In light of the fact that my world had been rocked off its axis - and not in a good way - at the malicious thievery of Wanda, The Incubator felt The Daughter and I needed a little cheering up. This after she'd spent the day hyperventilating at my imminent poverty.
The Incubator: Car repayments?!? Have you thought about that?
The Pant: You know I didn't choose to have my car stolen, Mom?
TI: I wonder. You're just going to have to shave off all areas of your budget.
TP: I guess that means less clothes shopping.
TI: Damn bloody right. Less clothes shopping. Less food shopping. Less everything shopping.
TP: Less food shopping? How so? You know I only cook for two weeks of the month.
TI: Well. Less lunch then.
TP: Are you suggesting I give up the midday meal?
TI: It's a start.
TP: I'm not giving up lunch, Mom.
TI: Well, enough of this fancy cooking then.
TP: Fancy cooking? Like spaghetti bolog-
TI: Stews. With chuck. Each meal under twenty.
TP: (incredulous) Chuck?
TI: And enough of this "I only drink fresh full cream milk in my tea" bullshit.
TP: I do only drink full cream mi-
TI: It's powdered milk for you, girlie.
I knew better than to argue. The Incubator and I have, as far as my personal relationships go, shared a pretty damn long one. As a result of this, I know her fairly well. And it is thus that I knew that a mood of this nature only has a life-span of exactly one day.
So, by the Saturday, the suggestion was that we'd do a family outing at The Royal Show. For those of you who've had the misfortune of growing up in Pietermaritzburg, you'll know that the city's annual calendar has one highlight (and one highlight only): The Royal Show.
The Daughter, The Father, The Incubator and I hopped in her Silver Bullet - scarved and gloved and Ugg booted up - and made our way to this gaudy festival of lights and poorly amplified (but super effing loud) doef-doef music. Our destination: The Fun Fair.
The Daughter is a bit of a daredevil. Likes speed. Wants to go on the biggest, flashiest, scariest rides. While I'm more of a carousel person, she's all about The Breakdancer, The Tornado and The Free Faller. Incidentally, it was The Tornado that she insisted on riding first.
Picture, if you will, a round cage. Its "riders" stand therein, with their backs against the cage wall. The cage then spins so fast that the riders are pushed outwards, against the cage wall by some kind of centrifugal force. And then the cage tilts, while spinning, at 45 degrees.
"Don't worry, I'll take her," I told The Parental Unit as I ushered The Daughter onto The Cotch Vessel. "I don't think you guys would enjoy this bad dog."
They're in the habit of waiting until a ride is at bursting capacity before starting it, are those ride operators. We were chained in, chatting in eager excitement when The Father bounded up the ride steps to take his place beside us.
The Father: Chain me in, Pant. The catch on this one is broken.
The Daughter: Oooooo Crannpa! Yipeeeee!
(The man is certainly not renowned for his stomach of steely constitution.)
The Pant: Dad, I'm not sure this is such a great idea.
The Father: Stop being such a killjoy, Pant. Your old dad used to be somewhat of an adrenalin junkie in his day. This ride? Piece of old cake.
TP: Um. With respect, Dad, I daresay that today, as in this very day, is no longer your day.
TF: Watch yourself, Pant. I may have grey hair in a Richard Geere distinguished kind of way, but I'm not too old to go on a silly little fairground ride with my granddaughter.
TP: But, Dad, it's not even my day anymore. It's a bit more The Daughter's day than it is anyone else's.
TF: I'm going on this ride, okay? No 'ifs', no 'buts'. Believe it. Because it's true.
I found said ride bloody fucking awful. The spinning and the nausea was worse than any post-jol one-leg-on-the-floor-and-a-hand-on-the-wall experience I can remember.
Apparently, The Father's adrenalin days are over too. As the ride ended:
TF: Get me (mock charge) out of this fucking ride immediately!
I left The Daughter chained up while I tried to free The Father (I wasn't having her spew-drenched - least of all in that icy weather). He was a time bomb of chunder, and every attempt to unchain him was met with a mock charge. I envisaged myself being soaked in second hand lunch.
After finally undoing the chain, and setting the old boy loose, he was held up by children - dawdling with excited discussions regarding their flight of fantasy. He responded to their slow movements with, "Hurry the fuck up you little shit faced pizza heads. Before I let (mock charge) rip on all of you."
The youths parted like the proverbial red sea with such alacrity that their movements caused a vacuum that whooshed The Father to the safety of a wheelie bin. Upon which he leant and performed a classy act of counter-peristalsis.
I'm waiting for the newspaper headline: City Lawyer Chunders After Tornado.
Hey, Dad. How does that saying go? Is it 'I told you so'?