Blanking people

Not listening


Sometimes when you do the school pick-up people are not as happy to see you as you are to see them. In an unlikely sequence of events on Tuesday I arrived on time for only son, only to hear his voice from behind the classroom door say in a slightly annoyed voice that he had football practice that day so I needed to go back home. I then went to pick up from secondary school to be met by daughters one and three in a grump because I had forgotten that I pick them up first on Tuesdays. Daughter two had no idea what was going on. The next day daughter one approached the car looking like thunder. “I can’t believe you totally blanked me,” she began. It emerged that she had woken up in the night with a bad migraine and had come to ask me what pills to take. Apparently I had mumbled something which sounded like ‘take the codeine’. I have no recollection of this. I was asleep and possibly dreaming about codeine.

Because I had “blanked” daughter one she had gone back to bed without taking anything and was dog tired by the end of the day and in no mood for teen yoga and talking about random acts of kindness she had encountered during the day. I asked her how many she had come across and she glowered at me and said none.

Things didn’t get much better later as only son did something to the laptop which caused it to close down for ever. I had to post an article on the remote desktop system. Unfortunately, chromebook cannot access the remote desktop so I have to use the laptop.

I tried my partner’s computer. It doesn’t have internet explorer which is also needed to access the remote desktop. So I was left with no option but to plead with daughter one to use her computer [which is very slow]. She was in the middle of some sort of philosophical essay so I had to wait. She handed the laptop over to me later on in the evening. “Be careful,” she warned.

I started typing. The whole keyboard changed to Chinese. “Yes, I have it set on Chinese,” said daughter one, who is studying Mandarin. She re-set it to English, but it kept defaulting to Mandarin. I could feel my blood pressure rising. If there is anything that can cause sudden eruptions of uncontrollable rage in me it is technology. Eventually I managed to load up the article and go to bed.

The only problem was that in the morning I realised the headline needed changing. Daughter one had left her computer on for me to email her her philosophy essay. Ah ha! I thought. I can get into the remote desktop when I am back from the school run because I won’t need the password. But in the 20 minutes between leaving and coming home the battery had died and on recharging it asked me for the password. I emailed daughter one at school. After special pleading she gave me the password. “I will be changing it as soon as I get home,” she stated.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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