Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Conversation Stopper

When Mum died I was at middle school, where I would stay until I was 11.
I spent two years surrounded by teachers and pupils who knew that my mum had died.

High school and beyond was different. As social circles grew and changed there would inevitably be the 'getting to know you questions' ...

Do you have any pets?
Yes we have a dog

Where do you live?
Just down the road in Blahville

What do your parents do?
Well, my Dad is an interior designer and my Mum is dead

... followed by an awkward silence.

Just at the point the question relating to Mum was asked I would assume the position of 'rabbit caught in the headlights', my palms would become sweaty and I'd have the sudden urge to run.

I always felt deep embarrassment. not because my Mum had died but because it was so uncomfortable for me and the other person. They would say they were sorry and I wouldn't know what to say.

As I got older it was easier to answer the questions in a jokey manner or tell people that they had nothing to be sorry for and move on to something else.

I wonder if this is why I deal with most serious situations in a panicked slapstick humour state!?