The Plus One

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Let me just briefly go over The Mom’s criteria for what makes a Good Child: one must be funny, have several interesting tales to tell, particularly ones that are difficult to out do, and be able to hold one’s liquor.

Also, if one is in situ as The Child of The House, one must also be prepared to act as The Plus One/Chauffeur in such instances as it is required.

I know this because I have done it. More so as the Plus One, as generally speaking, The Other Two aren’t keen on the idea of me and The Mom driving blindly around the countryside in the dark. This I know because once, we let it slip that we’d gone to the pictures on a cold and wintry night, which meant that one of us had to drive in the dark, which is not one of our best skills. The Mom maintains that her eyesight is Just Fine whilst driving at night, and I am fairly certain this is almost nearly true. And anyhow, she knows the roads well enough by now to not be much of a hazard to herself or others.

Me on the other hand… my driving skills are patchy at best because, living in the UK as I do, I don’t drive much. I am forced to practice when I’m at home, but short jaunts to the supermarket or the mall don’t do much to improve my depth perception, which is really the issue. It’s not that I don’t see cars or other things on the road, it’s that I’m never completely certain just how far away from me they may be. 100 metres? 20? It’s really hard to say.

Anyhow, this is all to say that if I’m called upon to be the chauffeur it’s the last resort.

So when The Mom emailed me to say she didn’t have a ride to this big anniversary do she was going to, I replied immediately stating that if I was at home I would of course, gallantly, step up and do the driving. This was an easy enough offer to make as I knew there was zero chance of being taken up on the offer.

The funny thing is, of course, the way The Mom goes about asking for a ride and or a plus one.

“Are you busy three Saturdays from now?” she might ask, sometime in the bleary dawn when the person she is expecting a response from is Not At Their Best.

“You what? When? What? It’s early. No questions,” will come the reply.

The Mom will be retreat, gather her strength, and come back later, once she sense that enough coffee has been ingested to make her off spring into people again.

Sometime just before lunch, usually around elevenses, or as it’s called back home, snack time, she’ll sashay breezily into the kitchen.

“I’ve just heard from So and So (insert relevant name here). They’re really looking forward to seeing you at their party. I hear you replied in the affirmative to their invitation on Facebook?”

“What?” This will be followed by a look of confusion.

“We were all invited to the party. You said you’d be going?”

“What party?”

The Mom will do her best to not demonstrate how frustrating this conversation is getting. “Their anniversary. You replied several days ago. It’s at the end of the month.”

Whoever has been cornered and tagged as person most likely to become embroiled in the situation will consult a device of some kind and verify that they have indeed responded in the affirmative.

“Oh, right. THAT.”

The Mom will perk right up. “So, since we’re all going, who wants to drive. I would but I fancy a glass of wine.”

“Sure, Mom, fine, I can drive.”

The Mom will smile gleefully and rush off to prepare a series of outfits to be considered.

Weeks later, usually two to three days before the party, she will take to reminding The Chosen One that they have been chosen to do the driving and play the role of Entertaining Guest With Amusing Stories.

This will probably come as a surprise to whichever of us has agreed to do it.

“Oh, is that this week?” The Driver will ask.

The Mom will again try not to appear outwardly frustrated.

“Yes. This week. In two days from now.”

“Oh, sorry, I forgot.” And by that we’ll mean that one of our devices has not suitably nagged us.

In the intervening weeks, any number of other things will have likely cropped up in our lives, meaning it is now impossible to take The Mom where she needs to be at the proper time.

She blames this on our inability to commit to things. Like making a plan to meet up somewhere. We rely on text messaging, to give real time updates as to our progress and ETAs. The Mom does not appreciate nor understand this flexi-behaviour. And it drives her nuts. Because she is, like all of our Moms, in charge of organising all social activities of the family as a unit. This means she has got used to making plans years in advance. She does not operate in real-time, she operates in firm commitment time.

So this situation that she’s recently experienced is now due to any nefarious behaviour on anyone’s part, rather the failure of our operating systems to synch up. It’s like Mac vs PC back in the day. We’re working on making things more compatible, but things are still buggy.

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