A Series of Annoying Questions — or, how my Dad expressed his love.

My Dad died in November 2013. When he was alive, he asked a lot of annoying questions that had the ability to make me instantly irate.

After he was gone, unexpectedly, I realised, unexpectedly, that I missed them. In fact, they were what I missed most.

When they stopped being asked, I finally understood that they weren’t actually questions; they were substitutes for the expressions of love he struggled to make.

Here’s a selection.

On visits home

  1. What day are you leaving? (Moments after arrival.)
  2. Where are you? (Morning.)
  3. Oh, are you in here?
  4. What are you doing?
  5. What do you want for dinner? (It was breakfast.)
  6. Where are you? (Lunchtime.)
  7. What do you want for dinner?
  8. What are you doing later?
  9. What time are you going out?
  10. What time will you be back?
  11. Where are you? (Evening.)
  12. Are you nearly ready for dinner?
  13. Who wants seconds? (We were still eating firsts.)
  14. Who wants cheese and biscuits? (We were still eating firsts.)
  15. What shall we have for dinner tomorrow?
  16. What are you watching?
  17. Are you going to bed yet? (9.30pm.)
  18. What time is your flight back tomorrow?
  19. What time do you need to leave for the airport?
  20. What time is your flight today?
  21. What time do you need to leave for the airport?
  22. What time do you need to leave for the airport?
  23. What time do you need to leave for the airport?
  24. Aren’t you leaving for the airport soon?
  25. Haven’t you left for the airport yet?

On the phone

  1. How’s the car?
  2. Have you washed it recently?
  3. Do you know bird poo eats into the paintwork?
  4. When’s your car insurance due?
  5. How much is your car insurance?
  6. Don’t forget to pay your car insurance, will you?
  7. Have you paid your car insurance?
  8. How much was your car insurance?
  9. How’s the flat?
  10. Still like your flat?
  11. Much left to pay on your mortgage?
  12. How’s work?
  13. Still like your work?
  14. How long have you been there now?
  15. How’s [boyfriend’s name]?
  16. Everything good? (Not really a question.)
  17. Shall I put your Mum on?
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