Monday, 12 March 2018

Bouncing back!

Yesterday I got myself up and ready to go for a run. I was halfway out of the door when I realised that I had not picked up my keys. So I popped back in, grabbed them from my handbag, stuffed them in the pocket of my bumbag and off I went.

En route I stopped to have a chat with Mike the dog-walker. That’s Mike who might also be Patrick or even possibly Dave, depending on who you talk to. I suspect, from things he has said about this Roman Catholic education, that he was probably christened Michael Patrick. Where the Dave comes from I have no idea. He had a little rant about obesity and doctors being unwilling to discuss it with their patients for fear of hurting their feelings!!!

Leaving Michael/Patrick/Dave behind, I continued on my way, past the snow drifts that still adorn the roadside, and into the Co-op store to buy the newspaper.

When I arrived home I fished my keys out of my bumbag pocket ... only to find that they were the keys to the flat in Vigo. I was sure I had put those away in a safe place already. Obviously not! So there I was, on the doorstep, without the correct keys. I rang the doorbell. No answer! I hammered on the door. No answer! I rang the landline! No answer and eventually on to messages! I rang Phil’s mobile. Straight to messages but it does that every time and I rang again to make it ring, which is one of the quirks of his mobile. Still no answer! This is what I expected, which is why I usually try to remember the keys. Phil claims to be a poor sleeper but he must sleep more deeply than he thinks because he never hears the phone or the doorbell. Of course, wearing earplugs to sleep in does not help. Eventually, after I had almost worn my fists out banging on the door, he came apologetically to my rescue. So it goes!

Later in the day the gang - our daughter and family - came to eat. I always enjoy a family meal. However, I have been reading more and more about what they term “boomerang children”. These are the offspring who leave home, most often in the UK to go and study at a fairly distant university, sometimes finding a job and establishing themselves in a place of their own, and then come bouncing back.

It’s one of the consequences of the cost of renting accommodation and the difficulty of saving up sufficient money to put down a deposit on a house or flat to buy. Another factor is the difficulty graduates have in finding a job that matches their newly acquired qualifications. So, having had a taste of freedom and independence, they have to return home to the parental home, not quite tail between their legs but feeling a bit miffed at not having got away permanently. After all, that is what most of our generation did: we went off to university, got a job and got on with our lives, returning to Mum and Dad for brief visits. Gaining your independence without tears! It was a good system! Our two followed something like the same trajectory, although our daughter did it in a rather roundabout manner.

The trouble with the boomerang children, it seems, is not only that the offspring feel that they have failed to some extent but also that the parents have got used to, and rather resent losing, their own newfound independence. Most have not gone as far as turning the offspring’s bedroom into a gym or office, or in some cases moving house, downsizing because they no longer needed the extra room. However, a large proportion of us/them have got used to being able to do whatever we/they like without taking the offspring into account. And suddenly the offspring are back, and the grocery bills go up, the washing machine gets more use once again and you have to bite your tongue not to complain about mess.

Problems of modern living! But then maybe the parents, who will live longer and longer according to all the theories, can eventually do a sort of reverse boomerang and go and live in their dotage with their offspring. Good grief! That generation could end up with boomerang children AND boomerang parents!

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