Letters to a Sister : 13

This has been a fairly quiet week, the most eventful thing being Son’s graduation ceremony.

Before we went, we had to take younger son’s duvet to Morrisons to be washed. It has been sealed in a black bin bag since he got home from uni – trust me, it needed to be washed. When he removed it from the cover, a shower of feathers fell over the floor. We could not find an obvious hole, but it is clearly leaking. I cannot believe this will end well. Gave receipt to unsuspecting husband. When he collects his cleaning he can also collect empty duvet sack and a bill for having broken Morrisons washing machine with feathers.

But I digress. As I say, this week was Son’s graduation so we drove North. Stayed over night in a Premier Inn. I must say, I really like Premier Inns. They have nothing you don’t need, are reasonably priced and always seem clean and welcoming. The food is just ‘normal’, nothing special but not cheap rubbish – a few brand names go a long way with food. I like them.

The day of the graduation was sunny. A lot like the day, three years ago, when he first looked round the uni. He assures me that it has rained every single one of the days inbetween. I think he is lying.

The whole world was at the graduation, they are certainly a ‘multi cultural’ place. I eavesdropped a few Mandarin conversations but resisted the urge to join in (there is a level of ‘odd’ that my children will not accept from me. I have learnt this.)

Also a range of types of people. There were those in posh clothes, with posh voices, who walked around like they ruled the world and everyone was in their way. Then there was the man we sat behind, who had no suit, wore a baseball cap throughout but was clearly excited to be there, took copious photographs and was quite emotional when his child went forward. I know which people I prefer.

I was somewhat surprised, when needing the loo, to discover they have ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘gender-neutral’ toilets at uni these days. Apparently gender is now a spectrum. I am completely comfortable that I am well within the ‘female’ end of the gender spectrum (I only have issues when deciding on gender for my cats, not humans.) However, I do think they are a good idea. Not as an extra option – anyone using them would get peered at I suspect, but why do we need gender separate toilets anyway? I am quite modest but I cannot think that peeing in a cubicle, completely hidden but next to a bloke in his own cubicle, would cause me any problems. It would also have made life a lot easier when my boys reached that age where they did not want to go into the ‘Ladies’ with me but I felt they were too young to go into the pervert ridden Gents on their own.

Son looked suitably handsome in his cap and gown. He got cross with how many photos I took and banned me. Had to take sneaky ones of his back after that.I have lots.

The ceremony began with a procession of dignitaries who walked to the front and then sat facing the audience. They all looked splendid in their colourful gowns and caps. Except for one. Who was the man who wore a checked shirt and no tie under his gown? He sat slumped in his chair, clearly unhappy to be there. Was he a stand in? Did they drag him from an afternoon in his garden when they had a no show? Not that he wasted the time, using it to give his ears a good clean out. Thankfully he left his nose alone – left the nose picking to the camera man at the back of the stage. Honestly, someone should tell people that IF they are on a stage facing 200 strangers, that is NOT the best time for face picking. Of any kind.

However, when the ceremony began, Professor Checked Shirt gave the most beautiful smile to the graduands, full of affection. All was forgiven in that instant and I decided I liked him after all.

I did not however, like the man who sat next to me. He did not clap for a single graduand and even, at one point during the ceremony, opened a bottle of water and had a drink. His wife had obviously tried though. She had matched her lipstick, eye-shadow and nails perfectly with her purple mobile phone. Not quite my thing but she had made an effort at least.

I was surprised by how young the graduands were. It was only yesterday that we were that age, all grown up, knowing everything and ready to conquer the world. The only real difference was that these graduands were requested to not take selfies when they accepted their certificates. Not a problem for us. Not sure mobile phones even existed.

Perhaps we are getting old after all. Though I feel exactly the same. Except I know less now than I did when I was in my twenties.

Take care,
Anne x

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