So for some reason #1 has a random day off school. This is a bugger as I have quite a bit to get done and, not trusting him to stay at home (he could well burn the house down) I decide it’s safer to take him with me. My first mistake. On the way there, we have a very in-depth chat about global warming, the methane produced by Ireland’s dairy herds, how Johnny Gatillo is, like, the wickedest greyhound EVER (apart from Bert, obviously), why Razldazl Billy dropped dead, why Eric Clapton’s such a legend, and I explain, yet again, why he doesn’t actually have to drink the wine we’ve laid down for his 18th birthday all on the actual day.
We decide to split up initially, then to regroup an hour later in the game shop. This is my second mistake. When I find him, he is standing playing an X-Box game in the corner of the shop:
The Game Shop
Me: Well, have you decided what game you want?
#1: Yes, I want this Star Wars one
Me: It’s a 16. You’d better phone the boss.
There follows a long, tedious phone call and even longer rambling explanation to his father about what the man behind the counter said about why it’s got a 16 rating and why it’s totally, like, random as it’s only the same amount of violence as the film, y’know, like light sabers and stuff… While this conversation is going on, I stand imagining the look on Hubby’s face (and those of his colleagues) as he interrupts his meeting in Knock to have a one-sided conflab with a thirteen year old on the amount of violence, fake-blood and flying body parts in a Wii game.
#1: Dad says yes if it’s ok with you
Me: Okay then, let’s get to the till.
#1 (lingering by the PC games): Or there’s this Spore one I quite like…
[Half hour pause while #1, who has obviously befriended the spotty lad behind the till, has a protracted chat with him about the merits of Spore versus the merits of the new Star Wars one]
#1: Nah, I’m deffo going Star Wars. Erm…. yes. No. I definitely am.
Me: Thank Christ. Quick, pay before you change your mind.
The Guitar Shop
(via McDonalds where he woofs down a Big Mac, large fries, large coke and an extra cheeseburger, burps and stands up to leave before I’ve even touched my lunch). I have orders to buy four new sets of electric guitar strings and two plectrums:
#1: Ooh they’ve still got that savage French electric guitar in the sale [flutters eyelashes hopefully]
#1: It’s a bargain…
#1: Look how cute I am when I beg. And you have a credit card… I know you do…
#1: Can I have a plec in the shape of a skull, then?
Me: Yes, if we can go.
#1: Done. Ooh, and I’ll have this one in the shape of an alien too…
The Shoe Repair Shop
We have to get him a back door key cut in the shoe repair place. #1’s eyes light up in wonder at the sparks coming off the key. He fiddles with the plastic key covers on the counter, knocking them everywhere:
#1: Oooooooh, deadly! Can I have a green plastic thingy on my key?
#1: Oh go on
Man behind the counter when passing over the key, taking pity on me: Here you are, you can have the green thing for nothing.
#1: Serious? Wow that’s savage! Thanks!
Finally, we’re off to Specsavers where I’ve still failed to choose the new glasses I need. #1 rushes around sporting an enormous pair of Terry Wogan frames, fetching every ridiculous pink, spotty, stripy and violent green pair he can possibly get his hands on for me to try on, before getting bored and playing with the machine that takes your photo to help you choose glasses to suit you. I give up trying to find glasses and my last glimpse as we exit the shop is seven different views of my son’s ugly mug gurning out of the photo machine. On the escalators back up to the car park he has a violent fit of the giggles because the lady in front has a hairnet over her pony tail which apparently makes it look just like a willy. Everyone turns to stare at us. On the drive home I am treated to a précis of the combined plot of every one of Garth Nix’s Morrowdays books, an insight into how much he’s going to earn when he’s a fighter pilot, how he’s going to work in the game shop in the holidays to earn extra money, and reminded of the story of how Obi Wan Kenobi first gave Luke a light sabre and how he cut off C3PO’s head with it.
We get home. He goes off to play his new game. I go for a lie down.