Mum's the word - Generation Covid forced to grow up fast

Many of our frontline workers are the youngest members of society

Generation Covid will be like no other

The teenager sitting at the supermarket checkout looks cheesed off. It’s evening and quiet now and he has a thousand mile stare as he gazes glumly into the distance while swiping my shopping. No wonder, he’s sitting in the firing line of a pandemic.

The cheery checkout script of ‘how has your day been?’ and ‘ooh is this what you’re having for your tea?’ no longer applies as The ‘Vid diverts the usual conversational avenues into cul de sacs.

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Most people’s days have been a bit rubbish, at best safe, boring or busy, at worst grim and gruesome. Best not to risk customers responding with an honest update on death, disease and redundancy.

And ‘is this what you’re having for your tea?’ doesn’t work with Cheesy Pasta, bleach and socks to turn into facemasks, ‘cos I’ve told Youngest Child making our own WILL be more fun.

I feel sorry for him and his generation. I remember the freedoms I was enjoying at his age, when we thought going to parties, gigs and the footie were a matter of life and death. For his generation they really are. Not only that, but they’re risking their health for the benefit of others as they step up to help fight the pandemic.

Their coming of age isn’t panning out as planned. Exams have been cancelled, future study and work thrown into uncertainty, and as for any hedonistic summer blow outs, with music festivals postponed and weeks with mates in Maga cancelled, the most excitement they can look forward to of a weekend is a Zoom quiz or the diminishing return of their latest TikTok post being liked. It’s like they’ve been hijacked into adulthood, bypassing the crazy fun bit in between. Admittedly there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing your teens are safe in lockdown rather than locked up, but best keep that thought to yourself, killjoy.

I’d chat to checkout teen, but being patronised by an old dear is probably piling on the misery so as I pull my rucksack on my shoulder I say, “Well, thank you for being here”. His glazed stare snaps and he focuses on me, there’s eye contact and then a grin splits his face that’s worth 1,000 smiley face emojis on a screen. Generation Covid will be like none that has gone before.