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Two Point Four: Fresh air calls

“Not now, Daddy’s busy!” billows from the dark depths under the home desk, while battling with the spaghetti like cables.
“Which one of these is the blasted printer?” Why do children decide the best time to crave your attention when you’re at your most indisposed?
I’ve lost count of the times while talking to a customer care line, getting to the all-important crux of my complaint (which god only knows is worthy of an OBE or at least a Crystal Maze Crystal – however that’s another discussion), only to be monumentally interrupted by the cacophony of quarrelling children.
More specifically, asking contradicting questions which lead to gritted teeth explanations of “no I was telling the nice Mr Insurance man about the other broken TV”.
Better still this can be coupled with a double act of our two hounds barking, who have heard some phantom intruder and now are launching themselves at the net curtains.
All concentrated within a square metre of the phone. It’s organised stealth and military precision the like of which would make Lord Mountbatten proud.
I do strongly believe the telephone holds some special Holy Grail status. Try calling all to help for dinner or empty the dishwasher and you may have well as declared the kitchen a ground zero for the Black Death.
My better half and I do know have a ‘tag team’ approach to phone calls made or received. There is some preparation first:
“You making this one?”
“Write down everything you need to say and ask you know our time will be limited”
“How long do you think we’ve got?”
“Ok cover me…”
FullSizeRenderThe last one perhaps not quite but it does feel like we are on the brink of a drug bust. So my wife starts the call.
This is usually the way and certainly my preference, because despite the meticulous planning of questions, the moment the call is finished there’s “but you didn’t ask about this” and I blindly reply “but we didn’t talk about that”
Then we have to start again. I admit it I’m useless when it comes to these critical calls so I bow out gracefully (that’s what I’m dressing this up as) and let the boss conduct the call. My role is a very important one, using the American vernacular: I’m the blocker.
I stand at the base of the stairs feet placed at shoulders width, knees bent, slighting bent forwards with hands held high, poised waiting. Occasionally tilting my head, funnelling the eerie silence of the upstairs dwellers to my radar like ears.
Is there movement, I can’t hear them, but I have signal in front and behind?
I now have an overwhelming urge to pop on khakis, strip down to my white dirt vest and strap ridiculously oversized blasters by my side with all my attention honed on this clicking box.
Click Click Click, then the beeps start.
Faint at first beep……….beep…… then more frequent, I start to sweat.
Flicking my head between the impending maelstrom of interruption and the muted conversation in the kitchen, I lose all rational sense. They know.
Their own internal sensors have switched on, an important call is in progress and their little red light labelled ‘ill timing’ is flashing. They come crashing down the stairs.
“Daddy why’s mummy on the phone?”
“Who’s she speaking to?”
This is met with panicked hush on my part. Panicked because this was my only job, a simple job: stop the little darlings from entering the kitchen.
By now the hounds have surfaced too, gingerly at first, they’d sensed there’s an issue. Circling at the top of the stairs readying for a round of lets bark here, it’s really echoey and it confuses us even more so we will keep barking.
I listen back to the kitchen, she’s hurrying up the call and she’s heard the pending failure of her husband’s efforts, putting plan B into action.
So it’s good to get outside, fresh air and walking is very much under rated.

NQ – Adam Alexander

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