Sometimes laughter is the only option short of weeping hysterically.
If my better half had only listened to my words of wisdom he would’ve driven straight to Tara and checked me in . I’m sure the shuddering, oxygen depriving laughter would have been cause enough for a strait jacket and a menu of multi-coloured pharmaceuticals. Instead he did as better halves often do and ignored me completely.
The cause of this meltdown? On Friday afternoon Small boy aged 9 informed me that he was not going home with me but with his friend instead. I capitulated on the understanding that the mother would call me to confirm and send me the address.
Later on Friday afternoon we sat in gridlocked traffic and a torrential downpour on the way to Small girl aged 5′s nativity play (in which she is the star of wonder, star of light). It was only as we pulled up to the school that we discovered the play was postponed due to the aforementioned torrential downpour.
Not to worry, because the school was on the way to the address provided by the school for Small boy aged 9′s friend. I popped in the Garmap app on my BB and off we went. My husband regards the Garmap as a challenge and persists in ignoring the directions utterly in an attempt to prove it wrong. Eventually we pulled up to a large block of flats somewhere in Bedfordview.
It was the wrong address. A Chinese family lived there, but not the right one.
I called the number also kindly provided by the school. It belonged to a nice Chinese gentleman, but not the right one.
I sat in catatonic silence.
“No worries!” chirped the father, like some Australian sheep farmer in the face of disaster. He called the aftercare administrator from the school who kindly provided another number. It was now dark and the rain was still pouring down.
It was the right number. The only thing is we lacked the necessary cultural skills to interpret the conversation. We seized on a single word, Redham, in much the same matter as a drowning man will seize a piece of driftwood in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
And so we sat, in the dark, in the rain, with two cellular devices both which returned a “this application is not currently available” message. There are times when a good old fashioned book of maps beats high tech electronics hands down.
This about when the giggling started.
We found Redham. Now what? The other directions included something that sounded like “Sourpa”.
“Look!” said my husband, “There’s a complex called Sovereign Park. It must be that.” I just giggled.
We drove up to the rather imposing front gate and were met by a large burly Afrikaans man. “Where are youse going?” he asked. I giggled in response.
Shooting a dirty look at me my husband explained we were looking for number 9, 19 or possible 90. “Ah,” ejaculated the guard, “Chinese, ja?” At this point I was a goner. I laughed until tears ran down my face, until my stomach hurt, until I could hardly draw breath. Eventually, we found our missing child, who informed us he was staying until Sunday.
Halfway home, I had composed myself and turned to my husband to say, “Please tell me there is enough petrol in the car to get us home? If we ran out of gas now I think I will need medical intervention.” Not to worry, I was told, there was plenty of petrol.
And then… THUNK! Thunkety, thunkety, thunk.
“What was that?” a startled husband asked.
“That,” replied a mother on the brink of total breakdown, “Was the sound of a flat tyre.”
And so it was.