When you left home, your parents settled into a groove. Over the years, it got deeper and deeper. But there were knots in the wood - there are always knots in the wood - and they warped the groove. They sent the groove kinking in unforeseen directions. Your parents didn’t intend it. To their minds it’s the same groove. To their minds, perhaps, there is no groove. But there is a groove, and it isn’t the same, and over time that deep, dark, tilting crevice took them all the way from the throne room of guidance and power to a nice doer-upper in crazytown, where your mother tries to convince you that her cats obey her even though they are clearly half-feral, and where dad insists on everyone having hot bowls for dinner and checks all the locks nine times before going to bed.
Readers on the discussion board
noticed this and embarked upon a process of sharing which will, I hope, help them find peace with their parents or, failing that, a Swiss clinic. At the risk of putting Buzzfeed out of business and giving Michael MacIntrye a free routine: any you recognise?
1. They abide by antiquated safety measures.
"Turning off the TV at the plug if they go out for more than hour on the basis that a plugged in TV might start a fire."
||Actually very common
2. They refuse to buy into ITV.
"Muting the TV during adverts."
3. They believe the presenters on the local evening news are their friends.
"My mum often tries to start a conversation with her local presenter in the supermarket.
4. They have a love/hate relationship with post-watershed viewing.
"My father will stay up until four in the morning watching real life murder stories with grisly details. Only he doesn't, because he's squeamish, so he half watches and half walks around the kitchen, getting his tablets and making himself a late night cup of tea. Whenever it gets particularly nasty he goes to the loo or finds something to do in another room.
5. They display unswerving loyalty to the Radio Times.
"My dad is staying with me for Christmas. I had to go out and buy a copy of The Radio Times to put on the table for him to browse. 'You know I can browse any programme that's on TV via the remote.' 'Not the same young man, not the same.'
6. They refuse to accept old age.
"They can't hear properly anymore, but don't actually do anything about getting any kind of hearing aid and just crank the volume up on radios and TVs."
7. They judge food on its temperature.
"My old man is obsessed with the heat of food. Massive drama if food is not served at a similar temperature to the filling of a McDonald's apple pie (i.e. hotter than the earth's core)."
8. And plates.
"My sister and I took my mother to a Michelin-starred restaurant at the weekend. When the waiter did his "I trust that everything was satisfactory with your meal, modom" plate-clearing schtick, she beckoned him down to her level and then told him the food was lovely but it was only just warmed enough, and they should use hotter plates in future. He told her he would pass this on to the chef."
9. And houses.
"My parents house is perma-heated to 28 degrees C - even in summer."
10. They take setting off in good time to extremes.
"Leaving with enough time to get there in case of traffic, which means always being at least two hours early for everything. If KO is at 1, we will be at The Meadow for 10:30
11. They distrust tyres.
"My dad will do the car tyres if he's got a journey of more than two hours coming up"
12. They try to make a tank of petrol last as long as possible.
"My dad updates me with the miles to the gallon he's achieved with his car since his last fill up. He drives very carefully, no sudden braking or accelerating."
13. They always check up on your motor.
"No visit from my father is complete without an enquiry as to whether my car is still "running ok"."
14. They give you driving advice regardless of their personal performance.
"I once had a discussion with my mum about driving and she was lecturing me and telling me what a safe and careful driver she was (whilst driving). Still banging on about it and parking her car in one of those big concrete multistory car parks she managed to bump into the concrete wall and her number plate fell off. It was perfect timing."
15. Dad is obsessed with the car thermometer.
"When he starts the car he announces the outside temperature from the dashboard."
16. They like to know what's going on travel-wise even when they're not going anywhere.
"My mum insists on listening to BBC Radio Berkshire to get the traffic updates for roads she isn't driving on and never will drive on."
17. They are wired on caffeine from dawn until dusk.
"My parents drink a couple of gallons of tea every day."
||Turns out the traffic was fine, because there is no traffic at 5am
18. They love a bargain.
"Dad goes especially to a specific value store just for a box of six brunch bars for a pound. A pound!"
19. They love picking up unwanted bargains for you.
"Often I get a call or voicemail saying, "Cat food in Pets at Home is half price, so I've bought you 20 enormous sacks of it without asking, that'll be £56 please" (I don't have a cat)."
20. They send cookery tips.
"My mum saves me all the recipe magazines from Waitrose."
21. They send work-related clippings.
"Mine scans and send me articles from newspapers that may be of interest or mention clients that she knows I do work for. Sometimes I point out that I'm aware of the deals which clients are doing because I'm doing them."
22. They send food.
||"As ever, Kenneth, I am absolutely buzzing."
"Dad sends me slices of Christmas cake and his birthday cake in jiffy bags so I don't "miss out". At university he used to send me bags of skittles."
23. They attempt to marry you off to questionable prospects.
"My mum spent a long time trying to persuade me to marry that singer Darius. She liked him because he could sing and he was nice to his mum."
24. They donate the contents of their fridge when you visit.
"Handing me a carrier bag with items of food wrapped in tin foil when I'm leaving. I think she just looks in the fridge to see what's there. Like an already opened packet of ham, two kiwi fruits, some frozen Birdseye chicken breasts and leftover roast beef from the lunch"
25. They always have advice.
"My mum's speciality is unsolicited advice. On issues on which she really isn't much of an expert at all. The absolute nadir of this is when the Mrs and I, in a misguided attempt to assuage filial guilt, decided to take her on a safari holiday (as her gentleman friend doesn't like the idea of going to Africa). We came across three cheetahs. The cheetahs were near some impala, and half-heartedly began to stalk them. At which point my mother, with her extensive experience of hunting antelope on the plains of Africa, leaned out of the jeep and said, "You don't want to do it like that. You want to approach them from downwind.”"
26. They become obsessed with a local issue.
"Getting het up about local municipal services. My father actually wrote to the Council asking to see their algorithm for the traffic light system on the main road near the house."
27. They commentate cheerily when you drive them somewhere.
"I was driving them along the other day past a roadside caf: "Big Baps is doing a lot of business, good for them". Earlier he’d read out loud the promo sign in a pub, "Thursday night is Dave's Ball Bag, buy a ticket at the bar. Sounds fun." Both said without a clue"
28. They know dishwashercraft.
"My mother has a tantrum if you put so much as a fork in the dishwasher, but the biggest crime is to run it before it is stuffed to the gunwales"
29. They are blissfully unaware of awkward social situations.
"In a new pub for lunch my dad will ask the good man behind the bar for a sampler of each bitter"
30. They have replaced the responsibilities of employment with a pet.
"My late father became obsessed with the location of the cat 24 hours a day. If the poor bugger was out for more than about five minutes, dad would be shouting out of the back door for her to return. Fuck knows what the neighbours thought."
||"I bow to your wisdom, Gina of Ipswich"
31. They have fallen in love with their computer but they do not understand it.
"My father’s favourite thing is his computer. He replaces it every two years without fail. I am not sure what he even does with it, he seems to just enjoy pottering about looking at icons. The cursor is always changed to something odd. He also buys PC magazines and “downloads” the free CD and every single USB gadget there is in the world. Once, he called me up to ask me why his computer wouldn't start. When I had a look I saw plugged in everything from a USB camera to a desk fan. I unplugged most of the junk and it turned on just fine. But he looked so upset he couldn't run everything I bought him a huge power supply so he could play with all his toys."
32. They have discovered the internet and they love it.
"My father-in-law loves usbs and updates and his computer wouldn’t run as a result. Except when I was trying to figure out the problem I came across possibly the biggest raft of interracial, inter-generational gay porn known to man. Who knew? I have to stifle a giggle every time I see the old boy now, especially when he talks to his wife about "queers"."
33. They catch you up on their old friends.
"Ruining your quiet Sunday evening by calling and talking utter bollocks for three quarters of an hour.
||"Dear Google, I would like to find..."
"Do you remember X?" "No." “Well he's got cancer.""
34. They do not trust the stamina of modern phones.
"Switching off her mobile phone to save the battery."
35. They assume you are also retired.
"Texting "R4 now" throughout the day. I now
ignore these having previously told her I'm at work and so won't be
turning on the radio."
36. They want you to say hello to your replacement.
through a phone call seeing a passing cat and deciding to put it on the
phone so I can talk to the cat. And then long gushing noises about how
the cat knows it's me and listen to it purring blah blah blah. It's a
cat. It doesn't want to be on the phone. I have nothing important to
discuss with it."
||"I don't know how to break this to you, but I'm calling from your old room. It's my room now. They love me much, much more than you."
37. They have become fanatical about cold callers.
"My dad is obsessed with cold callers to the
extent that he recorded the high pitched whistling sound fax machines
make as his answerphone message to put them off."
38. They want you to know when they are cordless.
"Answering the phone with, "Hi darling, it's Mum, I'm on my mobile"."
39. Even though it scares them.
"Watching them when their mobiles ring -
the shock, the horror, the trepidation when saying "Helloooo?" holding
it the wrong way up"
40. They like to keep you in the loop.
text messages with random nonsensical updates, "Hi, darling. Am in
Wyveyles having breakfast after church. Weather miserable. Keep warm.
Lots of love, Nun xx""
41. They keep up with the Joneses.
"For quite a while (until I told her), my mum
signed off text messages with 'sent from my Nokia', manually added of
course, as she believed that people with iphones & blackberries were
doing the same as a “status thing”"
||"Sent from my Motorola Razr, stop."
If you ticked 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 26, 29 and 40, hello brother.