“She purred down the line…”
The opening chapter to a rather seedy love story or a response to a conversation with the Queen of England?
If you answered the former, you’d be wrong but then not many of us get to have a chat over the phone with Her Majesty, and if we did, I wonder how discreet we would be as to the content of such a conversation. And would our parents’ warning to be careful what we say rein in our gossip?
Of course being the UK Prime Minister does put you in a slightly different category to most of us when it comes to keeping a check on what you say; walls have ears or rather large quantities of high tech recording devices; so when David was having an informal chat with New York’s ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, he really should have stuck to his rule of never divulging details of conversations he has with royalty.
But did he let his guard down or was he doing what many parents disapprove – simply showing off and trying to impress the people around him flushed with a #GuessWhoIJustSpokeTo?
I wonder how David Cameron felt afterwards, and not just because of the embarrassment of being discovered but also the humiliation of having to apologise personally to HM…and I can’t help but wonder what David’s mother thought.
Old enough to know better
OK David is 47 years old, and should of course know better and you would like to think he has gone beyond the need to show off in front of people, but does a parent ever stop berating themselves for the behaviour or language used by their offspring?
I wondered if she cringed at the discomfort of knowing her son has said something offensive, verging on being a sexist remark and asking herself ‘where did I go wrong?’
We parents, we’ve all been there at some point; hearing about someone’s child who has done something wrong at school, something that required a dressing-down by the head-teacher, something that demanded an admission of guilt from the guilty party and then of course the apology that has to made to the person they upset.
It’s a sub-section of the Catalogue of Life most of us go through and it’s part and parcel of growing up; learning what is acceptable and what is not.
Of course from the child’s perspective it is horrendous at the time of discovery; when they thought they could get away with the misdemeanour, then having to admit to it and accepting there has to be punishment.
When you are standing outside the headmaster’s office waiting to be ticked off; your heart is beating rapidly, your palms sweating and your face red.
It’s over in the blink of an eye
But then that’s it, usually. That moment of telling-off is gone in the blink of an eye and the guilty party move onto their next lesson; hopefully remembering the importance of the one they’ve just been taught.
However, it’s a different story for the parents.
How many times have you heard about another child’s behaviour, seen the parent of said child only to look at them in disdain and in your holier-than-thou way say to friends “oh I can quite see where he/she gets it from…you can just tell can’t you…”
And it’s not just a brief moment of derision, it can go on for days as the life of the perpetrator’s parent is rewritten in the minds of every other parent.
Judge and Jury
And during this time of everyone acting as judge and jury, of course you would never allow your son/daughter to say/do whatever the crime was; your son/daughter knew better than that because of the way you have brought them up.
After a recent experience of being the guilty parent, other than the shame I suffered as the crime was described to me by the headmistress in a graphic detail, the thought of having to run the parent gauntlet of dishonour was even more alarming.
There would be no blink-of-an-eye recovery for me, but days of isolation at pick-up, whisperings and averted glances. And as for that coffee morning I’d been invited to…“there has been an unfortunate incident and I’ve had to cancel it…”
You may also find parents remove their own children from close proximity of your child lest they should catch the behaviour…not unlike head lice; whilst it is a more than likely pestilence their child will encounter, they would rather reduce the risk where possible.
You have become the playground pariah.
Of course eventually after time the black mark rubs off; after much volunteer work on the PTA, making copious amounts of cakes for every event and agreeing to help out with extra pick-ups and drop-offs, you are allowed back into the school playground community.
So even though your child and the children involved have blinked their eyes and forgotten all about the event, woe betide you if your son/daughter should so much as kick a ball over the playground fence!
As for David Cameron, I wonder if his heart is beating like the clappers as he stands outside the throne room and as for his mum…don’t worry, we’ve all been there.