I had lunch with my Father yesterday. He spent a great deal of time insisting that I look at the ‘special menu’. ‘Everything that’s on the special menu is here, on the normal menu, under the heading ‘specials’, I explained helpfully. ‘No, darling,’ My Father insisted forcefully. ‘This menu will be much better. Choose from this menu.’ I moved slightly to avoid the menu being brandished in my face. My Father, naturally, is somewhat older than me. I know this because of science, but also because:
1. He believes in ‘Specials’. He proudly shows me endless supplies of things that are ‘reduced’ or ‘3 for 2’.
He is delighted when Tesco ‘slashes’ wine prices. It is only his generation who do not believe that all special offers are in place to get rid of things needlessly ordered by an unchecked intern.
2. He has only just set up his own, individual email account. For years, personal emails were sent from an account set up by my little sister. Having email@example.com reminding you to apply in good time for your student loan was highly disconcerting. Possibly even more so for my little sister, who is actually called Emma Karsten.
3. He has told me the same story 4 times this week.
When challenged, he stares at me in confusion, and then asks for proof. ‘You want me to prove that you have already told me this story?’ I asked, bewildered. ‘Yes,’ He replied. ‘Um,’ I began. ‘Perhaps when we had lunch yesterday?’ ‘Hmm,’ My Father mused. ‘No, I don’t think so.’ ‘But I know how this story ends,’ I explain. ‘Yes, but that isn’t the point,’ My Father replies. ‘Oh,’ I said.
4. He thinks serving staff want to talk to him. They don’t. This is not a slight on my Father. They don’t want to talk to anyone. They want their shift to pass as quickly and uneventfully as possible, so they can rush home and learn their lines for their audition tomorrow. They begrudge the time they have to stop ‘method acting’ and take your order. They cannot possibly be expected to also listen to your opinions on the changing landscape of neighbourhood restaurants. Do you not know who they are?