Now I freely admit that I, too, once had a scooter. It was bright red with white wheels and black tyres and the frame was emblazoned with the maker’s name in raised letters proudly proclaiming the legend ‘Triang’. It gave me much pleasure at the time when I was six years old and before I graduated to a bicycle. Thinking of this brought a smile to my face, which soon disappeared as we walked out of the car park only to see a security guard talking to these ‘kids’ who were putting their scooters in the boot of a ‘hot hatch’ which one of the pair was driving. They were not kids but young women in their early 20s, obviously reliving their youth I thought, but at least that explains why they were not at school, but not at work either. Maybe they had ‘pulled a sickie’ or were in training for some event of which I’d not heard but at least they were out in the fresh air getting some exercise and not walking around barging into people as they stare intently at their smartphones, clutching a now de rigueur recyclable cup with coffee from the latest designer coffee shop.
Not wanting to sound like ‘mom and dad’ (which is a bit worrying when you find yourself doing it), ‘the youth of today and all that’ or comment along the lines of the actuality being that they are probably correct, but let’s face it things and times are different now, a fact often brought home forcibly when seeing the behaviour, dress and interaction with the general public of some of these guardians of our well-being. A reflection of our society, lack of training, lack of supervision or just a lack of knowledge of how to behave. Perhaps we should give some thought to it, the next time some politician purports to be the font of all knowledge, and ask them to explain the society they have created over the last 40 years.
It does seem though, that we have many in a generation who have just not ‘grown up’ and it’s becoming more and more evident as we rush headlong into the second decade of the 21st century, led it seems by adolescents. We have become accustomed to stories about millennials and snowflakes and all the rest, schools and universities allowing or promoting behaviour that would have received heavy censure 25 years ago, but it does seem that many people refuse to ‘grow up’ (even when in late middle age) and become responsible adults or members of the wider community. They have a ‘me, me, look at me’ attitude and to hell with the consequences writ large by people who have as their motto ‘no fear’ or ‘only one life live it’ or the utterances of some celebrity or other as their role model.
Now role models, that is a vexed question, politician, probably not, how about a sportsperson branded now as they are by big business, teacher, lecturer or clergyman, older sibling or other relative, probably not, which leaves us with ‘celebrity’ the passing one of the moment. Suggest someone? Well to be honest I’d rather not as I can’t really think of someone to suggest especially and particularly to the younger generation, if the two 35-year-old men are examples, that I had to quickly get out of the way of as I walked in the centre of town in the expensively built and renamed ‘piazza’.
Millions were spent on it for the third time in 25 years as a vanity project by our city fathers, it opened with a fanfare and is now used as a racetrack by cyclists (well, where isn’t?), buskers, street beggars along with regular street markets which have damaged the rather expensive stone paving, although not quite as much as the utility companies who thoughtfully replaced stone paving with tarmac after botched utility line repairs.
But back to our two 35-year-olds, both over six feet tall, sporting hipster beards, headphones and baseball caps, the latest style shorts and trainers as they perform jumps and slaloms at speed on their skateboards, in and out of the – at that time – mostly elderly pedestrians out for a stroll, who were mostly unimpressed, as was the busker who stopped mid-song as these two 35-year-old children sped by whopping and yelling as they went, and this on a Thursday afternoon. I wonder who their role model is and how their children do or will behave. These are just a couple of incidents, you see this childish and selfish behaviour on a daily basis, many have no idea of how to be an adult or maybe why you should behave as an adult.
We have, in two generations, gone from young men 19 years of age, flying what was then state-of-the-art bombers at high speed and low level at night on what must have been obvious to them as they took off a one way suicidal mission which for many it was, to 25-year-old women playing on scooters and 35-year-old men skateboarding like children on the pavement, obviously with nothing else to do with their time with many of their social media ‘friends’ suggesting that the older generation are, to hear them speak, ruining their futures, It’s maybe time somebody told them to shut up, learn how to behave and ‘grow up’ .
The mind, as mother used to say ‘boggles’.