Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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When you’re Mad Cool for it

Middle wants to use the car.

“What for?”

“Maybe climbing, go to the beach, I don’t know. I don’t want my boundaries to be limited,” he says.

“Very nice. If you drive me to work you can use it.”

“OK,” he says. “I might just keep on driving, go anywhere.”

“Not in my car you won’t.”

As we get in the car I wonder if something’s making him restless. Driving time is good talking time. Close proximity, no eye contact, doors locked there’s no escape (or is that last bit just me that does that?).

“My sunglasses are missing!” he says. “The ones I keep in the car. It’ll be Youngest or Eldest. They’re always taking my stuff.”

“Hmmm. They never take mine.”

“Yeah, ‘cos mine are little round ones and yours are…”

“Tortoiseshell, big. And never stolen.”

“It’s Eldest probably,” he says. “Grrrr. Gets me angry. Thing is, he’s such a nice guy.”

“Right.”

“Our relationship is like scaffolding,” says Middle.

“Yes.”

“And right now it’s precarious.”

“OK. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll get your glasses back. Also scaffolding can be very flexible and adaptable. When I was in Hong Kong they were using bamboo scaffolding to hold up buildings multiple storeys high.”

“Yeah, it’s stronger than metal,” he says. “Anyway, I’ll need my sunglasses for Madrid.”

“Oh yeah, the Cool Mad Festival. And while you’re there, go and see Guernica in the art gallery.”

“Funny, I was just thinking about that. First thing I’m doing is seeing some Picasso. And it’s Mad Cool,” he says.

“Yeah, but don’t take a picture with your phone like I did or you’ll get slung out. Still, there are lots of great sculptures outside, Alexander Calder and that. And while you’re there, go over to the main railway station and look at the terrapins that live there in the ponds under the palms trees.”

“Terrapins? Palm trees? In the station?”

“Yeah, turtles, they live there. Someone put one in the pond at the station, then another, then another. And they all mated and now there are hundreds of them,” I tell him.

“Right.”

“No really.”

“Yep,” he says. “You know, I’m going to start writing down all the weird things you say.”