Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In a hole

Conversations with my mother are never boring.

We’re sitting outside finishing lunch on a beautiful, sunny Girona day. The plane doesn’t leave until 18.15 so we have time for a leisurely lunch.

I flew to Leeds on Sunday to pick her up, escort her on the journey to Italy and generally ensure that she reduces the weight in her luggage from 30 Kilos to 15. She’s Italian and considers the rules about weight allowance as advisory rather than compulsory. A bit like Italian drivers at red traffic lights.

Anyway, I’m sipping my coffee when mum said, “Don’t do that, it looks horrible.”

I have to look around because she can’t possibly be talking to me.

Wrong. She is looking at me.

“What are you talking about?” I said.

“That thing with your hand,” she said.

My offence? I’m in the habit of holding my hand level, palm down, under my chin to avoid spills when I drink coffee.

“What wrong with that?” I said, “in fact what’s it got to do with you?”

“I’m your mother (as if that's the answer to everything), and it makes you look like that man,” she said.

Intrigued, I said “Which man?”

“You know, him. The American.”

That’s narrowed it down a bit I think to myself. One in 125 million are much better odds.

“Er mum, which American?”

“You know, that one in the ground.”

“Mum, please, what are you talking about?”

Mum, talking to me as if I’m stupid, “That one, the one they found in a hole in the ground.”

Jan and I looked at each other, looking for inspiration.

“He had a beard,” she said.

The clues don’t really help. I started to get exasperated, I’ve got better things to do with my life and stupid conversations is definitely not one of them.

“They found him hiding, you know. I know you know,” she said.

Jan and I look at each other, looking for some help.

It finally dawns on me. Do you mean Saddam?

“Yes that’s him. Hussein, Saddam Hussein.”

Jan fell about laughing.

I said, “Mum, he’s not American.”

“You’re just being awkward,” she said.

“Let me get this right mum,” I said, “because I hold my hand under my chin when I’m drinking coffee I look like Saddam Hussein?”

My mother looked at me as if I’m an imbecile.

“Yes, you must have seen him do it? It looks horrible.”

“Mum, I’ve seen quite a bit of him on television, mostly strutting about and dispensing goodwill, but frankly I’ve never seen him do that.
What's worse, I find myself apologising.

Jan can hardly contain herself, she’s screaming with laughter. Saddam is one of the few things she’s never called me.

1 comment:

martin said...

Mums are great. I took my Mum out for fish and chips when I was about twenty five, and out loud in the restaurant she shouted " Did you bring any clean pants down with you?" Needless to say everyone around laughed. Mums.