My slippers are muddy. I’ve just been down to the bottom of the garden, built a bonfire, and watched it burn. In my slippers.
Nothing’s changed, I used to do the same sort of thing when I was a child. My mother used to tell me off for it, but it didn’t stop me, I just couldn’t be bothered to put my shoes on. Actually, one thing has changed – I put the slippers on properly now, so the backs don’t get broken down.
Slippers in the garden is one of my two secret pleasures. I seriously regard each one as a small but significant benefit of growing up, of being master of your own destiny – or at very least, when you get to wear your slippers.
The other one is leaving the fridge door open. It used to drive my dad mad. He had his rules: Open the door; take the milk; shut the door; use the milk; open the door; replace the milk; shut the door. This was the accepted method and everyone in the household followed it. Except me. And so I got told off. Regularly.
These days the fridge door stays open. It’s so petty, but even after all these years it still gives me a little tweak of satisfaction to behave that way. My fridge, my fridge door, my rules – or lack of them. Be my guest, feel free to leave it open, or shut it. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law regarding fridge doors.
So why the continuing desire to cock a snook at parents who I loved, both now long departed? There are no emotional scars, no abiding sense of burning injustice. They wanted things done one way, I preferred it another.
I’m still too lazy to put my shoes on, I still can’t be bothered to shut the door, but now there’s nobody around to tell me off.
I’ve got away with it. It makes me smile.
Somewhere deep inside, I’m still that kid.