As a child development specialist, I tend to be tuned into children everywhere I go. I often regard my own as well as the children of others with a scientific eye, silently evaluating and noting their actions and emotions. Observing adults in this way is not something I often do but on our recent visit to our parents’ houses, I was awed and fascinated with these older grown-ups the same way that an animal behaviorist might take an interest in a species never before studied. Here are just a few of the new facts that I learned about our parent’s generation:
First of all, the grandparent set loves plastic bags, especially of the zipper variety. They also have an odd attachment to paper plates and duct tape. With the use of these three items, there is nothing that can’t be stored, preserved or repaired. This ingenuity comes in handy because they also do not like to throw anything away.
It seems that all knick-knacks are precious. The value of these items is directly proportional to whether or not the gift came from a child (even if that child is let’s say now 38 years old) or if the giver is now deceased (even if let’s say the giver was never actually liked). These treasures must be displayed and kept safe from the roaming of toddler fingers. In the event that one of these whatnots accidentally gets broken, one must not throw it away – no need when there are plastic bags and duct tape available.
Apparently, once you are retired, the body requires very little sleep. An older person can be the last one in the house asleep and the first to rise leaving them capable of reporting every cough and movement of the other sleepers in astonishing detail.
Our parents live in a bubble (possibly made from a Ziploc baggie) called The Way That It Is. Outside of this bubble is Everything Else. Everything Else is different and threatens to force change within the bubble. Everything Else is not welcome because it is not The Way That It Is. There is no perception of our way and your way and their way. Life is simply divided between the worlds of The Way That It Is and Everything Else.
Finally, the older generation loves condiments. No matter what the food, there is a matching condiment. And it is perfectly acceptable to have more than one jar of the same condiment open in the fridge at the same time because condiments last forever, especially when sealed in plastic bags. And that is The Way That It Is.