Mum: I’ll bring Chloe home when they’ve finished playing.
Chrissie: Oh no, no. Don’t worry about it- I’ll pick her up.
Mum: You can’t do that! You brought her down; I’ll bring her home.
Chrissie: Honestly, it’s no trouble.
Mum: Awh, are you sure? (Chastises self) No, no, no, I’ll bring her…
As a child, I was often witness to the Wimbledon-esque barrage of platitudes which seem intrinsic to adulthood. I would shake my head despairingly as my mother battled with friends’ parents over travel arrangements and money. It seemed all wrong; each was desperately grappling for the short straw: what are you doing Mother?! She’s offering you a tenner, you massive idiot! Take it! Take it and run!
And so, with crossed arms and a self-assured feeling of superiority, I vowed never to become the confused creatures before me.
A decade on and I am fast becoming one of the worst culprits. I forever ‘don’t mind’ and, with a passivity of which the parents would be proud, I seek to know the preferences of others before expressing my own (which unerringly reaffirm theirs’.)
Conversing with similarly-stunted humans can be tricky. As the hours tick by, with no conclusion to the discussion yet met, nonchalant smiles battle against a tirade of thoughts: Just say it you bastard! I know you want to go and see Avengers so why don’t you just fucking say it? Never once do you think to mention that actually Snow White and the Huntsman looks quite good and, anyway, you’ve heard Chris Hemsworth is fitter than Robert Downey Jr.
What is there to fear? It most certainly isn’t challenge; anything is better than the endless smiling silence, saturated with unspoken frustration. Instead, there is a fear that your equally-inhibited friend will now be subjected to two hours of Chris Hemsworth whilst she was really hoping for Robert Downey Jr. Whilst it may seem admirable to put others before oneself, the self-sacrifice of the Appeaser is, in fact, annoying, especially when the cinema is now shut and you still haven’t decided what film to see.
Thus I reiterate the vow of my youth: you shall never catch me groveling to pay for my child’s ice cream in the face of a competitive investor.