The porch is where I go to think. I like to sit out there in the dark and warmth and just wrap my head around whatever troubles me. It was raining heavily last night but if you sit on one of the many window ledges then the eaves shelter you from the rain. And that's precisely what I was doing, when Maddy, my 11 year old stepdaughter, came outside and sat on my knee. An opportunity for one of those wonderful bonding moments between a father and daughter, I thought - just like in Disney family movies.
"Why have you come out to stand in the rain Maddy?" I asked.
"Well technically Rory I'm not standing or in the rain am I? In fact make that officially, not just technically."
Clearly she had inherited the 'I'm always right' gene from her Mum.
"No stars tonight." I said, looking at the cloudy night sky.
"Well technically Rory the stars are there. You just can't see them."
I wasn't going to allow this little 'technical' problem to get between us on this, the occasion of one of life's precious and tender moments. I cuddled her closer "The rain has made it a little bit chilly"
"In a way yeah," she replied "but technically it's not the rain that makes it cold."
I remembered a scene from the Woody Allen film 'Annie Hall' where both lead characters were saying things but subtitled beneath them was what they were thinking - my subtitles at this point would have read 'Will you shut the fuck up with 'technically'. I'm 51 years old and I KNOW what I'm talking about! If I say 'There are no stars, the rain has made it cold.' then just accept I'm wise beyond your years and agree.' That however came out as;
"I'll be making pizza later if you want some."
"'Yeah! Cool! Though technically you're not actually making it. You're cooking it. If you made them like you used to, using flour, then yeah you'd be making them. But someone has made them already so really you're just cooking them."
"Have you been getting critical thinking classes at school or something Maddy?"
"Is it something old people know about? Like you?"
"I'm not old!"
"Well, technically speaking you are. But I must say you've done really good for an old person. You learned the English language really quickly when you came to Australia." She stood up and said "Okay, I'm going back inside now." And with that my Disney family movie moment was gone...though technically it wasn't quite over...I pushed open the front door "MADDY!"
"I learned your language better than you thought." I smiled, "I'll spare you the technical details darlin' but technically and officially your bedroom is a shit tip - will you get it cleaned up please!"
Visibly thinking she looked up at me and smiled, "Wow. You're right."
Yes yes yes yes yes yes!