I’m not going to mention the incident with the nipple tassels
- Credit: Archant
It is time for me to learn from the young... and by young, I mean anyone aged 40 and under.
It's a shock to realise that I could have a child of 40 and I wouldn't even have been a teenage mum. They say the relative positions alter as you get older; that the child becomes more like the parent and although I am not yet at the stage where I have regressed to second childhood (the final act in Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man) there are occasions when I happily defer to younger people.
Technology for example. Nearly every selfie I have taken has a complete stranger in it because I'm incompetent. I invariably forget to set the camera to look at me and instead take photographs of walls and, intrusively in restaurants, people at other tables. The best thing to do, I have found is to ask a younger person to be in a selfie with me. I now have lots of pictures of me and a.n. other.
Most of what I read on Twitter or Facebook (yes, I have a presence on both) is retweeted or shared. I don't know how to do these things and I'm too embarrassed to ask. There is an element of 'aah, bless' and hand-patting when I confess my uselessness and some young stripling bounds over to my desk to help me.
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Last week, I bought some mascara recommended by my daughter-in-law and suddenly, I am no longer a panda by lunchtime. This eyelash application doesn't smudge and stays in place all day. My face needs all the help it can get. It's bad enough that lipstick 'bleeds' along the many laugh lines surrounding my mouth. Yes, I know... nothing's that funny. Meanwhile teenage years spent in possession of a pair of tweezers pretty much deprived me of my eyebrows.
My grandson, George, has taught me so much about dinosaurs. More than I need to know, to be honest but I have managed to stop mispronouncing velociraptor as veloci-rapper which, apparently, is someone who raps really quickly. He also corrects the way I say diplodocus... so I just don't refer to it any more. I know when I'm beaten.
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But this week I took on the biggest challenge of them all. Over the past few Christmases, I have had wonderful designer gifts from a niece who revealed she had bought them at discounted prices from a shopping village at Braintree. With the weather rehearsing for the May Day bank holiday (sleeting, with a biting wind from the north, and the snowflake showing on the car's display screen) we set out for Freeport in Essex. I am not a happy shopper. If it's not in M&S, I usually don't bother.
It wasn't too busy, probably because people were laying down supplies in anticipation of blizzards. Lacoste, Nike, Jaeger – just three of the shops I didn't dare enter. Out of conjugal sensitivity I decided not to venture into Ann Summers (following the nasty incident with the nipple tassels) or, on account of my husband's saucer eyes, Wonderbra. We went for safer shopping at shoe shops... and showed a calamitous lack of self-discipline by being physically incapable of walking past the Cadbury's outlet.
I bought a pair of sensible shoes from Clark's and my husband splashed out on a pair of Skechers with a memory foam insole which, he said, felt like he was walking on a trampoline. I thought he was exaggerating until he did a forward and back one-and-half somersault with twist. We also bought some of our favourite shower gel, a couple of Gap hoodies for the grandsons. Oh, yes, and a 750g bag of Cadbury's misshapes... out of curiosity. It was a Forrest Gump purchase because we honestly didn't know what we were going to get.
I had always had an issue with the line from the film: 'Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get,' because boxes of chocolates always come with a little slip of paper that tells you what each chocolate is... unless his mother didn't let him see it. Unkind. In fact, then, life is not like a box of chocolates, it's more like a big bag of misshapes and even then, you can be sorely disappointed when you find there are only three varieties.