Monday, 23 November 2009
A dish eaten cold
It’s 1975. Aberdeen. The beginning of the school year. My daughter needs new shoes. I take her into town. We visit many shoe shops and the silences between us grow longer, the tension mounts higher in each shop. The problem is that we’re not rich and I want her to have shoes that’ll withstand the rigours of school playgrounds whereas she wants things with sparkly bits on them. The expedition ends with nothing having been bought, a ride home in a simmering silence shot through with electric menace, and a resolution on my part never ever to go near a shop with her again.
Now it’s 2007. Brighton. The beginning of another school year. My daughter, who now has four children of her own, needs to get shoes for the eldest. I accompany them. My daughter is far more reasonable than I am as her efforts to persuade her daughter to accept sensible shoes are met with downcast eyes and ‘proofs’ that they’re ugly and that the sparkly ones would be a much better investment. This time, I’m in the sparkly camp. The expedition ends shoeless and in relative silence, broken only by my barely-suppressed, self-satisfied chuckles.
I always liked schadenfreude but when it has a personal twist, it’s even more profoundly satisfying. Grandchildren are a parent’s revenge.
The picture, by the way, is of a 'Garbo' by Carvela which retails at a very reasonable £150. (Aye, right.)