I had a strange parental experience when I had to ferry Shannon and her son, Jordan, to look around a special school some distance away. Our grand trip out began when Shannon emerged from her flat sporting a massive pair of sunglasses with heart-shaped lenses and a pink top that exposed more skin than I would prefer to be close to. She then conducted the following conversation in duplicate as Jordan failed to hear first-time anything his mum said.
"Look, Jor, a lorry," said Shannon.
"Wha'?" he replied.
She pressed on. "Jor, there's no animals in them fields."
"Them fields. No animals in 'em."
"E's 'elpin me with me garden while 'e's off in't yer, Jor."
"I said yer a right good gardener."
Jordan finally joined the conversation, when, spying the driver of a black car travelling in the opposite direction to us announced: "That were me dad." "Were it, darl?" Shannon responded, with no apparent interest in whether it actually was. Meanwhile, I drove on.
We were shown around the school by Charlie, who saw no reason to show us a classroom, but instead took us on a tour of the school farm via the bike workshop. Charlie assured Jordan that the school was "Alright if yer keep yer 'ead down," and that clinched it for Jordan.
On the return journey Jordan fell asleep and Shannon decided to check out my career. I told her I'd been working in teaching since 1992, thinking I was to be denounced as inexperienced. "Well," she said. "Yer' might know me partner." I did know him. "What's he doing now?" I asked. "Six years," Shannon said, without irony.
As I dropped them off at home, neither of them forgot their manners."We right enjoyed it didn't we Jor?" Wha?" he said. "I said ... ". By then I'd reversed and driven away.
The writer is an educational psychologist in the North of England. Send your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each one we publish is worth #163;50 in MS vouchers.