Saturday, 3 July 2010

Guilt In All Directions, And Josh Takes Centre Stage

Josh does not take well to Max and I taking the piss about the National Skateboarding Championships. In fact, he goes so far as to say that it is our failure to encourage his talents which has made him the way he is. Then he storms off into town with the lads.  Max laughs, while I fall into a guilt-ridden slough of despond. This isn't helped by the fact that I won't get a reply from Johnny until Monday at the earliest. God knows how many copies of my photo his PA will have disseminated around the typing pool by then. I will be his staff's equivalent of Mr Beales. My buttocks might even adorn their dartboard, as The Boss' face does ours.

I'm so miserable that even Max notices, and suggests we go and have a coffee somewhere - so we plod down to Caffe Nero, where I ingest so much caffeine that I give myself palpitations. Max wants to know if I think The Boss will give me a pay-rise, now that I can prove that I'm so badly paid in comparison to most other MPs' employees. I say I rate my chances of that at zero, to which Max says he has now developed palpitations as well. The way our working lives are going, we'll have to rely on Connie to keep us soon. And she's only here for the summer!

We decide we can't afford to buy anything other than a coffee now that Max's job is in such jeopardy, so we might as well go home again. I feel even more guilty about the £20 I spent on underwear this week. You can't take that back for a refund either, unlike your wife. If Max found out..... I can't bear to think about it.

So, an hour after we left the house on our first date in weeks, Max and I are heading back home. We walk along in silence most of the way, until we reach the underpass on the way out of town. We've just passed through one of its steepish, sloping arms, when we're stopped in our tracks by a loud rumbling noise. As we stand still in the central circle, a skateboarder suddenly shoots out of another of the arms, waves, spins a few times and then roars gracefully past us, out into the other arm that leads in the direction of our house. We manage to spot that it's Josh' friend, Robbie, but honestly - blink, and you'd have missed it. It was all over so fast - even though Robbie was going uphill on the exit.

The rumbling doesn't diminish as much as it should, though, given that Robbie should be a fair distance away by now. In fact, it's intensifying, though it isn't as rhythmic as the earlier sound. Max and I continue to stand still in the central area, in case we're about to get taken out by a runaway trolley or something. We seem to wait for ever until, eventually, another skateboarder appears. He is veering all over the place and wobbling furiously. It's Josh. And it's agonising.

Max and I look at each other, both close to hysteria, and then back at Josh who doesn't acknowledge us at all. He's too busy concentrating on wobbling his way slowly - very, very slowly - out of the underpass. Just before he's out of earshot, it all becomes too much. Max lets out an explosive volley of laughter, and I sink against the wall, shaking. I am close to needing an incontinence pad.

"Our son, the skateboard champion," Max says. We are terrible parents.


  1. A wry and very funny post. Of course you are terrible parents, all of us are. We can only hope that our kids come out the other end, reasonably unscathed, whether in skateboarding or life.....

    PS - keep the undies...

  2. Now I feel much better. thanks. Including about the underwear ;-)