I have had to change my impression of teenagers.
I used to think they were very noisy in public restaurants or food courts. I used to avoid going where they congregated, fearing I would come in for some discomfort.
I even avoided walking down the sidewalk in a situation where I’d meet them going the other way. They intimidated me, walking four abreast , and I was not sure they’d separate to let me pass!
(I learned to walk with my head down as if I didn’t know they were there, and they usually parted as I got closer. But I felt very foolish doing that.)
Now that I have seen teens in a much better light they do not intimidate me anymore.
The "court" at our local Safeway has extra visitors during noon hours. This is the Safeway on Henderson Highway in the north part of Winnipeg. The "court" is actually just comfortable tables and chairs near the checkout counter, which are regularly visited by students from three different nearby schools. They seem to enjoy one another’s company and I am continually surprised at their good behaviour. They are not loud, at least no louder than the older people who shop there. They don’t stay forever, as I suppose they must go back to school for the afternoon.
I used to think that only one person bought something and then six to eight people would sit around a table and share. But no, some bring lunch, others buy stuff and do the things that we expect of them — they eat and quietly talk. It is a refreshing change from what we thought would happen every noon hour.
We hear next to no bad language, which is a refreshing change from groups of older people I have heard about.
They are even quite tidy and don’t leave messes.
There is a corner table that should be reserved for seniors, or those with disability problems.
The kids fill up those seats but no seniors seem to mind nor do they even object; the seniors shop much earlier, get to the tables earlier and leave before the "onslaught," which is remarkably quiet.
This corner seems to be like the mall for kids. It’s a good thing it’s there, too.
Where else could they go to get away from the classrooms during the day?
Bertha Klassen is a community correspondent for Elmwood.