Giving in to pester power

2009-06-02 00:00

THE glossy lifestyle magazines would have us believe that “60 is the new 40”. If that’s the case, then I am now officially 30.

To prove it, I have some orange hair dye and a set of those flashing “bunny ears” they sell at the Royal Show. Only mine are more sophisticated than the show variety — they’re pink and fluffy. If you’re wondering how my newly 30-year-old wardrobe comes to include such exotica, some friends gave me a semi-surprise birthday party. I say “semi” because I knew something was brewing, but not what, nor with whom.

If our friends reflect something about ourselves, then I am independent-minded, strong, intelligent, creative and a little alternative. I suspect my beloved’s exasperated interpretation might sometimes be “stubborn, difficult, far too clever for your own good and just plain peculiar”. However, that’s a story for another day, if it ever comes. It’ll be called “Take a spouse to work day” or “Let your spouse loose on your PC day” or maybe “Trading places day”. And you know how much chance there is of that ...

Talking about the show, we finally gave in to what marketers call “pester power” and took our own “pesterers” to the fun fair for the first time this year. I must confess to being very relieved that there wasn’t really much “fun” about it. In fact, far from it. (Is that cheering I hear from other parents?)

We launched the children into the experience very sedately, on the big wheel. Naaaaaaaaah, they said, boring. Jason loved the paintball shooting range and the flying rockets. Then they were ready for bigger stuff.

Sadly or gladly, depending on who you are, Jason didn’t get any further than the twirling teacups. Another occupant of his cup threw up and he was sitting downwind so caught the splatter. And that was the end of a budding relationship with adrenalin rushing. He decided not to test the vomit-inducing capacities of any more rides.

Sticking with my new motto for being 30 — “Go big or go home”, I agreed to accompany Anna on the free fall ride. Fortunately, I didn’t have to fall for long. My beloved had to ask the operator to stop and let us off. Anna looked as though she was about to faint or vomit or maybe both. It couldn’t have been too soon for me. It was exactly like having a tooth drilled by a dentist — the best thing about it is when it stops. For someone with control issues it was not fun at all, but downright horrible. Looking decidedly pale and ill, Anna also decided she’d had enough. We retreated to safer territory.

In future, we agreed, we’ll stick to the equipment exhibits as Jason couldn’t get enough of the tractors, the livestock, which Anna loves, if we get to see it, and the numerous toy and trinket sellers (curse them). Surprisingly, the craft hall was also a big hit. Watching a computer-driven sewing machine doing embroidery was a highlight for our two members of the technological generation.

We also agreed never again to visit the show on the last Sunday. Too many of the stalls and exhibits were already closed and we and a crowd of other families were unceremoniously chased out of the rabbit hall. I suppose I should be grateful that we aren’t now being pestered to keep rabbits as well as hamsters.

I want to end where I started, with turning 30. Recently, I bemoaned the (lack of) customer service at our local shopping emporium. As a birthday gift, I received several mall gift vouchers and you know what that means ... mall shop owners be warned: another Gilroy shopping expedition is in the offing.

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