When Didsbury Son goes into overdrive about some technical point on Zelda or begins to explain to me the difference between R2D2 and a Ford Zephyr I smile, zone out, remember to sound interested and silently thank my own Didsbury Dad. Didsbury Son is a bright and typical 10 year old. Whatever is his latest must have/see/do is endlessly fascinating and he is an expert. It also seems to have a directly negative correlation with whatever interests me.
In my mind I zoom back to the late 70s and realise how much more patient my own Didsbury Dad was compared to me. Actually he may have been able to sleep with his eyes open and put his “ooh” and “yes” on autopilot but at the time I thought he genuinely cared about 2nd Division football, what happened at break and Tiswas.
I think I give away my lack of interest too easily.
I have become expert at looking for a pause (anything from 2-20 minutes) and diving in to distract him with a cheap gag, shiny object or task to complete. Then that fantastic middle class guilt kicks in and I feel bad for not being able to feign interest, or better still join in and care about Clone Wars. In my mind the West Didsbury Dads of Freyas and Archies are on their hands and knees on their polished wooden floors re-enacting the battle between Manequin Moonwalker and Shabba the Hut or singing along to Glee, whilst I offer Didsbury Son 50p to go to the shop and buy some sweets or ask him to finish his homework.
However, this guilt, indifference and avoidance does have its upside. On the rare occasion our interests collide, the homework is done and 5Live is quietened there is magic. Magic in a slouching, hands on snacks, eyes on TV, snuggled up in one corner of the couch kind of magic.
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