In a world that was constantly changing, Sarah was beginning to feel like a grumpy old woman
“Aargh!” Sarah cried in frustration.
“What is it, Gran?” Libby appeared in the doorway.
“I can’t get into my account. My browser’s been updated and I’ve got to do new stuff. Why, oh why can’t they leave things alone?”
“Here, let me have a go.” Libby stood by the side of her chair and took over the mouse. “There you go,” she said after a couple of clicks. “Simple enough.”
“To you, maybe,” Sarah snorted. “I can’t keep up with this changing world. The goal posts keep moving.”
“You poor old person.”
Libby kissed the top of her head. She wasn’t that old – she was ages away from her pension! “It’s exciting when things change,” Libby said. “Otherwise life would be boring.”
Sarah tried her best not to lose touch with society, and having her fourteen-year-old granddaughter live with her meant that she had to keep up to speed with technology and culture.
“Although sometimes the effort is exhausting,” she confessed to her best friend Rose when they met for coffee at The Blue Bean on the High Street later.
“I don’t know why things can’t stay the same. They keep moving the goal posts – the state pension age, the interest rate on my savings account, how many points I get on my loyalty card.”
“Who are ‘they’?” Rose asked.
“What do you mean?”
“The goal post movers – the GPMs. Maybe they come out at night.”
“Can you apply for a job with them?” Sarah asked. “It’s an expanding industry.”
She chuckled at the idea of little men scurrying out of their homes under the cover of darkness and moving goal posts so that when you woke up in the morning everything had changed and people were having fits of frustration because of it.
“I don’t want to be a grumpy old woman,” Sarah said stirring her coffee.
“Nobody does,” Rose agreed. “But maybe it comes with the territory. When you’ve experienced a different way of doing things – often a better way – then you’re allowed to draw a comparison, even if it does make you sound grumpy.”
“Lib, do you think I’m a grumpy old woman?” Sarah asked her granddaughter later.
“’Course not Gran,” came the answer which made her feel better until Libby added, “But you are a bit reactionary. You don’t like change. Don’t worry. Old people are like that.”
That night as she lay in bed, Sarah thought of the GPMs coming out of their houses in their hard hats and lining up to receive instructions on which goal posts required moving overnight…
“Listen up guys!” the supervisor in a yellow hard hat and holding a clipboard said. “It’s a big night tonight – lots of extra movements which is why we’ve hired some new workers.
“Show them the ropes. We’ve got banks, utility companies, phone contracts, TV contracts and, of course, the biggies – broadband deals and internet updates. Maximum frustration and confusion is the goal.”
Sarah chuckled to herself, rolled over and turned out the light. Who knows what chaos would ensue in the morning?
She had to go to the supermarket the next day. The first thing she noticed was that many of the shelves had been rearranged. She sighed.
“I notice the GPMs have been busy overnight,” she said to the young male shelf stacker.
He looked at her, confused.
“The goal post movers,” she said. “You probably won’t start worrying about them until you’re older.”
“Er, OK,” he said, unsure, and turned away to pay concentrated attention to the toilet rolls he was stacking.
Then, in the café, there was a large notice saying they were trying out some new coffee beans and would she like to taste them?
“No thanks,” she said, tightly. Honestly, was there no end to it?
She decided she wouldn’t say anything to Libby at the end of the day, not wanting to be thought of as a reactionary, against the times grumpy old woman.
She was stirring the bolognese on the stove when Libby came stomping in through the kitchen door and threw down her satchel on a chair.
“What’s up Lib?” she asked, catching the teenager’s mood.
“Would you believe it?” her granddaughter fumed. “They’ve changed the bus route home. They say it’s more efficient to drop off the Hayward Park lot first, which means we have to sit on that smelly thing for twenty minutes longer. Ugh, it ruins my day!”
She suddenly stopped her rant. “What?” she said, catching the look on Sarah’s face.
“Looks like the GPMs have been in action overnight.”
“The GPMs – the goal post movers. So, you don’t like change either sometimes?” Sarah teased.
For a moment Libby looked like she was going to protest. Instead she shrugged.
“I guess.” Then she smiled. “You’re cool, Gran.”
“Yep.” Sarah smiled too. “Not bad for an old person.”
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