August 22, 2013 by benmblackman
It was probably for the best that broadband in t’ village was down for 4 hours leading up to the ‘surrrrrrr-priiiiiiiiiiiiiise’ birthday meal. No chance to blog about it, no twitter – surely I couldn’t possibly spoil the surprise in that case. I mean, how was I to know she would read her husbands text messages?
The fact that she’s a total control freak and had vowed to find out, ‘exactly what he has planned’ a week before might have been a clue. The fact he briefed me, ‘Don’t talk to her, don’t engage in any conversation about birthdays ok? She’ll get it out of someone somehow, she’s so cunning like that’ made me assume he might go to the trouble of deleting his OWN text messages.
His text: ‘I’m organising a birthday meal on 20th. Can you come? It’s a surprise so don’t tell her.’ It wasn’t exactly Enigma in terms of encryption was it?
The lady in question is a lovely one by the way – she might read this so I’d better play this one nice – we’ll call her Mo (because it rhymes with Jo and that’s her name – shit, I’ve let the cat out of the bag there haven’t I? Don’t worry no-one knows her surname…yet).
To say she wasn’t a huge fan of this particular birthday in its’ build up would be an understatement. I was under strict instructions from her husband (again via text):
‘Don’t mention the age, under any circumstances. Promise?’
I’m sure he didn’t mean blogging about it though did he? Just in case, let’s just say some people allude to the fact that life begins at this particular age. (Not me, I’m only 34, as I reminded her on numerous occasions during the meal.)
On the day of the meal I texted the husband during working hours when I knew she wouldn’t be around (in case he left his phone un-attended – if only he had been more vigilant about this when she was).
‘What time is the thing?’ At least one of us was being careful. Loose lips n all that. Don’t worry, this ship won’t go down on my watch…
…Or so I thought. The reply returned, (not) encoded for safety: ‘If you get there for quarter to eight that would be great. We’ll arrive a little later, element of surprise and all that.’ Chance would be a fine thing!
Me: ‘Fab. How is she?’
Me: ‘Oh dear! She’ll soon cheer up when they bring that Birthday Hat out!’
Him: ‘Oh f…k that would not be good, more than my life’s worth.’
He actually self censored his swear word (I didn’t do that for blog sake). Maybe he knew other people would be reading it one day. Yes, in fact I think this was his subliminal way of telling me it would be fine to blog about this months later (or even days later…ok a day).
The birthday girl (well adult, closer to senior citizen now to be honest – too much?) duly arrived and looked surprisingly unsurprised. ‘Suuuuuuur-prrriiiiiiiiiiiise’ we all chanted as she told us she had noticed our cars out front so knew we were here. Except none of us had bought a car.
As we sat for the meal the husband pointed to Mrs B and cross examined her, ‘Did you tell her? Did you let it slip?’
‘No, no!’ Mrs B protested shocked. I haven’t said a word.
‘Well somebody must have let it out because she knew, didn’t you?’
I don’t really want to go into what happened next. It’s still too raw.
To break the social tension during the debate: Should one read messages on other peoples phones (especially leading up to significant birthdays) Discuss – I pondered casually whether anybody thought this would be a good time to ask for The Birthday Hat.
Mo seemed quite clear on her answer to this – she didn’t even self censor the F word! Twice.
But that’s another story!
*All characters appearing in this Blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.*
**Except for Mo Rickinson**