I often wake up with mixed emotions about the day ahead. I’m not sure why. Mornings weren’t always like this and I used to be at my best before lunch.
Carpe diem was my usual morning battle cry. I was like a young Bertie Wooster, pumped on Highballs for Breakfast. Now, I start most days with my heart and my teacup half full.
‘I’ve lost my mojo,’ I say to my wife, as a chunk of marmalade falls from my multi-seed toast onto my PJs.
‘With Covid and our wedding anniversary coming up are you surprised?’ asks my wife.
I avoid a cock-up
Before I can agree, my subconscious applies an emergency hand brake and no words come out from my marmaladed mouth. I just chew on my toast slowly, silently.
That was a close shave, I think. If I had agreed with her, I would have been blaming my lost mojo on the length of our marriage which, effectively, means I would be blaming my wife for my woes. This would have been ablunder to rival the Charge of the Light Brigade or the Titanic playing chicken with an iceberg. Any Fule Kno That.
Serious chat is not allowed at British breakfasts
More importantly, I would have breached ancient British common law, which states ‘Serious Conversations are not allowed at breakfast, except in unusual circumstances, like war.’ A little voice mocks me. ‘Britain didn’t build an Empire by its men discussing their mojos over the eggs and B, you idiot.’
Thankfully, I have a tiny lawyer who lives inside my head. They work tirelessly to prevent me from incriminating myself and fouling things up with my ‘foot in mouth’ tendency. My inner lawyer advises me to reject the suggestion our anniversary is a cause for my depression. If I do not, my silence may be taken as an admission of guilt.
Words make history
‘Our marriage is one thing that keeps me positive,’ I find myself saying.
‘Can’t you keep that stuff for your bedroom?,’ says my son.
‘When mum still thought you were fun, she used to say you were half man, half Labrador puppy,’ says my daughter.
‘Now you’re more half man, half hobo,’ says my son.
‘Dad’s just trying to be sweet,’ says my wife.
‘It’s sad watching him struggle with something so alien,’ says my son. ‘Like a child on its first bike ride.’
Before my daughter can chip in, my wife reminds her I am driving with her to her teaching college this morning. As she is still a learner driver, she needs me to go with her.
‘Let’s all agree to let this conversation die. That way, no one will get offended or huffy and change their minds,’ she says.
I finish up a second piece of toast and turn to my daughter.
‘Time to go?’
‘Yup’ she says.
Is my anniversary a source of depression?
As I pass my wife on the way to the front door, she says she didn’t mean to imply our wedding anniversary might be a source of depression to me or her. Nor does she think our wedding anniversary is as deadly or oppressive as Covid.
‘It was my fault for even mentioning my mojo at breakfast. That was a breach of British breakfast tradition. Nothing emotional gets said until the kedgeree is cleared away.’
In the hall, my daughter is scrabbling around in the key box. The sound of angry key rattling fills the house. Her irritation is adding to the anxiety I already feel at having to drive with her in a car without a second set of brakes. This is why my mojo is gone.
‘I can’t find the bloody car keys,’ she says. ‘Who had them last?’
‘Nothing to do with me,’ I shout.
‘Nor me,’ echoes my son.
‘Oh for heaven’s sake! Do I have to do everything around here?’ asks my wife. It’s a question to which we all know the answer and therefore requires no reply.
This blog originally appeared in the Chiswick Calendar