Rarely do I talk about my colleagues. It’s not that I don’t have interaction with them, it’s more to do with the worry that if one of them ever comes across this blog, there may be negative repercussions for me. Personally I don’t find the description ‘settled suburbanites’ insulting. But people can be sensitive out here in the industrial wastelands.
Having given that disclaimer, I am now going to describe my breakfast. I was early, so I toddled downstairs for food. This morning I decided to live dangerously, so I added a bowl of porridge to my usual meal of a slice of toast and a boiled egg.
After paying, I looked around and saw the group of people I usually sit with for our canteen’s fine dining.
As already mentioned, my colleagues are all living in suburbia. All are parents, and have offspring ranging in age from babies to teenagers.
Well teenagers in Ireland have a rite of passage these days called a ‘debs’. Essentially this is what Americans would call a ‘prom’.
Just after secondary school finishes, the classmates reunite for one final fling before their lives blow them to the four winds – college, apprenticeship, work, parenthood, emigration… These eighteen year olds dress in finery, and dance and eat and drink (and in many cases lose their virginity in a drunken blur).
One female colleague was describing her son’s recent debs ball. He took a girl. He wore a suit. They probably shimmered with youth and beauty. She was joking about how amusing it was to see how all the eighteen year old boys (even though they are technically men, as they are barely out of school, it’s easier to think of them as boys) were dressed in uniform – skinny, tight blue suits seem to be the current fashion.
Another colleague (a guy who started only three weeks ago) was laughing in agreement. He’s a middle aged man with two teenage sons and he hails from the midlands. Every day he drives to the wastelands for work.
He commented about how things have changed since his day, and how boys these days are far more conscious of their appearance.
‘They behave like girls. Boys down the country behaving like that?’ he chortled. The table chuckled in agreement.
‘Not that there’s anything wrong with taking care of your appearance,’ continued our hero.
He clearly knows you can’t call someone a ‘faggot’ at work these days.
Another woman who was finishing her pot of morning yoghurt felt the need to interrupt.
‘Well did you read about that theme-park in America, where a three year old boy wasn’t allowed go to a party dressed as Princess Elsa from ‘Frozen’?’
‘No’ we all replied.
‘They said that he couldn’t because he’s a boy. I mean that’s unfair, if a three year old girl wanted to go dressed as Peter Pan, no-one would bat an eyelid.’
We all nodded our heads in wise agreement.
‘I mean he’s only three. It doesn’t mean that he’s gay or transgender or something.’
Where, oh where could this be heading?
‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that,’ she hastily clarified.
‘Oh no’ we piously nodded
When it was as clear as the nose on their faces that there was definitely something with ‘that’. Maybe nothing majorly wrong. But something a bit off for certain.
There was nothing I could say.
I pity their children.