I spend quite a lot of time with my family, so they tend to get a fairly big mention in this column. Another reason I write about my family, as opposed to my workmates for example, is that my family won’t beat me up in the work car park on Monday afternoons if they’re upset by something I write about them. Possibly…
So, desperately needing column material, I said to Long Suffering Wife, “Come on, let’s go shopping.” Now, I’d rather hack off my feet with a cold chisel than voluntarily visit shops, but I was hoping to rehash the hoary old column chestnut of women in a shopping frenzy. Long Suffering Wife appeared completely stunned by my suggestion, yet managed to stammer, “No thanks, I’d rather stay home.”
Astonished in turn by her answer, I reeled from the room on a mission for material. “Aha!” I cried, bursting into my daughter’s room, but the column I’d planned around how messy kid’s rooms are today, compared to the rooms’ of my (perfect) generation, simply vanished. Her room was so clean that I could see floor tiles which hadn’t seen daylight in years! At this point the penny dropped. “Alright, family meeting!” I shouted, frogmarching everyone into the lounge-room, “What’s going on round here?!”
“Nothing,” they replied.
“Nothing, my backside! Why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?”
“We’re not here to provide you with column fodder,” said Long Suffering Wife.
“I’m shocked at the very suggestion!” I huffed; a lie so bold that my nose instantly grew a foot longer. “Look, this isn’t natural. Just be yourselves,” I pleaded.
“And do you think it’s natural to broadcast our every move to the people of Gladstone?”
At this point I retreated to the shed for a bit of think. Now, it might have looked like I was sulking, but I wasn’t, I was thinking. In fact, I was thinking, ‘Maybe it’s time to find some new targets.’ This is probably why my neighbours have abruptly packed up and moved. Hopefully the new neighbours will have interesting lives, and won’t be as touchy about me gawping at them through the shrubbery and taking notes.