Dad wants to buy a new electric razor and I said we can get one from TK Max at Crown Point North Shopping Centre. So that’s today’s trip. Each time I come home we get him one personal purchase. Last time it was trousers. Next time it’ll be a new pair of underpants. At this rate by the time he’s two hundred he’ll have the full gentleman’s wardrobe. When we get there I can only find so-called personal groomers and no electric razors. So-called Personal groomers trim your moustache and keep your facial growth apparent but optimal. They don’t actually shave you. It can’t be that there is a whole department devoted to personal groomers and no electric razors, can it? I ask a young man with a TK Max tag on. No. It’s true. They don’t do electric razors any more. I can’t believe it. So-called Groomers but no electric razors! It’s like putting the cart before the horse! I tell my dad there are no electric razors. He registers no surprise.
We both need a sit down. We retire to the Cafe Costa. We get a small capuchino each and he wants a chocolate cake with cream in it. A chocolate muffin comes closest. I watch as dad puts three sugars in his coffee. He is trying to open the fourth sugar. You are NOT having four sugars in your coffee, dad, I say. I noticed yesterday how much tomato ketchup he had on his pasta. You eat like a Florida schoolboy, I tell him. He smiles confusedly. It might be that he’s thinking: that girl’s got four songs on her i-pod; that bloke’s got four aps on his smartphone; I had four years in the Second World War; you’ve got four supplements on your Saturday bloody Guardian, you chattering class bastard. Now tell me I can’t have another sugar in my coffee.
How’s the coffee? I say. Creamy, isn’t it? He looks at me. Too creamy, he says.