“Mum, you’ve said that four times already today.”
“Yes. You telling people that the quality of the chat is going to get pretty skinny pretty quickly.”
That was back at the start of the Time We Couldn’t Believe Was Happening when even our astonishment was worth commenting on. How quickly we’ve got used to it all – to Zoom, to furlough, to HouseParty, to letting your kids play with their pals online as long as they want, to queuing to get into a shop, shouting helloos across a park, to veg boxes, and to the sheer brain-crushing tedium of it all.
At first the novelty of five of us in the house together and it not being Christmas was enough to spark debate – new routines, new disappointments and news stories that said something fresh everyday. But even that’s gone now.
Ah! Fond memories of easy conversations. What did you do at school today? How was work? What’s happening at the weekend? Where should we go on holiday? Who did you meet? What did you do today? Which show will we see? Which hill will we climb? When we were passing through from somewhere… to somewhere.
Now the only hill we climb is to the hypothetical one of creating harmonious meal times when the only dialogue is bickering. It’s time to face this squabble head on. Today’s attempt will be a set of conversational prompts even the huffiest member of the family (a title which transfers on a minute-by-minute basis) will be unable to resist (possibly).
- What annoying feature of your old life would you pay good money to have back?
- If you had to be an animal, which would you be and why?
- Tell me a secret?
- Who’s your secret crush?
- What’s your biggest lie?
- What would you rescue from a fire?
- What’s the worst advice you were given?
- Give me some advice?
- What upset you the most?
- Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
- If you could choose a punishment what would it be?
- It’s your perfect day, what’s going to happen?
- If you a magic wand, what would you do with it?
What do you do when the pickings get thin at the banquet of banter?