It was my birthday on Sunday, so instead of a blog, I decided to throw caution to the wind by contacting Oprah (and others) to see if she would be so kind as to read and repost my ramblings. Clearly, she was busy because she’s not got back to me yet, therefore I can’t tell you how we’ve become best friends. Although my pre-birthday family meal is a far cry from the glitz and glam of all things Hollywood, it’s probably more entertaining, and it’s the perfect introduction to my crazy clan.
It all started on Saturday afternoon when I went to collect my brother, Kenneth. When he saw the car pull up, he ran outside as quick as his legs could carry him and immediately began pointing in the direction of the exit. You see, my brother is severely autistic, and he has learnt to associate my car with food because he knows I’ll either be taking him out for a meal or to our parents’ house for tea. The way to his heart is most definitely through his stomach.
We travelled down the bypass listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack because I’m sick of hearing the Spice Girls which is, not so secretly, Kenneth’s guilty pleasure. The distraction of music helps curb his repetitiveness of grabbing whoever’s arm is nearest to ask where he’s going. Whilst I totally understand and appreciate that this is simply part of his autistic nature which is only extenuated by the fact that he’s non-verbal, sometimes it gets a tad irritating, especially when the “I’m doing this to wind you up” smirk appears on his face.
The next stop was to collect our nan (Anan) who has recently given up driving due to lack of necessity and lack of marbles. Despite ringing her several times prior to our arrival, it had slipped her mind we were coming. Regardless, she was delighted to see us and spent the last leg of the journey asking how our week had been with intermittent comments on how people don’t know how to drive these days.
We’d made it to the destination and our eardrums had recovered from the shrill shrieks of my mum, Karen, telling George, the Great Dane, to “get out the bloody kitchen”. I opened my homemade gifts of Gran’s tomato soup, and eggs, courtesy of the hens. Mum likes to think she has something in common with the Queen because neither one of them carry or deal with money. Hence the reason for the obscure, yet thoughtful presents.
We set off in two different directions to the pub. Kenneth, as per his routine, took Mum via what is locally known as Dog Poo Alley, where he decided it would be a great idea to push her into a patch of nettles, as per his wicked sense of humour. Anan and I took the less messy route and debated whether the moon was waxing or waning.
Thanks to the new Landlady, Kenneth had free wifi so he could watch the Teletubbies in Japanese alongside various Disney trailers. I looked longingly at the steak board in the knowledge that Dad would be thoroughly disappointed if I gave in to my expensive taste whilst he was working, and therefore not able to enjoy such luxuries. Anan chose from the menu then instantly forgot what she’d picked. Mum drank wine.
Before the food had made it to the table, Kenneth had had enough. Instead of calmly and quietly taking himself outside, he let everyone know how disgruntled he was. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the man on the waxing moon who may have heard the commotion. Kenneth was not being murdered, he was simply annoyed that his burger was taking too long to cook.
Our meals were brought out by flustered waiters who I think would have done anything to make the noise stop. However, as soon as they put them on the table, Kenneth chose to leave the restaurant and take the screaming abdabs with him. Mum followed behind with her wine in her hand. In the momentary silence, Anan kindly offered to take her grandson home several times, but our somewhat circular conversation was put to a halt by Mum and Kenneth re-entering. The foghorn sound effects had subsided a little, but Kenneth still wasn’t satisfied with the unsubstantial amount of chips on his plate, so he took the liberty of stealing some from Mum in the hope that amidst her red wine haze, his behaviour would go unnoticed.
The case of the missing chips soon became irrelevant when Anan unwittingly rammed my chair sideways into the table which sent everything flying and somehow ran her foot over in the process. Slightly disorientated, I sat there wondering how she’d managed to turn my chair on and spin me around all whilst chopping up my chicken, so I didn’t choke. Then I realised that by now I should have learnt to expect the unexpected.
After we’d reassembled the table and ourselves, Anan exclaimed with a lovable joy that I admire greatly, “Thank you for coming to my birthday party. It’s been very different”.