Over there I write about the time passed between when a photograph of a graduation is a photograph of a graduation celebration and the moment when a photograph of a graduation is a father’s opportunity to become a wannabe pedophile in his kids eyes.
The morphing of the time space continuum when distance is measured in light years has a parallel. The parallel is when time is measured in the change in social attitudes. It’s worth examining.
Dashing round the supermarket, a child is heard yelping. Could be it’s lost, though maybe it’s abandoned. The screeching is ear piercing, above the Muzak, drowning out the price checks on dog food and the “security to zone 14″, a zone whose time has come as the latest hot bed of security concern. No rushing security can be seen, more likely a warning to the buyers that ” we are watching.”
The chocolate doughnut has run it’s icing onto the kid’s thumb and forefingers, snot dribbles down it’s left cheek. Tears of a sort fill it’s eyes and drip to the vinyl floor each time the eyes close to bawl. Anne sees none of this in the next aisle but hears the apparent pain. Shoving her trolley forcefully ahead of her, she rounds the aisle end to see the tyke on the floor distressed. With her free hand she scopes the child up onto her hip, as she has done so often with her own saying,
“It’s ok sweetie have you lost your mummy. Don’t worry we’ll soon find her.” The chocolate icing is more liquid than solid by now and traces finger painting steaks right across Anne’s left bosom.
“Don’t worry honey mummy will come soon enough” and Anne’s red hair is delicately tipped with recent snot, though just the ends as in a very good hairdresser’s technique. Nothing stops the whining as they traipse slowly around dry biscuits and into sauces and Asian goods.
“What the fuck you doing with my brat, put her down or I’ll call the cops” bellows down the aisle and probably through half the store.
“That’s where you are you little shit, I told you you’d get lost,” she booms at the kid through her serrated front teeth. She takes a cursory glance at Anne and being twice Anne’s size continues,
“Lay off of my brat if ya know what’s good fer ya!”Anne does know what’s good for her, but contemplates the the correct usage of the term “off of” from such a gutter snipe. Strange how in ignorance correct terminology can come to the fore when least expected.
She puts the kid back down and saying softly,
“Now you go on to your mummy now, it’s all ok”. But the kid knows in the way only a three year old does that things won’t be ok, never were and never will.
“So you leave my fuckin’ kid alone or I’ll have ya up as a kiddie fiddler!
On her way home Anne’s badge of courage, the chocolate streaks on her pristine work uniform raise eyebrows at work, though little sympathy from the mainly gen Y colleagues. It gets her thinking
“What’s changed since I was a kid and when did a mother’s instinct get to be sublimated to a parent’s rights.
And so it’s not about what’s changed it’s about when. That variable time frame. For gutter mouth it’s always been so. Fixed and immutable. Her right to assert her “rights”.
For others it’s more nuanced. Could the change be over the course of a year or maybe two. Then again a decade might have passed. But somehow it seems wrong and it’s only when she thinks back to her parting shot/shrug to gutter mouth that she feels her age,
“I hope you care for her better than you were”