Re­vers­ing of roles in this lock­down limbo

Perthshire Advertiser - - CONT@CTS -

Along with most as­pects of cur­rent life, the par­ent/ child rule book has been turned on its head.

In a bid to rein-back a mod­icum of con­trol, our lock­down life exit strat­egy will un­doubt­edly in­volve the bulk­buy­ing of self-help books, with me at the front of the so­cial­ly­dis­tanced queue.

Bed­time, for in­stance, is a par­tic­u­lar flash­point. It’s tricky to main­tain the moral high ground when you’re be­ing told to ‘stop stay­ing up so late to watch the TV!’

“I’m sorry,” I wail pa­thet­i­cally, “just an­other 10 min­utes, I prom­ise.”

Screen time’s an­other par­ent­ing cross­road. As with the pan­demic’s peak, mine rearedup like Boris’s fabled som­brero and isn’t look­ing like flat­teningout any time soon.

Dis­play­ing all the hall­marks of a des­per­ate ad­dict, my newsjunkie mantra has ac­tu­ally war­ranted the dis­abling of Ap­ple’s help­ful lit­tle on­line weekly report, fear­ful that my ris­ing habit may be pub­licly ex­posed.

But hold on a mo­ment, there’s an iota of so­lace gained from learn­ing I’m not alone.

Tra­di­tion­ally, par­ents wait ner­vously for their off­spring’s re­turn from a late-night dal­liance.

In the crazy world of COVID-2020, roles have re­versed: “My 30-year-old son was track­ing me on the ‘find my phone’ app,” a friend tells me. Said son be­came in­censed - hav­ing plot­ted his par­ents to a shop he felt was ‘unessen­tial’ de­liv­er­ing a rol­lick­ing that night. “I’ve turned off his ac­cess,” she smirked.

Fur­ther heart­en­ing re­ports of dwin­dling stan­dards reach me.

An­other friend, with three un­der 12s, had it pointed out that frozen chips had been served four times that week. “They weren’t com­plain­ing, just ob­serv­ing, but I felt so ashamed.” It was In­dian take­away at their house on Fri­day.

Don’t you just love a kid who laments their broc­coli quota?

Feel­ing guard­edly smug and at­tempt­ing to up the ante on qual­ity fam­ily-time ra­tio, hair dy­ing and false nail ap­pli­ca­tion were mooted.

Er, that’s ‘so not go­ing to hap­pen’.

Zoom class­rooms - the new elec­tronic cat­walk and all the nu­anced so­cial con­form­ity that it en­tails - must now be thor­oughly con­sid­ered. Elec­tric gui­tar’s not easy with ex­tended talons ei­ther, ap­par­ently.

Silly me. I re­turned to the iPad’s sweet em­brace.

But that too comes with its chal­lenges. An­tic­i­pat­ing the dearth of gar­den­ing para­pher­na­lia, at the end of March I plunged into an on­line or­der from a com­pany promis­ing to have my out­door space look­ing like Chelsea Flower Show.

Click, and re­lax.


To cut a long ‘cus­tomer un­sat­is­fac­tion’ story short, they’re “hop­ing” to despatch it by the third week in May. May? Do they not re­alise Scot­land only has eight weeks with­out per­mafrost and two of those are in May?!

Look­ing on the bright side, win­ter coats are a mag­nif­i­cent bar­gain, ar­riv­ing within four days, amid a bl­iz­zard of help­ful track­ing mes­sages, texts and discount codes for fu­ture pur­chases.

Ev­ery­thing’s up­side down, but, of course, I do un­der­stand that it’s all sup­ply and de­mand.

An­tic­i­pat­ing a bed full of blooms only height­ens the ex­cite­ment of my per­sonal marsh­mal­low chal­lenge and, should so­ci­ety soon be al­lowed more coun­try­side ac­cess, it’s a com­fort to know that we’ll have the pre­req­ui­site goose-down at our dis­posal for a balmy Scot­tish, spring evening.

It re­mains to be seen if midges will keep the re­quired so­cial dis­tance.

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