Salad Onions

I was on my way out of the house when the second eldest of my four daughters asked where I was going; a question I answered with what I thought was perfectly good communication. ‘I am just off to the greengrocers’ I said and prepared to close the door behind me.

‘You are going to the green what?’ shouted my 18 year old offspring as if I had spoken in another language. ‘The greengrocers: the place where you buy fruit and vegetables’. She had not got a clue what I was talking about having only ever experienced the questionable joys of buying ‘greens’ at a supermarket.

Anyway I had no time to explain so I rolled my eyes, in the way that parents do when they have finally realised that they have failed to properly educate their children, and set off on my quest.

Now you need to understand that it is not my intention to confuse my children every time I open my mouth, I just can’t seem to help it. Even though I am as fully engaged with modern life as I can be, I still have a whole library full of words and phrases floating around in my head that have long since been made redundant.

I find it so much easier to say LP rather than CD or Infirmary instead of Hospital. It’s not as if I am trying to hold back time or be intentionally awkward with words and phrases. I just lapse back in to using redundant words.
The number of times I have asked for a Marathon when wanting a peanut chocolate bar only to be stared at by the bubble gum chewing youth waiting by the till.

When I arrived at the ‘greengrocers’ (actually it was a supermarket, which is what I meant all along but used the wrong word) I asked the assistant if they had any spring onions. I had thought that this would be a simple request but I was more than a little put out when she just looked at me and then nudged her teenage pal who was throwing tomatoes into a crate. I had even chosen my words carefully in order not to confuse, by avoiding the term ‘scally onion’, but they were of no help until one of them said, ‘we have salad onions, will they do?’

‘Salad Onions’? What are they trying to do to me? It’s bad enough that they have nine types of tomatoes and fourteen varieties of lettuce on offer but now they are changing the names of my favourite produce. I paid for my goods after answering a multitude of questions at the till. ‘Have you got a loyalty card?’ I was asked, ‘Why, do I need to prove that I am of good character before I can shop?’ The comment was lost on the shop worker so I returned home subdued and hungry.

As I have already protested I am trying my best to be engaged with current culture. I send emails and buy things on the net. I can set up spreadsheets and use a 5 in 1 remote control with limited success. The problem I have is that I just can’t help mixing the old with the new.

My daughters gave me an iPod for Christmas and what a wonderful sound it makes as I walk around the house talking loudly and singing every fifth word. The girls, however, think it is hilarious that I still say that I am listening to a record on my iPod. ‘Dad, they are called tracks not records’.

In a world where the phrase ‘open a window’ no longer means let some air into a room it is easy to get misunderstood. I once told my daughters that I used to score at the local cricket ground when I was a lad. They thought I was telling them a story about taking drugs.

It would seem that long gone are the days when you could buy spring onions from the local greengrocers, therefore I will endeavour to keep up with modern life and use words that are understood today. Now please excuse me because I have to fit some oilcloth in the pantry.