doesn't even mention Germany. I hate how he does that - makes me have to broach any subject that he knows is going to lead to an argument. Makes me look so confrontational.

I decide to get the parental phone calls over and done with instead. Mum and Ted aren't in - probably on the first of their twice-daily trips to Waitrose. Dad is at home, but says he hasn't got time to talk to me because he's about to leave on a trip  - he's going away for a few days to Cousin Mike's. I thought Cousin Mike was dead, but Dad assures me he's alive and well, and living near Heathrow with his second wife. Dad says he's at an age now when family becomes more important, and so he wants to spend time with his siblings and cousins while he can. I ask him for Mike's phone number and he gives it to me, though he says he thinks they'll be out and about most of the weekend.

The duty calls have taken a fraction of the time they usually take, and now the rest of the day is stretching ahead unappealingly. I ring Dinah.

"Dad's gone to visit Cousin Mike," I say.

"Thought he was dead," says Dinah. "We went to his funeral. Remember?"

"That's what I thought too, but Dad says that was Cousin Fred."

"Christ," says Dinah. "We have far too many bloody relatives, living or dead. Where's Mike live then?"

"Near Heathrow."

"Heathrow? Airport? You serious? Give me the phone number." Dinah is so bossy.

"Why?" I am completely confused.

"Well, how d'you get from Thailand to the UK?" says Dinah. "God, you're dim, given what you do for a living. No wonder the country's in such a mess."

I give her Mike's number. I don't want to know what's going to happen next.

I spend the rest of the day thinking about men and why women are automatically suspicious of them. Is it because we're genetically paranoid, or is it because of what they get up to? Max makes his inability to recall the name of his hotel for the 24 hours he was staying in it sound perfectly understandable when I finally crack and ask him about his trip. It was booked for him; the company guide had all the details; they were driven there from the airport by coach, and it was dark when they arrived. Then he couldn't read the name from the hotel signage or stationery because it was in a completely over-the-top Gothic script. When I still look a little dubious, he gets cross and falls back on the old chestnut:

"If you don't trust me after all these years, then what's the bloody point?"

 The after all these years bit is the point, but I'm now so confused that I drop the subject. I almost wish there had been a surgery today. I know exactly what to do to help constituents with their problems.

No comments:

Post a Comment