Saturday, 19 October 2019

Role-playing. And generational differences,

On a Saturday morning my son usually walks his 5-year-old daughter down into the town centre for breakfast, leaving his wife to have a bit of lie-in. So in his absence the small girl and I did the walk down together. I have accompanied them on is breakfast adventure before so I know the routine: a flat white for me, a babycino for the small girl, a plain croissant each and a pain au chocolat to share. A babycino, by the way, or perhaps a babiccino in line with a cappuccino, is basically a small cup or frothed milk with chocolate powder sprinkled on top. A generation used to getting their cappuccino to order have brought up their tiny people to appreciate a small person’s version without the coffee. Who knew such a thing existed?

On the walk down I tried to engage the small girl in proper conversation about the stuff we could see en route - plants, flowers, interesting buildings, planes in the sky, etc. This worked quite well but every so often we had to get into “in the game” mode. Thismeant that we were part of a group of schoolchildren on a “reward” visit to a cafe for having been generally good and hard working. I had to be Louisa Amy Pickles and she was Freya Charlotte Nobbs. I was told off if I forgot and reverted into general conversation mode.

When we went into the park later, still in “in the game” mode, I realised what some of this was based on. She welcomed me to “Heartlake Park” not its real name by any means but borrowed from Lego Friends - Heartlake City. I have found out that there is a computer game for children, “Heartlake Rush where you will play with Andrea, Mia, Olivia, Emma, Stephanie and a bunch of their LEGO friends.” As far as I know our granddaughter has not played the game but she has watched episodes of a series on Netflix involving these Lego Friends characters - all high achieving girls but nonetheless very feminine, perhaps a little too concerned with fashion and singing for my liking. So it goes.

The generation thing is interesting. Here is the start of a article in today’s Guardian:
 “As a member of Generation X, I naturally derive much of my self-esteem from reflecting on the fact that I’m neither older nor younger than I am. On one hand, the baby boomers’ ruination of the planet (and the property market) was well under way before I’d even learned to ride a bike. On the other, not being a millennial or Z-er, at least I learned to ride a bike, rather than spending my childhood in a darkened room staring at a screen in preparation for a career writing articles explaining to my elders why the films they liked as teenagers were actually horribly problematic. In short, I have examined the evidence for the merits of each generation, and reached the dispassionate conclusion that mine is best.”

Here’s a link for those who want to read the rest of it.

I get a little peeved at baby boomers being blamed for all sorts of today’s ills - including the result of the Brexit referendum. Personally, I do not consider myself to blame. To some extent we were set up by our parents’ generation, who after all were the ones who started buying council houses! However, I can see that each generation considers itself the best. And ours may well have been the most fortunate - no university fees to pay, no student debt. We may not have had the best TV programmes but I still consider we probably had the best music.

I commented recently, and happily, about the making of proper spacesuits for women. Today I read that two Nasa astronauts were the first all female spacewalk team yesterday. They should have done it seven months ago but at the time there was only one medium-sized suit available and presumably that one was made for a medium-sized man rather than specifically for a woman. Progress in equality stuff.

Less good news. A second whale has been found dead in the Thames, near the place where a humpback died just over a week ago.why are whales suddenly going up the Thames to die. Two in the space of just over a week are two too many.

There’s a section of the weekend paper called “You’re the expert”, where readers send in queries about how to solve problems and other readers offer solutions. Today’s query is “How can I throw a Halloween Party for 11-year-old girls on a budget - and still make sure it goes with a bang?” I couldn’t be bothered to read the suggestions, apart from spotting the suggestion that the participants make their own costumes put of paper and sticky tape. An excellent idea, by the way, as apparently masses of plastic is used and wasted on pre-made Hallowe’en costumes.

No, other things struck me. First of all, I object to Hallowe’en losing its apostrophe and becoming Halloween. And then, even more, I still fail to understand how Hallowe’en became such a big business that card manufacturers produce greeting cards and there is a whole host of producers of Hallowe’en related fancy dress stuff. When did it become SO important. But most all, why is my mobile phone network provider sending me emails like this one? “Halloween is just around the corner and we come bearing treats.”

 I just want them to provide me with a good service. Whether or not I celebrate a possibly pagan festival has nothing to do with it.

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