Me on the family's surveillance equipment.
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Phone bills, of the shared variety, are surely one of life's more volatile elements - a dangerous combination of numbers so correctly; so annoyingly correctly displayed. By tossing one of these babies into semi-unstable commune you'll have the makings of a hit reality-TV show, or in my case, an eviction notice from my grandmother.
"Daveed, we got our phone bill, it's three times as much normal?".
I instinctively responded, "No worries, leave it to me", it wasn't wholly likely I was responsible but I saw it as an opportunity to contribute to the living expenses that my family repeatedly refuse to except.
"On the odd occasion I use a different type of internet card: with this one you pay in the bill, not upfront", I explained to a confused flock of eyes, "let my friend explain – they gave me the card", I added, sure that the friend's experience and native tongue would help.
"You're a fucking idiot, you stupid fucking idiot, how dare you insult the family and involve a non-family member in this matter", my father responded as the ordeal went transnational. Seemingly my dear and distressed grandmother had littered my father's answer-machine in England with, "fucking messages", about the whole, "fucking thing".
"You just don't trust us!", my uncle later added having concluded that I called my friend to check they weren't extorting money from me. Whilst away that day at work things had festered following the misunderstanding, but those numbers were still so correct while my family were so annoyingly not.
I'd compromised my cultural exploration, cautiously keeping to the imposed curfew of 9pm and when not, ample notice was givenI'd seemed to be getting better at the temporary living arrangement, arriving with gifts in hands, helping with the kids homework, keeping my belonging out of the way – certainly I could've done more. In many ways I'd tried to keep the peace; keeping up with my grandmothers demands; keeping an eye on the bigger picture. Most frustrating of all, I'd compromised my cultural exploration, cautiously keeping to the imposed curfew of 9pm and when not, ample notice was given. There's more, but not now.
From all this I take a collection away with me, it'll make a book maybe: reflections upon the logic of an unknown-aged woman - 'A Dangerous Combination: Ignorant and Opinionated'.
Later, comparing the 'mobile calls' column on that wretched piece of paper I'd reached a new conclusion, it seemed that my dear cousin's semi-secret nightly calls to the mobiles of his girly friend's had mounted up, and it was me who was now paying for it.