It is Sunday night and I am hiding in the bath. There is a knock on the door. It sounds like the Hulk is wanting to get in.
“Is that you in there?” shouts my wife.
“Is Hulk angry?” I reply. My wife stomps in and stands by the bath, towering above me.
“We need to decide where we are going on holiday,” she informs me and crosses her arms.
“Now?” I reply, and start covering things up.
“Why are you covering it up?” she asks with mock disappointment. “I’ve seen it before.”
“I doesn’t feel right exposing myself while we are discussing holiday arrangements, but if we were talking about mortgages…” my eyebrows wiggled suggestively, but she wasn’t looking at those.
I am regularly bath-bombed by my wife and kids. I can see their point: if I am in the bath, I can’t escape. Some major family decisions have been thrashed out while I’ve been trapped in the tub. I just lay back, smile and cup anything round or pointy.
The latest hot bathroom topic is my 11-year-old son’s furtive behaviour. He has set up an Instagram account which he can only access through my wife’s ipod. We leave the ipod in a drawer downstairs at night which means he has to attempt several after-hours missions to retrieve it.
A few moments after bedtime, he enters the room and tries to distract us by saying he needs water. He then secretly jinks into the back room and roots through the drawers; he sounds like a bunch of racoons rattling through frying pans.
With Instagram there are only two real scenarios for his furtiveness: he is either texting a girl from his class, or a 45-year-old man pretending to be a girl from his class. It’s the classic digital-age parental dilemma: congratulate him, or book him into the witness protection programme.
The following night we monitor his movements more closely, but he fails to do anything underhand, so I decide to sneak into the bath.
I tiptoe past my wife, grab a towel, and stealthily pad upstairs, where I come across my son who is stealthily padding downstairs. It’s a beautiful moment of father/son deception. We let each other go without raising the alarm; a decision I was soon to regret.
I slipped into the hot vapours and picked up my book. The peace was interrupted by a noise coming from the scaffolding outside the bathroom window. I could hear the distinctive sound of a boy shuffling around in a pair of Crocs, taking risky, high-altitude pictures to impress his demanding Instagram fan base.
There was a knock at the window.
“Dad, is that you in there?”
“Yes. Stop taking pictures of yourself on the scaffolding?”
“I’m not,” he protested, and I heard the familiar click, whirr of a camera shutter.
This was followed by a worrying silence, which panicked me into shouting, “Stop typing negative things about me on the internet.”
I picked up the book once more, I could almost hear it sighing at my infidelity, then I angled it down, and tilted my head, so that I could clearly hear my son pretending to go down the scaffolding, but was in fact, going higher. I must tell him that Crocs are not standard SAS issue footwear; they have been specifically designed for chefs on a fag break, and are useless in covert manoeuvres.
I grabbed the damp book again, which was now ready to pack it’s bags and leave me, when there was a knock on the door: how old fashioned, I thought; why not crash through the roof on a wrecking ball – and make sure you film it.