Last night the next door neighbours got robbed. A nasty burglar broke into their house and stole some of their computer laptops. Our neighbour knocked on our door. I don't know his name and will refer to him as "my neighbour" from now on.
"Hello, we got burgled this evening, did you see or hear anything?" he said.
"No, sorry, we didn't hear anything," I said.
"It would have happened at about quarter to seven," he said.
This is the children's bed time. At bed time the children usually scream and I usually try to get away with not putting them to bed and lying on the sofa, so it can be a fraught time.
"Oh no, I wouldn't have heard anything, that's usually when I beat you isn't it?" I said to Polly.
"You are an idiot," said Polly.
She re-iterated that sentiment when I bemoaned the fact that my neighbour who had just had his laptops stolen with loads of really important data on them didn't laugh at my brilliant jokes.
Then I excitedly recalled that I had seen someone throught their window at about quarter to seven. I had been fixing the children's milk bottles. There was nothing wrong with them, fixing the milk bottles is just an American expression which means "filling up the children's milk bottles and warming them up in the microwave,"
By American I mean an expression which originates in the United States of America.
When I said "bottles" I should point out that Elly doesn't technically have a bottle any more so don't be horrified, she drinks out of a cup like any other normal child. Mick doesn't have a bottle either, he has a beaker, so get off my back about giving my children bottles this late in their development, I don't.
Anyway, you pendants, while I was fixing the bottles I glanced through out through my kitchen window and in through their hall stairs window and saw a chap running down the stairs. I remembered this and thought to myself "AHA - THIS INFORMATION IS USEFUL IT GIVES ME ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO TRY AND MAKE MY NEIGHBOUR LAUGH OR AT LEAST MAKE HIM THINK I AM A DRUNK MENTAL," I ran next door, barefoot, very excited and stinking of whiskey, knocked on the door and shouted this...
"I just remembered, I did see someone coming down your stairs. I was looking through your window, but don't worry, I'm not stalking you, I just happened to look through your window, actually I am stalking you, I always stare through your window to see if you are there..."
And my neighbour said "Should we try to be more interesting?" and pulled some dance moves.
"More nudity please," I said, and thought "Jolly good improv session with the neighbours. Well done me. I will definitely be a brilliant stand up comedian one day, now I wonder if I can remember what I came over here to tell them about?"
Then I remembered and told my neighbours that I had seen a person in their house, but he didn't look like a burglar because he didn't have a stripy jumper or a mask on. My neighbour went with it and said "What about a bag which said swag? No?" and once again I was giving myself mental high fives for my comedic ability.
Anyway, I left my little routine on a peak. Today there is a card from the police saying they would like me to phone them to tell them all about it. I should phone the number on the card and see how many jokes I can get away with when talking to the police.
Later on that night I was lying in bed thinking about Father Christmas. I was really really thinking about him, as I am directing the school play and am having difficulty becoming excited by the scene in the play where Father Christmas comes into the bedroom and gives out presents to the children. It is a little dreary, and having a man creep amusingly around the bedroom whilst the children are asleep seems a little dangerous and sinister.
This leaves me with a problem, as the end of the school play consists of Father Christmas and his assorted gang of hangers on sneaking around sleeping children and leaving presents by the end of their beds.
So I lay in bed at going to sleep time thinking about Father Christmas. I began to imagine a fireplace and Father Christmas emerging from the fireplace, drinking his glass of sherry and eating his mince pies, which the children inform me is what they leave out for Father Christmas.
I was searching for an answer that would enliven my play and started saying to myself over and over again "Do you believe in Father Christmas? Do you believe in Father Christmas? Do you believe in Father Christmas? Do you believe in Father Christmas?"
At this juncture I should point out that I was thinking this in my head - shouting it out loud would have woken Polly up. I've also made it sound as if I was being very deliberate about this process, but it was rather involuntary - my mind was in pre-sleep autopilot.
Then all of a sudden I had a massive epiphany - I really, really don't believe in Father Christmas, and I have proof that he doesn't exist - I am a parent now, and if I didn't buy Elly and Mick presents, there would be no presents for them. It isn't Father Christmas who gives the chidren their presents, it is us, the parents.
This, for me, in the gossamer haze that seperates awake and asleep was a monumentous realisation. I was ecstatic. I didn't believe in Father Christmas and I had real, intangible proof, and I just had to tell someone, right now.
In the cold light of day I see that I was confused and sleepy, that I had gotten Father Christmas and Jesus slightly mixed up and that, instead of stumbling upon a Dawkins like evolutionary theory which would destroy Christianity in one swift blow, I was merely re-iterating a fact that I had known to be true for maybe 30 years.
Luckily I have a wife.
I hit Polly about 6 times on the leg, whispering "Polly" each time in an urgent manner.
She sat bolt upright and shouted "What, shit, what?" I think she was experiencing panic and confusion.
"Polly, I don't believe in Father Christmas," I said.
"WHAT? IS THAT IT? YOU FUCKING IDIOT," she said. I think she was angry. "I THOUGHT SOMEONE WAS IN THE ROOM."
"But Polly, I don't believe in Father Christmas, I actually don't believe in Father Christmas,"
"Go to sleep. You idiot...Jesus Christ,"
This evening I was downstairs fixing milk for the children whilst Polly put them to bed and I looked back up through the neigbours window as I did last night.
I was horrified to see a figure standing there, so I looked more intently and recognised my neighbour, looking back at me.
We both looked at each other for far too long not to acknowlege each other. Really should have just carried on our business, but he waved at me. I didn't know what to do, so I paused a while and waved back.
I then carried on fixing the bottles glancing seriously at my watch to give off the message that I am not a stalker (even though I said I was to them), that I don't always look through their window (even though I said I did to them, and they caught me doing so) I am simply a concerned, mature, responsible, caring neighbour, checking their window at about the same time that they were burgled last night.
I was all alone in the kitchen when I looked into their window, and my neighbour was standing with his wife. After he waved at me, I thought my neighbour looked at his wife and laughed.