Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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There’s still time to discover another generation gap before The Bells

Not long now till The Bells, midnight New Year’s Eve, and the arrival of next year, yay! I’ll be checking my watch to start the countdown, cocking my head to one side and pivoting my outer ear like a hound to catch the peals from the nearest bell tower over hard grime from downstairs and explosions from above, but it seems my millennials have turned Hogmanay into Hogmamobile. Witness this week’s kitchen chat.

“Guess what?” says Middle. “Someone just stopped me in the street and asked me what the time was.”

And? Sounds unremarkable to me, but his pal sitting across from him at the kitchen table is intrigued.

“Yeah, that’s happened to me as well!” he says in confirmation. “More than once.”

Middle says “Imagine, not having a ….”

“Watch?” I say (so last century).

“...phone.”

“Well you often don’t have your phone,” I point out.

“Yeah, but I’ve always been online or near a screen so I know roughly what the time is.”

And the pair of them muse about people who drift around without a digital display keeping them on schedule. Above them the kitchen clock ticks away the seconds with its friendly anachronistic tock and I wonder if I’m the only one who uses it.

“It used to be if someone asked you if you had the time in the street, it was a chat up line,” I say.

Blank looks.

“Because everyone had a watch,” I explain, as Eldest comes in the room, clocking the time on the cooker – he’s due somewhere else – but there’s always time to squeeze in another feed.

“Or it was, you know… a prostitute thing…” I say.

“Nah,” says Eldest, “a prostitute stopped me last time I was in Aberdeen and just asked me if I wanted to have sex, didn’t mention the time,” he says.

“When was this?” I say, outraged, he’s just a … oh, an adult. Time has caught up with us. Still, hmmph.

“Late at night. I just said no thank you,” and he exits, snack in hand.

So… well, anyway... However you keep track of time, Happy New Year, Happy Hogmanay, Happy Hogmamobile, whichever rings your bell.