A man visiting his parents at the weekend unwittingly walked himself into an emotional quagmire by striking up a conversation with his father when his mother left the room.
Joe Goggins, 33, began taking about football, as he usually would, only to discover that he had grossly underestimated the amount of time his mum would be gone for.
He told us, ‘I already prepared myself this time round for things not to get awkward. I started bright, moving the discussion around like a boss, from the relegation battle at the bottom of the Premier league to the race for promotion in League Two.’
‘It was going great too, with both of us really getting into the spirit of it all. My dad even made a joke about Liverpool that made me laugh.’
‘But then we just sort of ran out of words. My mind began flittering around looking for more football but we’d already talked about everything. My mum had been gone fucking ages!’
‘Before I knew it, he was awkwardly asking me about my job and things started getting weird.’
Phil, 69, told us, ‘I don’t know what came over me. I asked him about his job and immediately regretted it.’
‘He started telling me that he was losing sleep over it and I felt this panic coming over me. When he mentioned something about seeing a counsellor, all I could do was stare at the TV and make random grunts every four or five seconds.’
‘In the long moments of silence that came after I dug as deep as I could to find a good topic to bring up but we don’t see eye to eye on politics, he never has a girlfriend and I can’t bring myself to raise the subject of my heart murmur in front of him so in the end we just ended up talking about holidays or something inane like that.’
Mum Maureen, 71, explained, ‘when I came back into the room the two of them were just sat staring intensely at the telly, watching Antiques Roadshow and making little noises every so often.’
‘You’d think they’d never met before.’