Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things overheard in shops

I hate packaging. The kind of stuff they wrap scissors in. The irony being that while trying to rip the indestructible cardboard and plastic encasing the scissors, you need the very pair you bought in order to get to them. Likewise, I hate how tight they make the tops on things, especially the cardboard juices that have little plastic tops that screw off. Always, while trying to open them and ripping the skin between my thumb and forefinger, I wonder how the elderly and especially those with arthritis in their fingers manage if I cannot. And indeed just the other day while in St John's Wood Tesco's, I saw a tiny old lady asking the cashier if she could open her pint of milk for her so she could have a cup of tea when she got home.

I was in Boots the other day, and a young girl, possibly 15, maybe even 13, walked in dressed very much how I imagine she thought a much older women dressed. It looked incongruous, much like me wearing my mother's massive 70's styled engagement ring when going to the British Embassy all those years ago and saying that while I wanted a 2 year working holiday visa, I was in no way planning on staying here and looking for work. I was engaged, in love, and very much planning on returning to South Africa to marry pronto, flashing the dated bling in the woman's unimpressed 'honestly do I look like an eejit?' face.

Anyway, so this young girl walked up to the counter clearly mustering all the confidence she had, and with as nonchalant tone of voice as she could manage said, "Hello, I need emergency contraception please." The man behind the counter looked at her and said she needed to talk to the pharmacist, to which she reddened and said she'd wait to do so. The delay, and then having to say the same thing to yet another person, seemed to shake her confidence.

I felt sorry for her to be in that position, and at the same time I thought it wise of her to be taking care of matters. I also had a compulsion to pull her aside and say in the nicest possible way: "Next time make sure the little shit wears a condom." You can see I am a mother to a daughter now, shamelessly biased.

I'm not sure how we are going to handle the whole sex talk thing with Julia. I've heard from friends and family that kids actually start asking questions about the subject a lot younger than one might imagine. And I myself remember being explained the facts of life rather crudely by a girl called Paige, when I was about six or seven years old. I didn't really process what it meant at the time, but it sounded disgusting and certainly not something I ever intended on participating in. Especially after looking around at the motley crew of smelly, nose-picking scabby kneed boys in my class, thank you very much.

I suspect I'll say something like: When you get to a certain age you may find your body telling you it wants to do things with boys. Ignore it and eat chocolate or go shopping. Boys themselves will tell you that you might enjoy doing these things with them, and in that case you come home and tell your father, and he will get out the shotgun and take care of them. Hopefully that will take care of matters for a while at least.

Separately, but on the subject of guns, I am overjoyed at hearing the verdict in the Phil Spector trial: Guilty. Justice has been served, a misogynistic nutter will be removed from the streets, and that poor woman can hopefully rest in peace.

No comments: