Mum Constructs a Lie
An actual verbatim conversation with my Mum about a bunch of people I don’t know and why I have to pretend it’s my birthday
This is a phone call.
Me: Ainslie Paton
Mum: Oh you’re working.
Me: It’s a work day.
Mum: Well I didn’t know.
Me: It’s Wednesday. Like in the middle of the work week.
Mum: All right then. So Lynelle is coming to stay. And I need you to tell a small lie.
Me: Who is Lynelle?
Mum: Merv’s daughter.
Me: (I don’t ask who Merv is – because I’m working and this could take a long time). Ok.
Mum: Sage has to go to a wedding and Ena, she’s the little one, and Nola she’s the judo champ, they’ll all be here for a week.
Me: (I’ve never heard of any of these people and now they’re staying with my parents for a week). Who?
Mum: They’re Janet’s daughters.
Me: Who is Janet?
Mum: Merv’s daughter.
Me: (Because I’m stupid). Lynelle’s sister.
Mum: No, they’re the same person.
Me: Lynelle and Janet are the same person.
Mum: Did I call Janet, Lynelle earlier?
Me: You said Lynelle and bunch of other people who are her daughters are staying with you for a week.
Mum: For the wedding.
Me: (I do not ask whose wedding this is. I do not care.)
Mum: You know, the wedding.
Me: (She can’t see me headbutt the desk). No.
Mum: You never listen. The one we were invited to in Kempsey.
Me: (Absolutely no wiser). Right.
Mum: So it’s your birthday.
Me: It was, two months ago.
Mum: No on the same day as the wedding.
Me: In Kempsey.
Mum: Yes, how many weddings do you think there are?
Me: I’m scared to think about it.
Mum: We don’t want to go. I mean really we hardly know them. They were just being polite because of family.
Me: Unlike us.
Me: Moving on.
Mum: So if you happen to visit when Lynette is here.
Mum: Oh Janet whatever her name is.
Me: How can you have someone staying for a week whose name you don’t know?
Mum: I know her name. It’s Lynette.
Me: (Laughing) You said it was Janet.
Mum: (Laughing) It doesn’t matter what her name is.
Me: It will when you call her the wrong name.
Mum: I’ll mumble.
Me: Because the names Janet and Lynette sound so much alike. How did you ever remember the daughter’s names? They were like fancy.
Mum: Stop picking on me.
Me: So, what am I supposed to do?
Mum: Actually just don’t come that week.
Me: That sounds like the easiest thing.
Mum: Because you might forget to lie.
Me: I might. Dad always said I wasn’t smart enough to lie.
Mum: But if I call you and I say happy birthday don’t think I’ve gone off my rocker.
Me: (Path of least resistance). Ok. (Light bulb). Oh you’ve told them you can’t go to the wedding because it’s my birthday.
Me: Liar, liar pants on fire.
Mum: Shut up.
Me: Won’t it be odd if it’s my birthday but I don’t come around.
Mum: They’ll be in Kempsey.
Me: At the wedding.
Mum: (Exasperated) Yes.
Me: Couldn’t you just tell the truth. That it’s a long drive and you’ve already been up there once this year. Do you really care if they don’t understand?
Mum: Of course I care.
Me: You can’t remember if she’s Lynelle, Lynette or Janet.
Mum: I know what she looks like.
Me: That’s helpful. Otherwise a total stranger might come and expect to stay for the week.
Mum: I’m sorry I thought of this.
Me: That makes two of us.
Mum: So if you can’t lie for me, don’t come around.
Me: Excellent idea. And you won’t need to phone me and say happy birthday when it’s not.
Mum: Yes I will.
Me: Won’t they be in Kempsey?
Mum: What kind of a mother would I be if I didn’t ring you and arrange something for your birthday in advance?
Me: One that makes that kind of phone call when they’re not listening.
Mum: That’s true. I could just tell them I talked to you.
Me: Because that won’t make it any less confusing.
Mum: Stop being sarcastic. You’re just like your father. He’s confused too.
Me: So I don’t have to do anything except not visit.
Mum: That’s right. Funny, you’d probably like Janelle.
Me: (So laughing).