Petty Crime for the 21st Century

The way we shop has changed – along with the way we steal.

My mother shopped every day, sometimes more than once. She would take her shopping bag and buy just what she needed for the meal or recipe – a couple of slices of this, a few scoops of that. This type of shopping made it difficult to steal because you were served by a counter assistant on a one-to-one basis.

Stealing relied on sleight of hand skills and misdirection. You could ask for something on a high shelf, for example, and while the assistant wasn’t looking, items could be pocketed. You could use an accomplice too – this helps with misdirection, and while there were no CCTV cameras or smart tags, the risk was direct and personal.

I know of people who are nostalgic for such days; they miss the thrill, the adrenaline rush, the risk of shame and humiliation. Even when there was no criminal intent, this was present; the shop assistant knew exactly what you were buying – pornographic material, condoms or ointments for thrush.

Perhaps because of the personal interaction element, the embarrassment factor or the need for privacy, shopping changed, and along with it, the crime.

Supermarkets introduced baskets, trolleys and check-outs. The thief only had to put items in a pocket or otherwise avoid the check-out till. Shopping was much faster and less embarrassing, but so was shop-lifting.

It is possible that the losses, at least to some extent, would be offset by the savings in reduced staffing levels and relying on technology like CCTV.

But people are inventive, and with each new innovation in shopping comes an innovation in crime.

Today, we have the Self-Service-Checkout.

Thieves must be delighted with this – it makes everything so much easier and less risky. If caught, one can simply say it was an innocent error.

George Charles of VoucherCodesPro.co.uk carried out a survey of 2,634 people aged 18 and over about their shopping habits and use of self service checkouts.

About 19 per cent said they stole from Self -Service-Checkouts – and the majority said they stole regularly.

Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511m last year, 166 per cent higher than five years ago.”

Of course, this generates more vigilance – usually in CCTV at this area, but what if there was a way to go undetected by CCTV?

Well, it seems that there is a way. I was recently told of a popular method to rob a store blind while appearing to do everything properly and honestly.

Here’s how it works:

You do not scan your expensive steak, instead you turn the barcode from the scanner, and weigh it on the scales instead. You select a cheaper item – so instead of paying for steak, you pay for apples or a potato or something about the right weight. This allows you to put the item into the scaled bagging area, where it will be expected.

Nothing looks amiss; on the CCTV, you have scanned everything, and no alarms have been sounded. You pass through the door scanners too – you have a receipt, so you can even return items later. Everything appears above board.

So what can the shops do?

The answer to that might just be from Amazon – the new Amazon Go shops.

This idea seems a way to stop stealing – but on the other hand, it removes ALL the people – these stores do not need the same numbers of CCTV and store security personnel – and no till operators. Even if they are not foolproof (remember with each innovation comes innovation in crime), the saving in not paying staff might make it worth it.

I saw this with Uber recently too – they are having problems with trades unions and worker rights to the extent that they are heading down the driver-less car route.

The summary upshot and bottom line is that – as a result of petty crime over the years, the drive has been away from employees toward technology. The removal of people is what is going on. Less jobs, less face-to-face interaction, less embarrassment, less risk, and fewer thrills. Online shopping, cashless, credit cards and mobile smartphones, have heralded a new future where people are diminished in favour of technology.

I’m not sure I can make sense of this future – fewer jobs for people usually means fewer employed earners that are shoppers. We are being sold a future where we can shop without a queue and get a driver-less taxi, but can that be true? Will this only be for those few with jobs?

And what of those people with no jobs? Will they create an alt-society? Or will they innovate new criminal ways as before?

Only time will tell.

Sexism and Politics

The Trump sexism thing has really blown up.

Recently, the Washington Post found and shared a secretly recorded conversation (from 11 years ago) between Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush and Donald Trump. They were both lewd and Trump boasted that he can do anything he wants to women because he’s a television star – including “grabbing them by the pussy.”

Since then Trump has become the US Republican Presidential Nominee, so it’s a big deal – right? Sexism loses votes – doesn’t it?

I am not sure because of what happened in Australia with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, and the famous “Misogyny Speech” given by Julia Gillard on 9th October 2012.

At that time Julia Gillard was Australia’s first female Prime Minister (from 2010-2013), and she suffered a lot of lewd comments every single day as leader of the Labor Party and as PM. She was very often openly called a bitch and a witch, and widely mocked in the media. Her hair and clothes were always being commented upon, and all of it was about her gender – not her results, leadership, effective governance, debating style, intellect or politics. And she put up with it every day until she snapped and made the speech that went viral on the internet.

In this famous speech in parliament, she directly faced Tony Abbott – the Leader of the Opposition sitting across the forum – and let loose. She did not miss. She listed all the things he had said and done to her right to his face. It was a roast.

“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man; I will not.”
– PM Julia Gillard about Tony Abbott

Gillard described comments by François Hollande and Helle Thorning-Schmidt: “The president of France congratulated me on the speech, as did the Prime Minister of Denmark, and some other leaders, just casually as I’ve moved around, have also mentioned it to me.” US President Barack Obama reportedly complimented Gillard on the speech in a private conversation following his re-election, and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, praised the speech as “very striking” with Gillard going “chapter and verse.”

Some dictionaries updated their definition of “misogyny”  from “hatred of women” to the broader “entrenched prejudices of women.”

This was a Big Deal – Global leaders’ support, viral video, dictionary redefinitions, massive support and encouragement… so what happened next?

Well, Tony Abbott got over his roast, everyone forgave him for the sexist comments he made and his world-famous misogyny… and he became Prime Minister of Australia from 2013 -2015.

So, hey, it’s just the way men talk, it’s Locker Room Banter; all bravado and silliness. Boys will be boys, eh?

And clearly perfectly natural, totally forgivable and totally forgettable.

 

 

Bereavement and The Work’s Phone

I heard that James had died. It was sudden and unexpected. Everyone in the office was astonished – and then felt sad for his family. His daughter’s wedding day was near.

It had nothing to do with us, but someone at Head Office would have to sort out everything. The company car, mobile phone, clear his desk, do something with his e-mail and hard drive and who-knows-what-else – all would need to be dealt with as soon as possible to allow his family and friends to get on.

It’s not too callous, I hope, but the workload increased, and we were all too busy to dwell on such things.

Time passes quickly, and the company recruited a few new people who had never known James. I thought Alan was one of them, but it turned out that he did know James – and that he had worked at this company with James for years, many years ago.

Alan went through the usual forms and inductions, and was given a company phone, car and a desk with a laptop. Nothing unusual in all of this until last week.

Last week he started receiving weird phone calls from a sobbing woman. After a while he discovered that it was James’s daughter.

The company had given Alan James’s old phone and phone number, and James’s daughter had been regularly calling to hear her dad’s voicemail message – to hear his voice. This was a comfort to her. She’d been talking to him, leaving long and emotional messages about her wedding and then about her pregnancy.

When Alan answered, she got such a fright. She then realised that Alan could hear back her very personal messages – and that she would never again hear her daddy’s voice because Alan had erased the outgoing message with his own.

Of course, Alan, immediately erased all her recordings, and apologised as best he could.

Surely there ought to be some kind of procedure for this sort of thing? Something better than what happened here.

Is it better that Alan knew her, that he knew and worked with James? Or would it have been better had he been a complete new start to the firm?

A modern world brings modern ails.

 

Painful Admissions

“It’s Health and Safety gone mad”.

I hear that phrase a lot on telly and radio. But I really do get a lot of Health and Safety stuff at work. Most companies are pretty good these days – there are CSCS cards and other site safety measures, including risk assessments and toolbox talks. It’s all common sense and routine for the large part.

I admit that it mostly doesn’t apply to us suit-wearers in a remote office situation, but we still have to try to follow the same rules. We have monthly meetings in the big boardroom on Health and Safety that are, frankly, quite bizarre.

At one of these, the only female raised a major safety issue with an Incident Report because she went into the small office kitchen to make a cup of coffee, and slipped on what-she-described-in-the-documentation-as a “Branston Pickle” that some other kitchen user had dropped on the floor and failed to clean up in the course of making a sandwich at lunchtime.

I was telling this one to a chap just last week. This chap was returning to work for the company after a three-year spell of self-employment that didn’t work out. He laughed, but then recalled other tales of years gone by.

Apparently one of our co-workers had raised his hand at one of these Health and Safety meetings to draw attention to the fact that company car boot lids could be dangerous; he reported that he had accidentally shut the lid on his own head earlier that morning.  In fact he had completed the incident form and wanted to send it in as an incident.

Yes; he was grassing himself up for being dangerous to… himself!

OK. I laughed. But wait, I was told, there is more to this – at the following month’s Health and Safety meeting, the co-worker raised his hand and wanted to draw attention to the dangers of hitting one’s head on the company car boot lid.

Everyone remembered this from before, and as they muttered dismissively, the foreman showed us his bandaged head. That’s right; he had done it again.

And once again he had completed the forms reporting the incident officially.

One more strike, and he would be in danger of losing his job.

 

Summer Better Than Others

There is a heatwave in Glasgow presently. It’s Not Good. It’s uncomfortable in too many ways. It is certainly not a feast for the eyes. A holiday this is not.

Days of relentless sunshine have taken their toll on Weegies and their usual activities. The bums who drink cheap wine and superlagers in the public parks year round now have to contend with families and pets, and vice versa.

Everyone is sunburned or tanned to a burnished mahogany.

As a man, the thing that gets me is that females whittle clothing down to a risqué minimum and then, as they mince around or lounge about on bits of grass, frown at you for having the audacity to glance at them during a scan survey of possible places to set up camp with the family.

I am genuinely not interested in lusting after their bodies, and would prefer it if they either stopped dressing like that, or stopped trying to make me feel guilty. Their frowns and eye rolling compete with my eye rolling, sad head shake, and exasperated tutting.

The truth is that my eyesight is not what it was. But they won’t know that. In addition, I am happily married and perfectly satisfied, so I would like to be left in peace and equilibrium.

Then there are those women who wear veils and black gowns. Why are they going to sunny parklands or beaches – I don’t get that. I have no problem with them doing so, it’s up to them, but I have to say it doesn’t look comfortable, and they ain’t getting a tan that is for sure. They also seem to be attracted to me; they always set up camp very close-by. Unlike the scantily-clad girls, these women see me as an elderly unthreatening safe haven.

The main annoyance with a large group of these women and their children is that if you feel that they are too noisy, and decide to relocate, it looks like you are a racist or something.  If they drop litter everywhere, you feel you can’t say anything, so you sit in silence, and avert your eyes.

You decide to make the best of it – get out a sandwich or a wee sausage and a soft drink from the cool bag. This brings over the dogs.

The dogs walk onto the blanket, knocking things over, and stick their noses into things – while their owners shout and come over to pull their away by the collar. You feel like saying that the sign clearly states that all dogs are to be on a lead, but you don’t. You just throw away the contaminated picnic into a bag for the litter bin later.

Time for a kickabout with the lad. In consideration of everyone else, you play one-touch – passing the ball back and forth as quickly as possible using alternate feet, but your son treads in a big runny dog poo. The wipes are produced and everything is disinfected.

You settle down for a read, but the breeze has changed and the smoke from the portable barbecue fired up by a hipster and his moll catches your breath.

A man in a red Adidas track suit, accompanied by his sister or daughter (possible both) – also in an Adidas track suit, settle down and decide to play their favourite Now That’s What I Call Very Ethnic Music 25. It’s lively and has complex beats and traces of melody, and it is just loud enough to gain your full attention despite their crap smartphone speakers.

You think about relocating, but there are groups of people drinking wine over there, and screaming babies and prams over here. It’s getting busier every minute, and you realise that there will be a traffic jam to get out of the park unless you make a move right away.

As you pack up, you are hit on the head by a tennis ball. “Sorry!” you hear, as you toss it back to a tattooed man in shorts and slip-ons. His son is (despite the heat) wearing a Spiderman onesie.

You try to put your litter in the bin, but it is overflowing, and covered in flies and wasps – and large seabirds have pulled a lot of stuff out and everything is strewn about the area of the bin. You try to stop your daughter seeing a man peeing into the nettles by suddenly coming to life as super Dad the child lifter-upper.

As you pack the car, the midgies come out and nip you to the edge of reason. The drive out of the park is fraught because cars have been abandoned in passing places – which have been grabbed as parking spots by the SUV drivers. The air con hasn’t kicked in yet, but you can’t open the windows because the air con is switched on. It’s hot and the traffic lights only let one car through at a time.

Every petrol station has a queue for the car wash.

There are road restrictions because there is a Women’s 10K run on, as well as roadworks, diversions, and a funeral procession. The supermarkets have run out of ice cream, water and sun lotions. There are rows of empty shelves in the beer aisles.

You park and take the family for a stroll after the hot car trip home. But all the pubs and restaurants that can, have the windows open and for once the smokers are at one with the rest of the drinkers and eaters. Dogs and ciggy smoke everywhere.

There are a lot of bad tan lines, uncomfortable looking people trying to get through this infernal heat and unnatural blue skies. The holiday clothes have been dug out of the suitcase and pressed into service early.  Men are wearing long shorts, which, with socks, reveals only 25 mm of actual leg to the elements.

Adult men in shorts is, was, always has been, and always will be an abomination. I do not need a tan on my legs because I am the only one who sees my legs, so what’s the point? Also wearing long shorts looks really bad, and it is not in the slightest bit cooler.

It is weird having holiday weather at home because it is not holiday. You don’t have a pool or the sea to cool off. It’s got all the downside and none of the upside.

I’m praying for rain, and looking forward to my real holidays!

 

The Dark Side of Supermarkets

Supermarkets can sometimes be quite dramatic.

For example, I was once next to be served at a check-out till in a small local supermarket when a strange thing happened. The cashier was scanning items, and passing them onto a sloping conveyor to be bagged by the customer, when a scanned watermelon rolled down the slope. It gathered speed and struck the lip at the end of the check-out, where it was launched into the air.

We all watched in slow motion, mouths open, as the customer flailed about trying to catch the flying fruit, but instead of a save, she actually managed to strike the large watermelon in such a way that it accelerated toward the open supermarket door like a cannon ball.

Everyone gasped as it slammed into a chihuahua, killing the small dog outright. The customer was beside herself, screaming and wailing as the distressed and distraught dog owned arrived.

It was quite a scene, I can tell you. A crowd gathered, management were called, statements were made, and eye-witness reports were rehearsed and dramatised. At one point, the fruit was recovered and bagged (perhaps as “exhibit A”). I was surprised that the dog was also scooped up and put in a Safeway carrier bag, but then, I supposed there was no “proper” etiquette for this sort of thing, and there had to be a clean-up so that we could all get on.

Small dog threatened

*****

Some years ago, in the run up to St Valentine’s Day, I procrastinated to the point where it was the eve of the Big day, and I had no card and no gift. So I waited till my loved one was fast asleep in bed, to slip out to the 24 hour hypermarket.

I arrived at about 3.15am, and dashed along to the greeting cards aisle – upon arrival, I was surprised to find seven other men browsing the cards!

I am far from unique in my errors.

*****

I did once see a woman fall to the floor in a supermarket, and suffer an epileptic fit. It was quite odd, and no-one knew what to do – it’s awkward for a man in such situations, so I ran to a shelf-packer for help.

“Hello” I said to gain her attention.

“Yes? How can I help?” she responded.

“There’s a woman having a fit in the drinks aisle” I explained. Just at that point, an elderly lady who was passing by, said:

“I’m not surprised with the prices they’re charging here; it’s a disgrace, it really is!”

When Children Begin to Tell Risqué Jokes To Their Parents

My son (he’s 8) tells a joke:

“Mum, how can you tell your teacher’s age?”

“I don’t know; how do you tell your teacher’s age?”

“Pull her knickers off”

“…?”

“Cos in my knickers it says ‘ aged six to eight'”

“ah…………..”

I laughed like a drain when I heard the boy tell this joke, and saw his mothers face – and was reminded of the time I told my mother a borderline joke back in the day.

“Mum, do you want to hear a joke?” I began.

“Ok” said my mum distractedly stirring the saucepan on the stove.

“A boy asked him mum for a bike at Christmas.” I smiled.

‘Mum, can I have a bike for Christmas?’ I said in a silly voice.

‘ Not on yer life’ she replied” I said in another silly voice. I continued, noticing I had my mum’s attention.

“So time went by, and each time the boy asked for a bike, the mother would say no.

“One day the boy asked his mother if she would play a game with him.

“She agreed.

‘Let’s play Mums and Dads’ suggested the boy.

‘What do I have to do’ asked the boy’s mum

‘Oh you just have to go upstairs and get into your lingerie and lie on the bed; I’ll be up in a minute, just let me know when your ready…”

(At this point in the telling, my mother’s eyes were on stalks. She was clearly surprised, and possibly quite alarmed. I carried on in haste.)

“Soon the boy heard his mother shout downstairs that she was ready.

“The mother was lying on the bed in her stockings, knickers and bra when the boy walked in wearing his dad’s jacket, and sucking on his dad’s pipe.

The boy then looked at her, sat down on the end of the bed, and said ‘You know, my love, I think it’s high time we bought our son that bike he’s always going on about!’

At this point my mother actually burst out laughing. I think she was amazed, astounded, and very, very, surprised.

Talk about flying close to the sun!

Growing Up with An Alpha Dog

Dogs can be really clever. And also annoying.

When I was growing up, we had a black-and-white Collie called Bob who was “a law unto himself” as my mother would say.

Bob wasn’t allowed on my parents’ bed as it had a fancy covering. We would walk outside and look in the bedroom window and see Bob enjoying a relaxing sprawl on this bed – but by the time we’d got in the house, there was Bob pretending to be asleep in the hall.

Most of the time he did what he liked, but at least he respected us all enough to pretend to obey and be a “good boy”.

As he got older, however, this respect faded.

He would detect one of us was going out. He wanted to come along too; he fancied a trip, a day out. So he would bolt through the front door as it was opened for departure, and dash to the car. He knew which car the person owned. He would then lie under one of the wheels to prevent the car being driven off.  As soon as the car door was opened, he’d dive in, and off everyone would go. With Bob.

Bob

Of course, people tried to outwit Bob – there was the leaving by the back door ploy, the decoy ploy (where one bribes a sister to pretend to be going out, allowing one to sneak out the back door and make a getaway), and the sudden change of car ploy… Bob soon twigged to all our tricks.

As the youngest, I didn’t drive a car. One time I got myself spruced up to go out to a disco, left the house by my bedroom window (this was quite normal for me), and was heading to the busstop when I felt a “bobness”. I was aware of a sound and movement behind me – but when I looked back – nothing.

I got to the stop. Nothing seemed amiss. The bus came and I got on. To my horror, on the bus, next to me was Bob. The bus had pulled out and we were on our way. Damn. Bob was coming on my date.

What to do about this? I thought I might be able to get off the bus without him – or perhaps I could pretend to be getting off – allowing him to dash off ahead, then perhaps begging the driver to close the door and drive off – but I knew he’d beat me. He was a darned clever old sheepdog.

We got off at the next stop, and walked back home, Bob seemed happy, and grateful for the adventure. I made sure he was locked in the kitchen, and went to get the next bus.

It was all going according to plan. The Bus came, I got on, I checked – and I was Bobless. Freedom!

Three miles later I got off the bus and walked toward the disco, which was in a church hall. I met a couple of pals heading the same way, and we relaxed, fooled around, joking and laughing as we joined the crowd and queue to get in.

The Bouncer looked right at me and said, “You can’t come in with a dog.”

I was bewildered – then I saw Bob, sitting looking up at me.

“That’s not my dog, mister!” I blurted out.

My pals and I got in, the Bouncer somehow managed to stop the dog getting in.

“Wasn’t that Bob – your dog?” a pal asked me.

“Well, yes, but dog’s aren’t allowed in – what was I supposed to do? Go home?”

“Why did you bring him then?”

“I didn’t! He must have got loose and followed the bus here!” I wailed.

My plan was to ignore Bob, and pretend that he wasn’t sitting outside waiting to follow me home. He can bloomin’ well sit there all night until I am good and ready to leave – that’s what I thought.

And so I queued for cola and crisps, chatted to my date, danced a bit, fooled around with my pals… then, suddenly, in the middle of the dancefloor, was a barking dog.

How embarrassing. All hell broke loose, the dog ducked and dived, people tried to catch the dog, I made a run for it…

In the end, Bob and I were thrown out of the hall, and we went home together on the bus. Bob was delighted – pleased as punch he was, tail wagging, tongue licking, happy as could be at his first disco experience. I was crushed to think about school on Monday.

Having a dog like Bob was character building. I learned that it was possible to both love and hate someone at the same time. That dog was richter-scale annoying, a Nobel sized pest, an Olympic nuisance.

And decades after he passed away, I still miss him.

How To Be Happy By Being Undecided

My present main client is one of the most annoying ever.

He’s belligerent and rude to his staff. Luckily, he’s not quite that bad with me, but he is “trying” nontheless.

The biggest annoyance for me is that he thinks everything he asks can be answered by what he calls “a simple yes or no”.

This almost drives me mad because, in my long life and wide experience, hardly anything can best be answered that way – in fact it takes considerable skill in framing a question well enough for a yes / no answer to be appropriate.

Unfortunately, he does not have that skill.

One of the things I do for my client is to publish documents to a “common data environment” or CDE. This makes the document an official issue, revision or release. To do this, all I have to do is visit a website and log in, fill in a few fields and upload. That’s it.

He recently asked me if it was possible to take back or undo this procedure – to remove a published file.

Now the answer is both yes and no. No – because there is no method whereby I can visit the site and remove the issued file. Yes – because I can e-mail or telephone the site administrator and request that the file be removed. I tried to explain this, but was abruptly stopped.

He held up his hand like a barrister at law, “It’s a simple yes or no – can it be done?”

“Yes, but…”

“No buts, if it can be done, do it.”

“OK, I’ll ask them to remove it right away…”

“No, no – don’t alert them to this, just do it!”

“But I can’t do it…”

“You said you could do it!”

“Well, actually you asked if it could be done.”

“Same thing. So let me ask you again, in front of all these people, so take your time – a simple yes or no – can you do it?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No; I can’t do it, but it can be done.”

“Is the answer yes or no? I’ll ask you for the last time.”

“No.”

And he moved on. This is the worst kind of idiot – an idiot that doesn’t know he’s an idiot, an idiot that actually thinks he’s smart.

When I meet such people, which is all-too-often, I’m afraid, I am reminded of those wonderful paradoxes we used to enjoy at university. Simple enough stuff, but important enough, in my opinion, that they ought to be taught to schoolchildren in an attempt to be rid of people who demand yes / no answers to bad questions.

I am reminded of Bertrand Russell’s Barber Paradox – it still makes me smile.

The scene is a town where the law demands that all men be clean-shaven, and the town barber shaves only those who do not, or cannot, shave themselves. The problem is “Who shaves the barber?”

The answer is officially “undecided”. Really; there is NO ANSWER to this. None.

What I find is that, in life, in general, “undecided” is undesirable. To be undecided is considered as wishy-washy – it is taken as worse than being flat-out wrong. Undecided voters are fought over in political elections – they must be persuaded to NOT be undecided, even if they are wrong!

A simple Yes or No.

In Scotland recently, there was an independence referendum where the badly framed question required a simple yes / no answer. This was preposterous, yet no-one noticed!

What happened? Well, those who voted YES for change lost the election but got change. Those who voted NO for things to stay the same, got change. No-one got the status quo, and no-one got independence either. The issue was not resolved satisfactorily by the yes voters, the no-voters or the non-voters affected by it all. Everyone got all het up, and tempers flared. Things got ugly and have stayed ugly. It did more harm than good.

Clearly, the answer could never have been a simple yes or no.

duh.

In many things in life, I am proudly “undecided”. I can live with that, and that is one of the reasons why I am happy.undecided

Rosie Cheeks

Whenever the wind blows up a girl’s skirt, I am reminded of the iconic Marilyn Monroe photograph – where the subway train blows up air through a street grille, and Ms. Munroe pushes down her skirts against the up-draught.

upskirtThis reminder lasts for a second because the reality is far less iconic and a lot less sexy and alluring.

Last week I strolled out of the office to buy a sandwich at the shops, and a bunch of other office workers were doing much the same. They came out of their office block and headed toward me.  At the mid point, we would all turn and head to the shops.

Among them was a tall girl with chestnut hair up in  a pony tail. She had high heels on, black tights, and a short bomber jacket. She was smoking. The main thing was that her skirt was too short, and the day was windy.

She guffawed, giggled, shrieked and attempted to control her thin skirt. This was far from sexy, but passed as a light amusement.

Until today.

Today, she was there again. Same routine. I clenched my teeth.

This may have been cute once (to some), but now it was worn thin.

I wondered if this girl could actually walk a street without showing her knickers. I despaired for her husband or boyfriend now or to-come. I blushed for her mother, siblings and (most of all) for her poor dad.

No matter how much I blushed, my cheeks would never be as red as hers.

From now on, in my mind anyway, she’ll be called Rosie. Rosie Cheeks.