Conversations with Family Members (and the Bits In Between).
The mother (i)
My mother calls while I’m in the middle of editing a piece that’s to run in a tabloid.
I pick up, because she’ll keep calling until I do.
‘Hey, Mam. I’m kind of busy.’
‘I know, you’re always busy, can you just do something for me for a sec?’
‘I can’t get into the Facebook.’
‘Why can’t you get into your Facebook?’
‘It’s asking for my password. What’s my password?’
‘I don’t know; it’s your password.’
‘But, is it my email?’
‘Is what your email?’
‘Is my password my email?’
‘Is it your email address?’
‘Is what my email address?’
Frustrated deep breath and closing of eyes.
‘Are you asking me if the password for your Facebook is your email address?’
‘No, is the password for the Facebook the one I use for the email?’
‘I don’t know, Ma. I told you to write down all your passwords in the notepad I gave you after I helped you set them up.’
‘Well, where’s the notepad?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘It says,’ she begins again. ‘Beside the box for the password it says. . . email or phone. If I press phone will that put me through to a helpline?’
‘No, Mam, that’s your username.’
‘What’s my username?’
‘Your email address or phone number.’
Audible exhale on my part.
‘Can you ring Aaron? I really need to get this done and sent before ten.’
‘Okay. Are you working on something?’
‘Is it good?’
‘I think so.’
‘What’s it about?’
‘How the sexuality of men can be shaped by the toys they had as kids.’
‘Oh. . . That sounds interesting. Will that be in the paper?’
‘Yes, I’ll pick up the paper for you.’
‘Your dad used to play with your granny’s clothes when he was a boy. It makes sense, I suppose.’
‘Mam, I didn’t need to hear that.’
‘And you used to play with Barbie with Amy across the road.’
‘No, I didn’t.’
‘You did, and your brother played with anything he could get his hands on.’
Smile on my part and think about that one.
‘Mam, I really have to get this done-’
‘Can you try blog-in on your computer?’
‘Yeah, can you get in to the Facebook for me on your computer?’
‘Mam, I can’t get into your Facebook if I don’t have the password. Did you click on forgot account? I told you this before.’
‘It’s below the box where you enter your password.’
‘But I don’t know my password.’
‘Oh, you’re always so impatient, I’m only asking!’
The brother (i)
My brother calls an hour later as I put the final touches on the article.
‘Hey bro, I’m in the middle of-’
‘Did you tell Ma to call me about her Facebook account?’
The piece I’m editing is something of a throwaway article on a recent study about how men’s sex lives are fundamentally shaped by their childhood toys – Stretch Armstrong and cable ties featured prominently from ages six through eleven so I’m not entirely sure what that would indicate for me, but anyway, I tell myself it’s okay that I’m writing a frivolous article because these additional jobs pay for the additional expenses, i.e. fun things like drinking (fun apart from the hangover) and films (fun apart from the bad ones and the cost of a cinema ticket and food) and gym (fun apart from the big men who look at themselves in the mirror psychotically, and who release audible exhales and loud groans similar to those of a Game of Thrones character being disembowelled, and with whom I’m afraid to make eye contact).