Things that happen if you live with your parents in your twenties
They really love Countryfile
Back to the old house, back from university, older, wiser, hopefully fitter and funnier, you move in with your parents.
Months pass and it’s like the last three years never happened. You start noticing things about them you never noticed before.
1. They’ll get angry about you not doing something they haven’t even asked you to do as an excuse to get angry at you
You didn’t ask me to water the flowers Mum, that’s why they’re dead, mate.
2. There are a lot of celebrities your Dad doesn’t like
Christopher Biggins is on the television, on a programme called Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of the 1970’s, and Biggins says “Cilla Black was a great friend of mine.”
“Christopher Biggins”, your Dad says, in his most just and final way, “is a lying cunt.”
You nod, not quite knowing what a Christopher Biggins is, not quite knowing why he makes your Dad so angry.
3. Some questions they have for you:
What do you want for dinner, will you be home for dinner, should I leave dinner out for you if you’re late, do you want leftover dinner for lunch tomorrow, did you enjoy dinner, should I make that dinner again, are you putting weight on, are you eating enough, will you be in on Friday night, will you be in on Saturday night, do you want that shirt ironed, did anyone notice your shirt was ironed today, do you think you need another pair of jeans – I can go out and get another pair if you’d like, why do you never wear blue jeans anymore, what are you doing on that phone, who are you speaking to on that phone, why am I still paying the bill for that phone if you have a job, is Mrs Brown’s Boys on Netflix, are you getting enough exercise, what happened to you saying you’d go to the gym at least twice a week, when did you start enjoying clubs so much, when did you start smoking, are you dating anyone, how come we never see James anymore, we loved James, such a nice boy, so polite, his girlfriend was lovely as well, what was her name, will we see her again?
Mum, I haven’t spoken to James since 2009.
4. The Bathroom
You have to get to your shit new office job. Dad has to get to his shit old office job. There is one bathroom in the house and nobody is going to be pissing outside in January. You both need to be on the train by 7.30am. Let the games begin.
5. Helping around the garden
Nobody showed me how to use a hedge trimmer in the last 22 years so why the fuck should I learn to use one now.
6. Mum doesn’t trust Uber
“They literally can’t be checked.”
7. Mum doesn’t trust Airbnb
“You don’t know them, they don’t know you. It could be anyone.”
8. The conversation is thrilling
Dad is looking out of the window, pondering a crow. He ventures:
“Would you swap your arms for a pair of wings?”
“Probably,” says Mum, “what would you do?”
“I’m going to my room.”
9. Mum is shocked, then infrequently irritated by a habit you’ve had for years, a habit you had before you went to uni, that she’s decided is ‘new’
I’ve been drinking Tropicana from the carton and then putting it back in the fridge for a decade now Mum.
Dad has a lot of questions about technology:
“Do we have an HDMI cable, Will?”
“It’s plugged into the television, Dad.”
“Do you know my iTunes password, Will?”
“Do we have Amazon Prime, Will?”
“No, I don’t think so, Dad.”
“Did you take my phone charger, Will?”
“Nah, don’t think so, Dad.”
11. You decide to bring someone home from a night out
After the bacon sandwiches, coffee plunger, Lurpak, freshly squeezed orange juice, croissants, danishes, pot of tea breakfast Mum makes you and Kelly, the girl you met in Kingston Pryzm last night, you think maybe I will never, ever have sex again and that will be a thing I can live with.
12. The inevitable house party you throw when they go on holiday, thrown mainly because you realise you can’t live without having sex again
They are not going to be happy when they see what Dean and Mike did to the fireplace in the living room.
13. Mum & Dad’s first Deliveroo
“So they’ll actually go to Wagamama’s and pick up the food for us?”
“And we don’t have to pay anything extra?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am sure.”
“What time will it arrive?”
“At the time they say it will arrive.”
14. You cry together at the most unlikely things
Nothing can prepare you for the bludgeoningly fraught, emotionally draining, impossibly moving experience of a Masterchef final after you have watched every single episode of the series with your parents.
15. The unavoidable conversation you’ll have about drugs
Mum is doing the Pleasant Smile – suitable for all occasions – but especially suitable for the conversation she’s about to have with you, the conversation about how, since you moved back to London and broke up with your boyfriend, you’ve developed a fun at first but sort of quite worrying now two or three times a week gak habit.
“It’s not you I don’t trust,” says Mum, “it’s that I don’t trust anyone else.”
“I don’t know why you’d want to put that stuff in your body.” Pleasant Smile has turned into Miserably Aggrieved Face.
Even Tenser Pause
“I don’t do drugs Mum, do you think I’m stupid?”
You try not to think about the nosebleed you had in the shower that morning.
16. “Shut the door, double lock the door, be really sure that the door is closed, don’t forget the windows, especially the little window in the bathroom, leave the hall light on and the front gate – make sure you close the front gate.”
Prepare to hear this every time they go out and you’re going out later before they get back.
17. Dad’s snoring will make you wish you didn’t have ears
“Brrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugghghghghghghghghghgh” snores Dad, like every bomb that dropped in WWII detonating simultaneously.
“Kkkkkkrrrrrrrrrrruuaaaaaaaghghghaaaaaaaafffffghghgffffhfhfhfh” snores Dad, like two elephants shagging inside a shop full of precariously stacked vases.
“Mmmmmoooooommmoooougougoughoughoyugharrrghghghh” snores Dad, like The Loudest Thing You Have Heard Since You Began To Hear Sounds.
18. Some of the things that make you think your parents are really weird:
They watch Countryfile every week.
Your Dad keeps referring to the Internet as an “Information Superhighway”. Your Mum sometimes google image searches “Princess Diana” on the iPad and looks at pictures of her. Your Mum and Dad are starting to “get into” cruises. They’ve been together for like, thirty years or something. How can they even stand to be in the same room as each other at this point? How do they still get along so well?
They watch Countryfile every week.
19. What you usually do instead of speaking to your parents
On your laptop: new tab – open facebook – close facebook – new tab – open facebook – close facebook – new tab – open facebook – close facebook – new tab.
20. You realise your parents are incredibly wise and kind and know a lot more about life than you do
They’ve calmly steered you through childhood and school, adolescence and university, through your reassuringly predictable run-ins with sex and alcohol and bad haircuts, through all the big dramas of growing up, despite your best efforts to waste all their love.
The more time you spend with them the more you realise they’re people, they had years and years of living before you appeared, where they made all the same mistakes you’re making now, only in different clothes and listening to music made with guitars.
It hits you: They’re just like me, I should probably speak to them more.