My mother has been referred to by many people the occasional person as eccentric. She becomes more so as she gets older. A couple of years ago, pre-Women’s Day – a public holiday here on the tip of Africa, in remembrance of the Women’s Day March in the 1950’s to protest the Pass Laws – she called me at home:
Mother: Hello love. Can you do me a favour? Are you on Facebook?
Briony: Sure. I’m not at the moment, but I will be tomorrow. What do you need?
Mother: I want you to enter a competition for me. For Women’s Day. They’ve given a recipe for a cocktail and you have to give a name to it.
Briony: Okay, what name have you given it?
Mother: Vodka Vagina.
Briony: (Spluttering) You’re not serious, surely?
Mother: I think it’s a brilliant name for a cocktail! Have you seen the names they give them?
Briony: Yes. What’s the prize?
Mother: VIP tickets for the winner and three friends to Club TrendyYoungThings in Camps Bay.
Briony: But, mum, you’ll hate it there. It’s for Trendy Young Things. And it’s a night club. I don’t think you and three of your 70-something year old friends will really enjoy it.
Mother: Oh no, when I win, I’ll give you the tickets (her voice filled with pride and charity.)
Briony: Urm, thanks, but three of my 30/40-something year old friends and I are not really Trendy Young Things either!
Mother: Oh, well then I’ll give it to the Trendy Young Things next door.
So, being a dutiful daughter, I went into Stalkbook the next morning and found (thankfully) the e-mail address needed to enter the competition (for a moment I thought I’d have to enter as me, on Facebook), and she entered.
A while later, she phoned me to say that she had received a curt e-mail back from the woman running the competition to say that she found her entry offensive! My mother wrote back to say she was sorry she found it offensive but she thought it very apt and, although she’s never drunk cocktails in her 70-something years on this earth, she has read some cocktail menus in her life, and thought her suggestion was rather tame! You’ve got to give it to her, she has a point.
It’s hard to bring up parents correctly, isn’t it?