Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yoof Culture

This is the post I wrote yesterday. I still can't decide if it's worth posting. Ah well, I'll post it anyway. It is absolutely true, unfortunately.


Here's something which happened today which intersects this post about good deeds and this post on violence. It isn't really a good deed post, just a reflection on what might have happened. It isn't particularly positive or inspiring I'm afraid.

This evening I walked to the local shops. As usual, there were various groups of teenagers hanging around in the vicinity. I've had a couple of unpleasant conversations in such circumstances, normally due to my refusal to buy booze and fags. It doesn't really bother me unduly, I'm not easily intimidated. There is a problem with vandalism in the area and I struggle to resist the "it wasn't like this in my day" attitude (I'm 33, btw). The thing is that I've been going to this shop for 15 years and I know that it really wasn't like this 15 years ago, but I digress.

Here's what happened:
I'm walking past three boys, all around 16 or so, and one of them speaks to me just as I draw level with them. I've got on my earphones (loud) so I've got to take one out to hear what he's saying. It turns out that he's saying "fit like min?" (how are you?) and he's pretty drunk. "I'm fine, cheers" I say, smiling in a probably rather patronising way and go to walk on. He's not finished though. He offers me a gesture which looks for all the world like a Nazi salute. And then, hand still raised, he says "Salute, Salute, Salute..."

What's going on here then? (I should say that the shop is located in what is pretty much exclusively a white middle class area.) Why does this 16 year old drunken youth think it's a good idea to do this?

I've got no idea, but it doesn't seem like there's much sign of a culture of respect. So, "what was the good deed?" I hear you ask. Isn't it obvious? I didn't lamp him one. I'm sure he's none the wiser that I refrained from giving him a wee tap in the face. As I've mentioned before, I'm quite tall (6'4") and I'm not thin. It wouldn't have been difficult to subdue three drunken teenagers.

I'm joking. I don't believe violence is useful and I'm not a violent person (I'm occasionaly known as the BFG). There's no way the drunken teenagers could have known that though. If they hadn't been quite so drunk I might have asked them what they were doing but as it was I just walked on by. On a personal level, it doesn't bother me. As for what it says about society, I can't say the same.

No comments: