I got home early enough tonight that I probably could’ve spared the time to call my parents. Notice the past and conditional tense in that sentence? Yeah, me too. I did consider it, truthfully. It’s been a little while since I’ve muttered more than a few scant words to them, asking for my mother’s date of birth to make her my beneficiary in the case of my sudden demise. Fun fluffy family conversation like that, y’know? Social media has stripped me of any excuse to be a stranger. Skype means we can be face to face almost instantly, yet here I am busting a gut to try and finish writing so I can almost cobble together 6 hours of sleep before work. Sorry Mum and Dad. I know you spent years of effort, emotional toil, patience and labour raising me, but I was too busy faffing around on the interwebs to lift my phone. My new phone. It’s even lighter than the old one, making any excuse I can muster increasingly feeble. You’re just gonna have to wait until the next time I deign to grace your screen with my countenance. Am I making a convincing argument in favour of contraception yet? If you didn’t have me, you wouldn’t be spending your nights waiting up, wondering when I’ll call.
Hah, fat chance. My parents are fully realised people who are significantly cooler than I’m likely ever to be. As if they’re losing sleep over not having heard my voice. They know I’ll get in touch eventually. Their work with me is done and as long as these entries keep coming up on the daily, they know I’m not dead. The system works. They’re probably out having a nice meal somewhere, or spending time with their grandchild (who’s thankfully taken the pressure off the other brothers) and her parents. It’s summer, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d loaded up steaks, sausages, capsicum and asparagus on the barbecue, sitting back with a great bottle of wine on the deck, surveying their harbour views. I’m the least of their concerns.
It’s weird when you start viewing your parents as entities rather than roles. My parents grew up through the 70s. There’s no way they haven’t had a cooler life than I, doing all sorts of amazing things I’ll only ever dream of. It’d be trite for me to wank on about how they’d experienced significant turning points within society as if I hadn’t and won’t do the same, but it’s such a different experience. World events are delivered to use as soundbites and it seems the instant nature of news travelling via Twitterwire has dampened the resonance of events. Things happen and they’re shocking until the next massive earthshaking occurrence. Twitter can’t shut up about The Interview and North Korea tonight, but in a week’s time will they even remember the existence of the film they were never gonna see? When things happened in the world of my parents, the crater of their impact must’ve been so much larger, louder. When someone died, it must’ve cracked the sky like thunder. Now people get a 5 hour eulogy on Twitter before our canine attention span finds some new shiny toy to slobber over.
I can only imagine an adult life in which bold strides were made when trying new things. Restaurants lived or died without Yelp reviews, products had no star ratings attached. Movies were still enough of a spectacle that even The Interview would’ve been revered as a comedic masterpiece. Then again, martyrdom will probably Kurt Cobain the film into legendary status. If North Korea had threatened total annihilation back then, you can bet your sweet cheeks that threat would have some magnitude. Then again, if the film came out back then, this kerfuffle wouldn’t have happened. There’s no way North Korea would know that the movie even existed, let alone have hacked into anything Sony. It’s a crime of our time that would have no relevance in their days.
Well now I want to call my parents and ask them all about it. If only I’d spared the time to give them a call. I got home early enough.