NO ONE has the gift of burying the lede quite like your parents when they ring you out of the blue. Here’s how they like to create unnecessary drama:
3pm on a Tuesday is an alarming time for a phone call when your parents know you’ll be at work, so it must be something really bad. Good thing they’ll reassure you when you answer with a long period of shuffling silence while they work out how to operate their mobile.
Movie trailer editors would envy the unparalleled levels of dread your dad can achieve with one simple phrase. What is the something that’s happened? A flood? A devastating break-in or mugging? Nope, the neighbours have tarmacked their front garden over for a new driveway.
Your mum rings to fill you in on the incredibly dramatic details of someone’s hospitalisation and/or death, without giving any names. Is it your gran? Your aunt? The dog? No, it’s a daytime TV celebrity she read about in the paper.
‘We’re at the hospital’
Visiting. Visiting the hospital. Visiting somebody you don’t know. A very crucial extra set of words they for some reason choose to withhold for a full five minutes while you create a hideous scenario in your mind about your brother being in a car crash.
‘Your sister’s not answering her phone’
Said with the kind of ominous energy that suggests she’s been missing for several days and they’re about to call the police. Not that she hasn’t replied to a text about what she wants for Christmas which was sent half an hour ago.
You weren’t panicking, but now you definitely are. They needed to reassure you, of course, because you were bound to be overcome by the news that they were thinking of changing the paint colour in your childhood bedroom. They’ve probably just taken half an hour off of the precious life they gave you with this terrifying phrase.