I’ve been staying with my Mother. It’s different back home – the quality of the sheets is better, and the toilet roll is replenished for you, and somewhere between having your laundry done and being told that you can’t eat upstairs, you forget entirely that you’re now an adult.
‘I’m going to a spinning class in the morning,’ my Mother announced the first evening of my stay. ‘Would you like to come?’ ‘Sure,’ I said, leaning across the table to help myself to more steak. ‘That sounds great.’
It didn’t sound great – not then, when I was more preoccupied with wondering what pudding would be, and certainly not at 6.15am the next morning, but I wanted my Mother to think of me as a go-getting, impressive sort-of-person, who liked nothing better than starting a 16-hour work shift with an early morning spinning class. ‘Wake up,’ my Mother announced, standing ominously close to my sleeping head. ‘We have to leave in 35 minutes.’ I stared at my Mother blankly. I imagine I would need 35 minutes to get ready for the Oscars.
To go to a spinning class at the crack of dawn I needed precisely 4 minutes: 2 to put in my contacts, and 2 to put on my trainers. (There is, when sitting on a stationary bike, absolutely no discernible benefit to changing out of pajamas and into workout clothes).
I wasn’t in the best of moods when we arrived at the gym. For a start, my Mother kept trying to talk to me. ‘Hello,’ the gym receptionist greeted us cheerfully. ‘A guest? Can you fill out this form please?’ I waited expectantly for my Mother to fill it out for me, standing lookingly moodily at gym kit I couldn’t afford, but hoped my Mother would offer to buy for me. ‘Darling?’ ‘Oh,’ I said, reaching for the pen. I was a little bit put out, but hid it by scowling blackly at my Mother, and scribbling down my information. ‘Do you need to go to the loo, before class?’ my Mother asked. ‘I’m not a child,’ I snapped. I did need the loo though, so I followed my Mother meekly, rolling my eyes behind her back like a grown-up.
‘Don’t forget to wash your hands,’ my Mother called from her cubicle, so I left the toilets without waiting for her. ‘Madam?’ the gym receptionist called as I passed, but being a mere slip of a thing, and certainly a good 10 years off being called anything but ‘girl’ or ‘miss’, I presumed she was talking to someone else and ignored her. ‘Madam?’ she repeated more insistently. ‘Me?’ ‘Yes, please. You need to fill out this section of the guest pass.’ ‘Madam?’ I thought to myself in horror. Living with my Mother certainly was different – the whole experience seems to have aged me immeasurably.