Thursday, 8 December 2016

Checking my phone in front of my son. But I really couldn't help it, honest! #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad when... feel bad for checking your phone, even though you can't avoid it.

I had to pick up Dad from a really routine thing at the hospital. They make sure that someone comes to pick them up so that they get home safely.

It was Half-Term, what a great chance to take my 7 year-old to London!

He'd get to see Grandad, who's always funny when he's drunk on anaesthetic.

(I love piling him into a cab in that state, explaining to the driver that it's not booze. It'd be great to have my boy there too.
Like a lads' day out.
A beano, as Dad would call it).
What could possibly go wrong.

We hit the South Bank on the first off-peak train, ready to get the call from the hospital. And I'm showing him all the places where Daddy works really hard every day, writing his scenes that are shared online with an eager international audience forever.

Trouble is, he is really good at spotting logos.

"Is that the place we had noodles once?"
What, Wagamama?
"Oooh, I LOVE Wagamama."
You've had it, like, once.
"I REALLY want to eat THERE!"
But... can't we get some cheese and some bread... from the supermarket.
And eat it in the park?
"Oooh, Daddy. I REALLY want a Wagamama's."

But it's 11 o'clock.
And it's really pricey.
(I can't remember if I said that last bit out loud).

"Oooooh. Pleeeeeeeeeease."

I'm torn.
I've got my boy. And I know my days with him are finite.
And we won't get times like this again, ever.

But, I've also got my mortgage. And I know our cash is finite.
And I don't want to end up bankrupt, ever.

So we go in.
Maybe we could walk to the hospital to claw back a couple of quid, if we eat now.

I order the noodle dish he LOVES. And a side dish of dumplings for me.
(A side dish that would pay for an entire meal lower down the High Street chain).

The place is empty.
It's so early, the staff are having their morning briefing right next to us and we get a whole bench for 10 to ourselves.

This is living.

I'll just check the hospital haven't called and--

I miss something.

A Tattooed Waitress In Shorts is bearing down on me.
"I was just checking... to see if your CHILD is okay..."

Is she saying it pointedly, glaring at the phone in my hand?

"Oh, okay th--" but she's already stomping off.

Oh... She thinks I'm one of THOSE parents.
Who aren't in the moment - who look at their phones more than their kids.

I don't know why this is bugging me so much - that I've been busted for a crime I did not commit (when I've got so much else to be busted for.)

And now, ironically, I'm really not enjoying the rest of this experience, because I'm trying to overly-show the Tattooed Waitress In Shorts that I'm COMPLETELY with my boy and giving him all the attention he needs.

And then Dad calls. He's due out and really looking forward to leaving now, and we're at least 40 minutes away from him.

We've got to ditch these steep noodles.
So I'm wolfing them down now because I really don't want them to get wasted.

And yeah.
That's when I'm totally clocked again by the Tattooed Waitress In Shorts.

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