I recently found myself engaged in the kind of conversation that makes you look dubiously around for hidden cameras, or a time machine. The kind of conversation you could only possibly have with a crazy person – or with your mother.
Mum: I worry about you. I don’t think you have any practical skills.
Gem: Well I did just get a high 2:1 for my second year of uni so…
Mum: Yes. But can you bake a cake?
Mum: And you can’t do needlework. Or carpentry.
Gem: Carpentry? Like… what Jesus’ dad did for a living?
Mum: …Maybe not carpentry. How about flower arranging? Nanna could teach you.
Gem: Please don’t make me do flower arranging.
Mum: You’d like it. Nanna has oasis.
Gem: Which album?
Mum: No, not Oasis: oasis.
I really love my Mum.
Anyway, I found myself rationalising to my mother about why I do not need to enrol in some sort of finishing school using one word: Google. For example, “Maybe I’ve never put up a shelf before, but you can Google that stuff, right? And ditto for sewing on a button and taking up a dress and escaping elderly relatives with an eye for floral arrangements, right?” And then the following thought crossed my mind – am I in a co-dependent relationship with Google? Am I a 1950s’ housewife, only my husband is a search engine? Seriously? Seriously?! Oh god.
In the last week alone I have used Google to decide what to cook for dinner, what clothes to buy, and how I should get my hair cut. I mean I am far from apathetic about my right to vote but Emmeline Pankhurst is probably rolling around in her grave about now, regardless.
So as I don’t want a long-dead suffragette putting out a hip because of my lack of practical skills I have made two (completely edible and actually sort of delicious) cakes, and listened to Be Here Now an embarrassing number of times. And yes, I am admittedly living in fear that my mother will try to make me construct a building which my 89 year old Nanna will then chase me around, armed with some mysterious substance called ‘oasis’ and a pair of secateurs. But I can make fat-free cake. So not only am I one step closer to independence, but I now have a good method of bribing people into helping me put up a shelf.
I was about to file my metaphorical divorce papers against my search engine husband when Google made the mother of all grand gestures. I give you, ‘Cute Pandas Playing On The Slide’. Independence schmindependence.