A TRIO OF TALES
WHERE ARE YOU GOING, MUM? By Mary Watson
I am having a mid-week night out with the girls.
We have been friends since some of our children were in preschool around 18 years ago and try to catch up a few times a year. We have decided to try a new café in Manly and after numerous date changes we have locked in a Thursday night.
Being a good mummy I have left a meal ready to be popped in the oven by student daughter, half an hour before everyone comes back home from rugby training and work. I am under control and looking forward to the evening.
The only problem is the questions. They begin as soon as I emerge looking a tad more glamorous than I normally would on a weeknight.
Everyone’s radar suddenly picks up something is happening.
“Are you going out? Where are you going? Is dad going too? Who else is going?How are you getting there? What are we having for dinner?”
I patiently deal with the inquisition while making sure the kitchen is spotless. I have this “I want the kitchen left the way you found it” routine. Of course such a policy can backfire as people claim they found it messy, so short of taking a photo and posting it on the sink, I make a great show of letting everyone know I am leaving it spick and span.
I am being picked up by one of the mothers who has offered to drive, so have a few minutes before I escape. I give the bench a final wipe and outline my evening’s itinerary for the umpteenth time.
I continue to field off the barrage of questions as people drift in and out. I am happy to be going out so don’t mind going through the same litany.
Each person asks the same questions. I am tempted to improvise and create a new scenario as the minutes tick by, but that would result in chaos so I stick to the script.
I set up a chant “I am going out with Judy, Joy, Fiona and Sue. You know from the Preschool? Yes you do. We are going to a café we have been meaning to try, the one with the police station near by.”
Of course only the child who was in that particular group has a vague memory of whom I am talking about. Everyone else is in the dark.
I toy with installing a sign like those ones outside schools with all the letters. It could go near the fridge where everyone would see it.
“Congratulations to Mothers on organising a night out. Thursday 7pm. Manly. Dinner in oven.”
Finally I am hovering at the front door.
My mobile rings, it is my husband saying he is on his way home. I remind him I am going out.
“Oh that’s right I forgot. Have fun. Where are you going again? Who with?”
I launch into the spiel.
“I am going out with Judy Joy…”
I can see headlights in the driveway. I call for last questions, but everyone appears satisfied.
OK. Bye everyone. Love you. A small farewell party assemblies at the front door.
“Be good,” they say. “Have fun. Don’t be late.” I hear echoes of me.
I dash out to the waiting car as the last question is fired behind me.
“Will there be alcohol involved?”
I bloody well hope so.
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