The Klaxon alarm on my mobile phone sounded earlier today which indicated my mother was calling. Although I love her dearly, my mum is somewhat of a lunatic and conversations with her can be bizarre. I tend to ring her every Tuesday just to let her know that I am all right. If I don’t ring her on a Tuesday it worries her. Her worrying worries me – which only worries her more.
And so it goes.
I have been in Nepal with my younger brother Richard for the past couple of weeks so I have not spoken to my Mum at all. I should really have rung her when I returned a couple of days ago but I have been busy. Taking a deep breath and bracing myself I answered the phone.
“Is that you Peter?”
“It is Mum - is that you?”
“Yes it is dear”
Such irony is wasted on her but I persist anyway.
“Are you back from Nepal then?” she asked.
“I am Mum”
“You weren’t arrested for drug trafficking were you and you didn’t fall off a mountain?”
“Yes I fell off a very large cliff Mum and I am about to be executed for trying to smuggle drugs”
“That’s not funny Peter”
Ever since my encounter with the Japanese Godfather some months ago my mother is somewhat obsessed with the fact that I may become some sort of drug trafficking mule. She also regularly drops the name Julian Assange into our conversations and tells me that she does not wish to see me seeking asylum in some obscure South American Embassy.
I tell her that I also want no such thing.
“I believe that your brother is still over there”
“He is Mum”
“Is he safe?”
“I certainly hope so”
My brother is still in Nepal. He has decided to stay on and do a very big trek high into the Himalaya accompanying some children that we sponsor. It will be a very arduous and adventurous trip to a region called Dolpa that is near the Tibetan border. I wish that I were going with him but I can’t take the time off work and I am also probably physically incapable of the journey.
“I see that you have been writing about his penis again Peter. You know that I don’t like that and the girls at the golf club don’t think it’s funny either”
This seems to be a bit of a recurring theme with my mother and I most certainly do not write about my brother’s dick. I have on a couple of rare occasions merely mentioned in passing that my brother is very well endowed.
He is - very well endowed.
“Listen Mum” I said.
“I do not write about Richard’s dick. All I did was mention that he has quite a big one and as I have told you before he quite likes me mentioning it”
My mother and her golfing friends are regular readers of my blog posts.
“Well I don’t think it’s very appropriate to be writing about such personal things Peter and your father doesn’t like it either. And there is no need at all for you to be swearing so much in everything you write too. We didn’t raise you to be so uncouth”
“What the fuck Mum?”
“That’s not funny Peter”
I did not debate the fact that my mother swears like a trooper – particularly on the golf course. I have been through all of this before with her and it is like banging my head against a brick wall. For the record too – my Dad has no problem at all with me mentioning the endowment of my brother. Dad is quite well hung himself.
Me – not so much.
“I suppose you will write about this too won’t you?” my mother asked.
I could hear a note of bitterness in her voice
“You know that I will Mum”
There was a bit of a pause and then a sigh.
“Your father doesn’t like it”
“He does actually Mum”
I am not sure why my mum says my Dad doesn’t like things when he actually does. I just accept it as one of her quirks.
There was a further pause before my Mum began to prattle on about people I had never heard of and things that I had no interest in. I have a vague recollection of her talking about some woman called Dorothy who was my Mum’s bitter opponent in her weekly games of Bridge and something about the noise that a neighbour’s dog was making by barking loudly at night.
I sort of zone out when my Mum starts to waffle on in such a manner. All I need do is make the odd grunt or occasionally say, “Yes Mum” and off she goes.
My mind was actually on what I am writing now. I have entered into some sort of strange blog challenge where I am required to write a post each day going by the letters of the alphabet. I am only four days in and am up to the letter ‘D’. I am not really used to writing to order and I have no real idea what to write about that starts with the letter ‘D’ so I made a decision to try and respond to my Mum by using words that start with ‘D’.
“You have stopped smoking haven’t you Peter?”
“Definitely Mum” I lied.
“Are you eating properly dear?”
“Fruits and vegetables?”
“Is that the horrible smelling fruit Peter?”
“It is Mum. It smells like decaying and decomposing compost” I responded.
I was rather pleased with myself that I had thrown two ‘D’ words into the mix.
“But it is delicious” I added.
“What about vegetables Peter? Are you eating enough of them?”
“Daikon and Dandelions Mum”
They were all I could come up with.
“Dandelions are flowers dear”
“Yes but they are delicious Mum”
I was grasping at straws here and I have never eaten a dandelion before in my life. I do however quite like daikon – which is a giant type of white radish.
“I also eat a lot of dates, dragon fruit and dingleberries too”
I tend to fib quite a lot to my mum. I despise dates and have no idea what a dingleberry looks like. It may even be a fictitious fruit.
“What about exercise Peter? Are you still swimming?”
“Daily” I replied.
"Your father said that you got ill in Nepal Peter was it anything serious?”
“Oh dear was it bad?”
“Dripping and dreadful”
It was dreadful but I have only myself to blame. I suspect it was some dodgy water that I sipped up in the mountains.
“So when will you be back visiting us next?”
I most certainly hope to return to Australia for a visit before then but alas it is the only month of the year beginning with ‘D’.
“Disappointingly and dismally yes Mum”
“Are you alright Peter? You sound quite peculiar”
“I am perhaps a little delirious Mum. I feel rather distracted, disturbed and deranged”
“Well then you should see a doctor then”
“I don’t think so Mum. I think I am just feeling a little down coming back to Singapore. After Nepal I am dismayed, disheartened, discouraged and daunted”
“I feel despondent, disoriented and a bit distressed too Mum”
“Don’t be silly Peter”
She then prattled on for a little while longer and I threw her as many monosyllables as I could that started with the letter ‘D’.
We said our goodbyes after ten or so minutes then I promised that I would ring her next Tuesday.
As I write this I feel a bit guilty teasing my Mum in such a fashion but I know that she will read this tomorrow and it will act as a sort of a confession.
Sorry Mum. You know that I love you and I was only taking the piss.
It was just that I had this ‘D’ thing to write and I was being a bit diabolical.