“This,” I informed the person at the other end of the line in a call centre,”is rather an unorthodox enquiry. It may not be the easiest one you’ve ever had to answer..”
I paused. With Drama. Is that a Caesura? Not a wincingly surgical procedure but a dramatic pause in the middle of a line? I feel sure I learned about caesuras way back when when the minutiae of classical dramatic theory really mattered.
I will not deny that the pause, whilst dramatic, was also convenient. It gave me time to think. There was no easy way to say this.
“I have less than 24 hours,” I began falteringly, “to acquire a kazoo for my son. I have just been to scour the party favours in Sainsbury’s and there is nary a one there. I know. I sifted compulsively.”
I had. Flying through my mind were the myriad reminders my son had administered over the previous fortnight; every now and then he would say, ‘Mum, don’t forget that I need a kazoo for music…’ and I would tell him to catch me with my laptop so that we could order something so exotic online.
But perhaps, if you have an 11-year-old son, you might have spotted my mistake.
For reminders are as far as they go. They do not bring resources together, broker deals, achieve results, forge forward in triumph. My son is an adorable,voluble bag of hot air, and we never got to the sitting down in front of the computer and ordering bit of the plan.
Now, it transpired the kazoo was not just for a lesson. Oh, no: this kazoo was for a school concert, to be held this very night. Everyone, simply everyone, must have one. If they did not they would stand out.
And we can’t have that, can we?
Did I mention that a recurring nightmare of mine is arriving on stage in front of hundreds without a script? On the soloists stand for a concerto, without my score, or worse, without having practiced?
And now my son was facing a kazoo concert without his kazoo. I was going hot and cold.
I melded my mind back to the Tesco phone helper.
“So I have come to you,” I continued, with thinly veiled desperation, “to find out if – should I venture into this dark March night towards the large Tescos on the edge of town – I would be likely to find any kazoos on your shelves.”
Such a nice young man, and so industrious. I think he thought I was a Mystery Shopper, sent to test him. Ah, young man, when you are my ripe old age you will find out that the really outlandish facts – the strangest situations – nearly always turn out to be true.
He found kazoos. 30 of them in one bag: and in their warehouse, not within 60 miles of our home. They might as well be a gazillion light years away on the Planet Kazoo. They are no use to me. I smiled ruefully and thanked the young man for his industry.
The things parents have to do to make sure their children fit in.
My search has been fruitless but in the mean time my son contracted a nasty little fever which means that he has had to have a day off school and will not be performing alongside his compatriots in the school concert.
He is much better now though, and I feel sad that I will never see him in his school uniform smartly performing the kazoo concerto I have dreamt up in my fevered, over taxed imagination.