Mothers’ Day

“Dear Son, Here is a piece of sound advice to see you through your life: Biting the nipple that feeds you is generally considered to be bad form.”

Today is mothers’ day in Argentina. Historically the mother-son bond has been the rock upon which society has teetered, and to this day mothers continue to have an elevated status, so mothers day is a huge event. These days of course it has been hijacked by the multi-national corporation; people spend ridiculous amounts of money on presents, and then spend all year paying back the credit. In fact in the newest shopping centre in Córdoba there is even a shop named “Edipo”, which I can’t imagine would be a selling point anywhere else in the world.

Leaving aside cynical commercial exploitation of the Oedipus complex, the day does have some nice aspects in recognising the importance of family and the woman’s role in the family. It is celebrated in forms both traditional; from several generations of a family round a table sharing a meal, to complete strangers stopping in the street to wish each other “feliz día”; and modern; sending and receiving text-messages and emails with friends.

The other theme of this week is contrasts… the season has leapt from winter woollies, to summer sweltering, without pausing for breath in the middle. Spring and Autumn seem to be optional add-ons around here. Joni is going around in his nappy, with the rest of us wishing we had such liberty. I am reminded that I come from a climate whose central feature is tepid. I like tepid. I know what to do with tepid. I wonder if our tepid island climate is partly what gives the British our characteristic distrust of extremes; we know about living with grey, it hangs over our major cities. Conversely, there are currently other areas of our daily experience where restoring some black and white from the grey fuzz would be no bad thing… night-day, light-dark, awake-asleep… funny how we don’t know how much we appreciate something until it goes missing…. Martin is wondering if we can download an upgrade module to include a volume control and a stand-by mode.

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