Monday, 5 August 2013

Stuff my mum says...

My mum is very elderly now and, although her memory is failing, she is still as sharp as a tack in other respects.  Never try and get the better of her where money is concerned!

However, one thing that has always mystified her is technology of any sort.  Take her to an ATM and she talks herself through the whole experience, including bellowing her PIN number out loud and is then inclined to turn to the crowd patiently queuing behind us to let them know exactly why she has chosen that chain of numbers and why they are so memorable and throwing in information about her current account balance for good measure (true story). 

Try and answer a question such as "so what exactly IS the internet?" in words comprehensible to someone who has absolutely no concept of what a computer can do.  Equally tricky is "so what is a website?"  I tried explaining the internet as a giant encyclopaedia - it was the nearest analogy I could come up with at short notice but it kind of fell down when she asked how you could use an encyclopaedia to do your shopping. (I told you she was sharp).

Along with venerable age and a failing memory comes the disappearance of social filters.  She speaks as she finds.  Always. Loudly.  She has finally accepted that she has to go round the supermarket in a wheelchair.  She actually rather likes it because she no longer has to concentrate on wheeling a trolley and staying upright so she can eye up good looking men instead.  Really.

Unfortunately, eyeing up is not all she does.  She feels the need to comment on abso-bloody-lutely everyone and is relentlessly and unapologetically un-politically correct.  Consequently comments like "Phwoar - look at him - what a hunk!" and "Look at the size of her bottom!" are torrential and I have had to affect selective deafness and an innocent face.  Once I thought I could get away with an apologetic shrug and silently mouthing "Alzheimer's, poor old thing" at an affronted shopper.  After all, I was behind her pushing the wheelchair - she couldn't see or hear me, could she?   She turned on me instantly.  "I DO BLOODY NOT HAVE BLOODY ALZHEIMER'S" she roared.  "CHEEKY COW!"  And that was the last time I tried that trick.

Along with the falling away of social filters comes the fruity language.  I have written about this before here and, frankly, things haven't improved much.  Over lunch today she mused about her home situation.

Mum:  You know I have those carers in every day?
Me: Yes - why?  Is there a problem?
Mum:  No - they're very nice girls.  But every so often I just want to say "Oh just piss off!"

She still reads a broadsheet newspaper every day.  She maintains an incisive interest in the world around her.  Although popular culture confuses her, she is still keen to understand it.  Which is probably why she asked me recently "Darling - what exactly is a blow job?"

Reader - I told her....