the other night i had a series of missed calls from my parents during my dodgeball game, this might indicate an emergency situation, however i know better. they called again as i was driving home (in a bad mood, they always call when i'm in a bad mood- or so they seem to say), i told them i was en route to a burrito and to skype me in half an hour.
one burrito later, and dad didn't have much to say beyond "let me pass you over to your mum, she wants to talk to you". the conversation involved whether i had finished my xmas shopping, would i be finishing it this weekend, an update on the status of her xmas shopping, what they had eaten for breakfast; porridge with a little honey ("it has a low glycaemic index you know"), and what they were going to have for lunch (champagne brunch at the regency). nothing of any great import was discussed, but apparently they needed their weekly fix of my grumpy, two word responses.
these conversations appear to be going on daily, in small towns (or small arabian islands) near you. i emailed a friend of mine who had called while i was listening to the minutae of my parent's day, to apologize for not picking up and explained why. she responded that she gets daily calls from her mum reporting how the cats are doing, what they had for dinner, how her painting is coming along etc. i forwarded this email to my dad and told him to pass it on to mum as validation to their frustration with my lack of communication. he responded that at least they were not yet at the age of updating me on their bowel movments. it would seem that i have out-aged my parents; that very day i emailed a friend regarding my urgency to sign off as the coffee had kicked in, and if i didn't then something else would be kicking out. this is not the first bowel update i have alerted my friends too. karma; man, i cant wait to tell my children about these things.
despite making fun of these mundane ramblings, when i was in boarding school and having difficulty adjusting i appreciated the weekly tomes my father sent me arriving in the big blue 'par avion' envelopes. these things were so bulging you could have propped a door open with them. they were printed out on perforated computer paper and i could literally stand on a chair and watch the letter unfold and touch the floor, no double spacing or size 40 font either. the content was much the same as my current phone calls; watered the garden, wind was 20-25 north easterly so had some great windsurfing at the beach, went looking for a fridge to put all the beer and cokes in. nothing newsworthy, but these letters and phone calls close the gap of thousands of miles and 8 hour time differences. it is through the mundane and random that we maintain our connections; perhaps why i enjoy washing dishes and watching tv while on the phone with the aforementioned friend.