A very relieved Raccoon is back behind the keyboard again. Five long days and even longer nights during which the only sniff of a keyboard that I got was a borrowed laptop in the election count which its owner had kindly switched from Chinese characters for me â but had neglected to tell me that this meant it was now an English speaking computer with a Greek keyboard â hence my very short blogpost on the night! There really are super intelligent students in Cambridge â imagine doing a degree in Chinese in your second languageâ¦..
I shall not attempt to address electoral issues this morning, I have only been back for a few hours, have not caught up on all the news, and besides, my mind has been sorely exercised by a different transfer of power I have witnessed over the past few days. I need some answers from you all to put my mind at rest.
I have spent the past five days unceremoniously dumping myself and my nutritional requirements on two different good friends. It seemed only fair to split the burden. Both families are highly intelligent, educated, professional and thoroughly nice people â I am nothing if not particular.
They have between them the grand total of eight hormonal teenagers. Mr G did enquire anxiously at one point âhow are the childrenâ expecting the usual explosion from me â and was amazed to hear me reply âactually very niceâ. It is the only known occasion when I have given such a response. Iâm not fond of other peopleâs rug rats.
It was true though, all eight teenagers were polite, well mannered, confident, and extremely good company. No âChavsâ these, nor âNEETSâ, they were all destined to find a well paid position in our âGreat British Economyâ.
Their parents are no shrinking violets either. The sort of people who make things happen. The backbone of England. The entrepreneurs, the movers and shakers.
So, being an inveterate chronicler of snatches of conversation, I was intrigued to hear the snippets of dialogue that passed backwards and forwards.
âDad, I need a cheque for Â£50â
âMum, you havenât washed my shirtâ
âMum, make sure you pick me up at 12 sharp, Iâve told Sophie youâll take us both to Samâsâ.
They werenât being rude, there was just a calm acceptance that they could rebuke, order, determine, their parentâs day.
Mealtimes were a virtual restaurant. Boyfriends and girlfriends appeared and sat expecting to be fed. Some even stayed the night.
Nor was there any complaint from either set of parents â nor of the fact that all three of us were huddled outside the back door in the drizzling rain â smoking. The children you see, donât agree with smoking. So they donât. The parents that is. Not in the childrenâs house.
One set of parents went to an enormous amount of trouble constructing a âfeastâ that required preparation over two days. Various relatives were invited. At the very last minute, son decided that he was going into town to meet a friend. No he wouldnât be eating en famille that night. Yes, he would require money for his Kentucky Fried Chicken instead. Yes, someone did need to stop their culinary activities and drive him into town. No, it was nothing to do with disliking the menu, in fact he was so fond of the proposed starter that he carefully divided it into two halves, and took half of it with him to be enjoyed by his friends.
Back when Noah was a lad, I was one of the first teenagers to exist. We were the revolutionary generation; there were jobs for us, we had money; we could determine our own clothes by buying them ourselves. If we really couldnât cope with the house rules at home, we could save up and rent a shared flat.
Letâs run that one again. If we really couldnât cope with the house rules at home.
We might have considered ourselves trendsetters, but Mum and Dad were still in charge. Their house, their rules.
I have commented before in a sarcastic way of the âthink of the cheeeeldrenâ movement. It seemed mildly amusing. I hadnât realised that there had been a total transfer of power.
Mum and Dad slog their hearts out all day to pay the mortgage on the childrenâs house. To buy the food that the children may or may not invite their friends to partake of. To put petrol in the car that will go wherever the children wish.
There has been a revolution more profound than the feminist movement in the 60s, and I want to know where and when it started. I have been so out of the loop where children are concerned that I hadnât even noticed.
I would stress that these were all the cream of the teenage crop. I cannot imagine what goes on in the chav households â do they hold a knife to Dadâs throat to extract his benefit money?
I returned home courtesy of (actually nothing courteous about it) Ryanair. I was seated next to a three year old who was clearly traumatised. Traumatised by the foul language she had just heard from the air hostess. I would protect your delicate ears, but it is important that you know what was said.
The hostess used the âNâ word. No! Â As in, No, you canât stand on the seat during take-off, No you canât remove your seat belt. Â The poor little darling was beside herself. She screamed, ear piercing, glass shattering, life threatening â the threat emanating from me â screams. Her Mother pleaded in vain to be allowed to risk her precious spawn being flung headlong across the fuselage in the event of some problem. âShe doesnât like being restrainedâ. No, said the hostess. The tot was blue in the face by now, and clearly outraged. âHavenât you got a toy that will amuse herâ said the hostess. âShe doesnât like toysâ said her Mother. âCan I have a Coco-cola for herâ? The screaming temporarily dropped to 9 decibels at the promise of a bribe.
No! said the hostess, not until after take-off. Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! It was that âNâ word again.
No sooner had the hostess taken her seat, than Mother obeyed daughter and slipped off the seat belt.
The Waaaaaaaaaaah dropped a notch or two â the hostess, who had clearly met this situation before, arrived next to us at Mach 2 speed. âSeat belt or we donât take offâ, she said. âPut it back onâ.
I had a burst eardrum by the time we reached cruising speed, and the hostess allowed her to take off the restraint. By then nothing would mollify Mummyâs little darling. She screamed for an hour and 40 minutes. She stamped her foot. She threw everything that was offered to her. She kicked and bit. Then she went ballistic when she discovered that she had to be restrained again for landing.
By the time she is a teenager, her parents will be lucky to be allowed to live in the dog kennel at the bottom of the garden.
So, someone tell me, when did it start, and why?
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- May 10, 2010 at 15:39