It was trip to the shops, much like any other.
The trolley was pregnant with produce: leafy greens, pink ladies, and shiny strawberries.
The kids were fighting over counter treats, as I fantasised about escaping to a deserted island.
Suddenly, I noticed an elderly woman inspecting our bounty.
Her features were a film: Scene 1, full of wonder; Scene 2, a flash of envy; Scene 3, lips pursed in irritation.
“Is that all for the one family?” she asked, snappily.
I eyed her humble handful of parsnips, onion, and spinach. Inexplicably, I felt ashamed.
“Er, I guess, I mean, yeah,” I stuttered. “The kids love their veggies, which is a good thing. Makes it a lot easier at dinnertime,” I chortled, a poor impersonation of a suburban housewife.
She didn’t say a word. I guess she didn’t need to. Her look said it all: “If only I could afford such luxuries.”
My instinct was to snatch something – anything – from the trolley to give to her. But I knew she wouldn’t want pity.
How had it come to this?
What kind of society treats its elders this way?
When will it dawn on us that those in the dusk of their lives deserve more?
It’s worth reflecting on, as the federal government tries to increase the pension age to 70 by 2035, and lower the indexation rate for adjustments.
Labor is blocking the move, while crossbench Senators negotiate with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.
“Why can’t they go back to work?” I hear you cry.
That’s fine for keyboard warriors, like me, who push pens for a living.
But anyone who’s worked in a physical job – as a nurse, hairdresser, or bricklayer – knows the body simply wears out.
Treasurer Joe Hockey says the May budget will include changes to the Restart scheme, in which employers earn $10,000 for hiring someone over the age of 50.
Apparently, the scheme is, “vastly undersubscribed”.