Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Thoughts from a supermarket

I always find it best to do my mother's shopping when things are quiet, it gives me a chance to look around. I follow her list so there's no browsing of shelves for inspiration, no impulse buying.

It was interesting today, for three reasons.

There were several mothers with unenthusiastic teenage sons in tow. The mothers, in every case, were trying valiantly to engage them in conversation. The sons, mostly pushing the trolley, were lagging as far behind as possible without actually losing touch completely, but far enough that they could, presumably, deny being with their mothers. They answered in monosyllabic grunts, if at all. I wondered why the mothers bothered taking them. I never felt the battle would be worth it when mine were that age.

There were several eastern European couples in the store. I have been noticing more and more eastern European accents over the last several months. They sound distinctively different from the languages I know though I can't tell them apart. The first people I noticed, I suppose about a year ago, were about student age, and would turn up in groups at the store, arriving in trucks owned by local farming businesses - watercress, mushrooms, spring bulbs, that sort of thing. Now though, they seem to be older and in couples.

And the third interesting thing is that, although I've always seen women with elderly mothers, now I'm starting to see men with their mothers. I would like to think that men are starting to feel they too should be caregivers, but I rather suspect it may be that so many marriages are breaking up that there is no longer a wife to look after the older generation.

People watching: it's one way of amusing yourself when shopping (which I hate with a passion).

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