My Black Box Is Beige

My first Open Home ‘Invasion’ was on Saturday afternoon and I didn’t like it. Not one teeny, tiny bit. Over 100 people traipsed through my home … scrutinizing it’s features and shortcomings and passing judgement accordingly. I know I should be thrilled with this turnout but it feels confronting; as though my private, ‘safe’ space has been violated. Not that I’ve got anything to hide. Prospective ‘Nosey Parkers’ would be decidedly disappointed with the contents of my bedside drawer or bathroom vanity. The clothes dryer however is another story altogether and affords the perfect hiding place for all manner of illicit materials … from the dogs bowls to dirty laundry and all the real towels (which have been replaced by the Stepford display towels for the inspection) … a veritable goldmine of open house contraband.

I was reminded of exactly how beige my life is recently when I re-watched a fabulous movie called ‘Perfect Strangers.’ The basic gist (without spoiling it) is that a group of long-time friends have a dinner party and decide to play a ‘game’ that requires each of them to put their mobile phones on the table (face up) and share every call or text message they receive. What unfolds divulges a beguiling string of scandalous, sad, salacious and sordid secrets, that reveals that they don’t know each other nearly as well as they thought they did.

Apparently, our mobile phones have become the ‘black boxes’ for our lives … a repository containing all manner of secrets. After workshopping this concept with some friends, I concluded that I would happily play this game (them … not so much). Apparently I have the worlds most boring black box … in fact I think mine could easily be called a beige box it’s that dull. Most of my messages take the form of a question that either goes entirely unanswered or elicits a response in the form of an indecipherable emoji or an acronym (that I then have to google to ascertain its meaning)

For example:

Me: Hi Bud … How was your day? What time will you be home?

Son: IDK (translation : I don’t know)

Me: OK … Well dinner will be ready in an hour

Son: WFD (what’s for dinner?)

Me: Chicken soup

Son: smouldering poop emoji (probs not a good sign)

OR …

Me: Hi bud … Are you going to the library after school?

Son: Nah … CBF (No … I can’t be “bothered”)

Me: Oh right … don’t you have an assignment due tomorrow?

Son: Yep AG TTYL (yep … all good … talk to you later)

(radio silence)

The only time I get more than acronyms or one word responses is when either kid wants something and that is always immediately apparent because the phone “pings” at least 5 or 6 times in quick succession. Apparently writing out an entire message and pressing send at the end is so 2005. The current protocol involves typing a few lines of copy … then pressing send. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you were mid sentence. You just take up where you left off in the next message and press send again … and so it goes until the entire message has been communicated. When I first received this series of urgent “pings” I was certain that an emergency was unfolding that required my immediate attention. Nope … He’d just “finished training early” … ping …. “On way to Char Grills for food” …. Ping …. “I’m out of money” …. Ping …. “Can you transfer some please” … Ping …. “I’ll be home later” …. Ping … “TTYL” …. Ping … etc etc

The same concept of open and full disclosure cannot be said for either of my kids phones which they protect like they contain the nuclear launch code. They surreptitiously angle their respective black boxes away from me whenever I dare breach the enemy exclusion zone. But no need for concern, apparently every one of the hundreds of messages that they receive each day is either related to rowing training or a group assignment … phew. (insert eye roll emoji standing in the ‘last shower’) … and if that emoji doesn’t exist then it totally should.

Anyway, I’m off to wage war with the never-ending flow of jacaranda flowers that are conveniently raining down on every external surface of my house, in preparation for the next Open Home Invasion this week … that will make for such a saucy text message #purplenotbeige

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