Thursday 20 March 2008

Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner's Daughter

Bert is currently upsetting our younger daughter (L).

Most weekday mornings Bert starts his day with a cycle ride (of sorts: I think I may post on that next time), or a long run around the neighbourhood. He has done this for many years, and the girls have always found it highly embarrassing. We live just up the road from their old primary school, and around the corner from their current secondary school. They have had numerous comments over the years from teachers and schoolfriends along the lines of "Was that your dad I saw...?"

So what's new?

Until recently Bert set off on his run or bike ride at about 7.30, and was back home before school started. But now, in encroaching middle age (it's alright - he doesn't read this blog so I can say that), he gets going later and sets off just around the time they go to school. Now L. is finding lots of her friends saying "Is that your dad? What is he wearing?". The answer is a pair of skimpy little old-fashioned shorts, and a very raggy old triathlon top.

L. asked him if he would consider stopping, or at least changing his route and / or his shorts (it might not have been that polite - she is 13). He thought about it momentarily: "No chance!". She asked me to intervene and I said to him, "She's got a point - couldn't you go a different way, or set off a bit later?". "B*llocks," he said. "I've been doing this for years and I'm not going to change my routine now."

We argued a bit more about it. His final point was that if L's friends commented on my grey hair, would I dye it just so as not to embarrass her? I said that would be different. Well it would, wouldn't it?

(And this on a day when I've got a lovely new haircut and colour.)

The current state of play is that L. is 'ignoring' Bert. She keeps forgetting, and halfway through talking to him she suddenly shrieks "Oh Dad!" and stomps off.

I can see this one will run and run.

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