I’ve had a bit of a mid-week lull. It started with my last post. I started thinking about the working dads and suddenly I wanted to have it all. I wanted to be out there wearing a shirt and confidently swapping banter and actually opening my bank statements, for goodness sake. And that sent me spiraling morosely downwards.
Then yesterday, after I had finished my one day’s paid work a week (which finishes next week), I took my daughter to the local playground again in an attempt to de-programme her from CBeebies. She’d been watching for too long with the glazed air that you have when your boss is telling you about his new marketing strategy or you’ve just woken up at 3am in front of a quiz show with the remnants of a cheese toastie in your lap. The trouble is I have to finish off after she’s come home from nursery, so I sit upstairs in the grip of guilt and corporate news, as she sits downstairs crunching party rings and watching Lazytown (again) then SMarteenies then Bobinogs then Numberjacks etc…
Anyway we get to the park and it’s the usual 5.30 selection of mums dads and kids. Not the weekend variety; low key. A couple of blokes reading newspapers, a mum helping her toddler walk. Kids of different ages expertly swinging around the garish equipment and bouncing on the rubberized trampoline that is the ground in play areas nowadays. There are also two boys, bigger than the rest. About 10-ish probably. They’re booting a football around, but that happens, and even though it’s patently too small a space to do that in, people let it go. Then the ball gets booted in our direction and hits me as I am bouncing my daughter on the see-saw. The boy near to me looks worried and I say:
“Look it’s really not a good idea to kick the ball here.”
“There are small children around.”
I start pointing and then he grins in an immensely irritating way.
He’s 10-ish and he’s taking the piss out of me!
“We’re going anyway” he says smugly.
“Good.” I say.
“What?” he says menacingly.
Now he’s threatening me!
“Good” I say, more uncertainly, having never been menaced by a 10 year old before. Not since I was 10, anyway.
I win the staring battle, not unsurprisingly since I’m twice his height and he exits with his friend, muttering about “dissing” and mentioning brothers or dads. I have visions of relations sprinting into the playground armed with knives and guns.
And on top of that, it may or may not be coincidental but since my wife gave up smoking on Saturday (well done her) we have been arguing constantly. By text, by email and then when she gets home in person:
“Well I wish I’d never ...”
“Well I wish you hadn’t either.”
“Is that how you feel?”
“Is that how you feel?”
“Well if that’s how you feel …”
“Doesn’t it look like it?”
“Well I will, then.”
“Well do …”
“Do you want me to?”
“What do you want for supper?”
I hope to recover my poise soon and post some emotive descriptions of countryside flowers.