“You know, it would be good if there was less chat input from you,” says Middle as we get into the car together.
He’s going to drive and I’ll be co-driving. He passed his test first time ages ago but it’s taken a while getting him on the insurance, so a bit of practice is required – at his request I might add. A bit of parallel parking, a bit of three-point turning. I’m confident of his driving skills so I’ll enjoy a run out, even if it is around the docks and back of the shopping centre. But he doesn’t want advice, even if it is helpful. Fine.
“Should have brought a flask and a tartan blanket,” I say. “Make an afternoon of it. We could go across the bridge.”
He gives me a look.
“Oh OK. I’ll keep quiet,” I say, settling back with my vape. (Middle is more tolerant of the in-car e-cigarette than his sister whose stance is zero, especially in the car/house/outside/ever.)
“Yes, if you could. So I can think,” he says.
Off we go, and he’s a great driver, so much so that I’ve completely zoned out and fallen to musing on the House of Commons’ Exiting the European Union committee’s 15 Brexit tests and the iniquities of the gender pay gap (surprised it’s not wider to be honest), oh OK, what to make for the tea.
I’m also thinking it’s only afternoon but it’s already getting dark in this endless Scottish winter and he should probably switch the lights on. But I won’t say anything, as instructed. Less chat input.
We drive on. He’s probably going to switch the lights on soon and anyway, we do live in a huge conurbation with plenty of street lighting – the northern lights could be dancing up a Joe McFadden Strictly finale overhead and you’d never see them for the backglow. So I keep it zipped, don’t want to interrupt his thinking or concentration. Finally he notices.
“Lights! I didn’t have my lights on!” he says. “Why didn’t you tell me? ‘Sake. Might as well be on my own!”