I was just sitting in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee when my phone rang. Looking at the screen, I saw it was my 17 year-old grand daughter, and I was filled with the sense of trepidation that I always have when she calls me unexpectedly.
She only ever calls if there is A: a disaster, or B: she wants something. True, there are times when she has to call for other mundane reasons such as hooking up with her mother, who never answers any of the phones she has. When the girl calls me for this reason, her voice has a tired and irritated tone to it, as if it is all my fault that her mother never hears the phone ringing from the bottom of her handbag and usually the call ends with her blaming me for not possessing the psychic powers needed to pinpoint the precise location of a human being to within 3 square yards of any town in the south west of England, then cutting me off in mid-sentence without formally ending the conversation.
So when I pressed the answer button this morning I first heard her voice half way through a sentence and she seemed to be gabbling hysterically, but I could not tell if it was through grief or laughter. I need not have worried, because she was only in the process of finishing a conversation with someone else in the street at the same time as beginning one with me.
She tends to have several conversations going on at once when she uses the telephone, but does not use a conferencing facility between hand-sets, preferring to have the one or more other people involved standing right next to her, or at least within shouting distance across the other side of a room or bar. This can be quite disconcerting if you don't know what's going on. Eventually she acknowledged the fact that I had answered her call, but I had to say Hello? a few times beforehand. Then she got down to the nitty-gritty, and it took me a few moments to understand her frantic monologue.
You - I hope - get the picture. After she had calmed down a bit and stopped telling me that she would pay me back if I bought it for her (who pays for their own Christmas presents?) I told her to buy it, then I would visit her later today and give her the money for it. She hung up, but not before telling me that I was the best grand dad in the world, etc. etc., then ran off and snatched the fur coat before anyone else did, as I went back to drinking coffee.
About 5 minutes later, the phone rang again, and she explained to me that she felt guilty in case I thought that she had only called to ask for the money for the jacket. I wracked my brains to think of another reason why she had called this morning. Finding none, told her there was no reason to feel guilty.
It is very sad to see H.I.'s debilitating addiction to fashion being passed down through 2 generations, but quite endearing also. It could be worse, they could have developed a thing about glass and candlesticks. Actually, no they couldn't.