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Monday, December 25, 2006

Standards of behaviour

One of the many rules about polite society, is not eating in public. After all, only the working classes behave in such a manner, either because they don’t know any better or because of inadequate labour laws, whereby they are not permitted lunch breaks. Everyone else, no matter how busy, should stop what they are doing and be seated to eat. It’s a simple rule but one that seems to have disappeared from modern living. Eat and be static, how difficult is that? I am given to understand that in America, there is no such thing as class, and whilst I’m inclined to agree with such an assertion, class is immaterial when it comes to good manners.

It is a particularly disgusting and vile habit, to walk around the streets stuffing food into your mouth. How can people do such a thing? Eating and drinking are one of the rare ‘activities’ that require the participant to be seated. It is any wonder that America has the highest sales of antacids and digestive relief’s. They could save themselves a stash if they’d only sit down to eat for half an hour. A half an hour to eat, half an hour to walk it off. Everyone would be cured and fitter. There again, since the average American lunch hour is more usually 20 minutes, I detect an insoluble discrepancy.

Whilst I’m on the subject, what about those reprobates who permit their children to eat food off the shelves in grocery stores before they’ve paid for it! It’s a public disgrace. Who do they think they are? Unhygienic and put quite simply, theft. Can’t they wait five minutes until they’ve paid? How about waiting a few more minutes until they get home? Are they so malnourished that they will expire during the delay? This kind of instant gratification will be the downfall of the youth of today. If my mother had ever found that I had behaved in such a manner, she’d have washed my mouth out with soap and sent to me to bed, even earlier than usual, and a good thing too. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without such guidance. But what of this lost generation?

I herd my own children around the supermarket, each holding their respective list in their hot little hands. In transit, following in their wake, I hurl in anything that I can lay my hands on, that looks vaguely edible, as I don’t want to break the flow. They toss in each of their three items as we progress through the aisles. I allow them to choose a ‘treat’ each. They all scarper in different directions, leaving me alone with my over burdened trolly. [translation = cart]

Whilst I await their return, and my stamp of approval on their choices, I examine the contents of the trolly. I try to visualize potential meals that I can prepare from the ingredients. Bananas and ?…… never mind. Pastry and ?……something will come to me soon. Tomatoes and ….yes I have lettuce to go with it. Perhaps a quiche and salad?

They gather together breathlessly in an excited heap. She had chosen ice-cream, no great surprise there. He has chosen string cheese, no doubt inspired by one of his fellow pupils at class. Junior proffers a box of squeezy yoghourts. I baulk and bark, “no squeezy yoghourts, disgusting, foul American invention.” He pulls a face, “but I need them!” he pleads.
“Why, what’s wrong with yoghourt in an ordinary little pot at half the price?”
“Because I am the fast one.”
“Who said you were the fast one?”
“I do! I did! I am.”
“O.k. So what has ‘being the fast one,’ have to do with buying very expensive squeezy yoghourts?”
“Because day are ‘portable,’ which is meaning dat you can eat dem and run at the same time.” I look at his earnest face. Duped! An advertisers dream. I contemplate. How to give him something desirable, in his case a
narrow range of edibles yet avoid
compliance myself?

I pick up a banana, and peel down the skin,
“here, try running and eating that.
Give it a test drive.
Tell me if it’s portable too?”

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