“Rude, unconsiderate and lacking in a due respect”
Who am I describing here? No, it’s not the youth of today, it’s the people who talk about “the youth of today”.
It has long been a contention of mine that old people are majoratively a lot nastier than the young people they spend so much of the time complaining about, but the issue crystallised today during a half-hour visit to tesco when I experienced not one but THREE encounters which I will outline below before thrusting an argument in your face:
1) The Parking Lot – Going In
I’m waiting for a space. An old man gets into his car. He has two car lengths behind him, and ample space either side. It takes him 7 minutes to get out of the space. I know this because a 7 minute long song was on Brian Davidson at the time. I’m not suggesting this would have been any less annoying if he hadn’t been old (and I’m hardly Mr. Swift Car Action myself) but in the light of what followed I found this interesting.
Comment that you’d think an old person would say which this elicited from me: “He oughtn’t to be allowed on the road”
2) Within the Store
An old woman who for the purposes of anonymity we’ll be calling “Mrs. Halitosis” comes up to me and, breathing all over me (holy God, no really), asks if she can have my trolley. Well, my trolley had my bags in it, and though I may be young and ungrateful I still havent developed the ability to carry six shopping bags and 4 baguettes to the car by myself yet. Also, the trolley had a pound of mine in it, and there were loads at the front of the shop, so I didn’t feel too bad about saying no. OFF SHE SKULKED WITHOUT A WORD. How incredibly rude.
Comment that you’d think an old person would say which this elicited from me: “They just have no respect”
3) The Parking Lot – Going Out
As I get into the glorious Peug, past me shuffles an old woman we’ll be calling “Satan Incarnate And She’d Better Damn Well Hope She Never Crosses My Path A Second Time”. Here comes our exchange in full, verbatim (I remember it very well):
SIASBDWHSNCMPAST: Oh, very disabled!
Me: I beg your pardon?
SIASBDWHSNCMPAST: I said, “very disabled!”
Me: Oh, well actually this isn’t a disabled space – it’s near the front of the store but it’s the first space which isn’t a disabled one. Sorry. Take a look!
SIASBDWHSNCMPAST: [cryptically] Yeah, well…
Exit, Stage Right
Comment that you’d think an old person would say which this elicited from me: “If I ever see that woman again I’m going to give her some of George’s Fucking Marvellous Fucking Medicine because that’s what she Fucking Deserves*”
Called to the stand in defence of young people accross the world who have endured this shit for too long, my Exhibit A would be the last example above. I’d have immediately forgotten encounters one and two if the third hadn’t distilled this argument into my speech-brain; the third is objectionable. It’s disgusting.
But let’s be clear about this: it’s not disgusting because she felt it her duty to chastise me for stealing a disabled space. It’s disgusting because she didn’t apologise when she discovered her mistake, even superficially; because she is, I would wager a significant amount, right at this moment telling her loved ones (if she has any**) about the disrespectful young man who had full use of his legs but was parking in a disabled space at the shops HAS NO-ONE GOT ANY RESPECT ANY MORE?
Let’s look at language, because I’m an english student and that gets me going. Check out how she opens the conversation: no greeting, no polite lead-in… ah, sarcasm! Excellent.*** How does she close it? By walking off, mid-sentence. Check out everything I say. I’m civilised, polite, and apologetic. Oh my god, I’m apologetic. I apologised to her because she was wrong? Perfect
This is particularly interesting when you consider that instead of apologising, I’d have been well within my rights to punch her in the face, put her in a spaceship, and fire her directly into the sun****. Of course there are young people who are not as deferential as I am, and many people my age are downright scallions who deserve the spaceship treatment just as much as my evil friend from today, but what I can’t stand any longer is to hear “young people” spoken of in this diminutive fashion, and though I know several elderly folk who are sterling examples of wonderfulness (such as my own grandparents), I have determined IN PROTEST to speak diminutively of the old in general terms until such a time as the hatred on the other side goes the way of the albatross.
If all you’ve learned from an extended lifetime is that there is no joy in anything, please don’t take it out on us. We are horrified by your conclusions for your sake, but we reject them out of hand. We are young and joyful and our day is coming. Thank you.
* Okay, I admit you’re unlikely to see an actual old person saying this one.
** Yeah that was harsh, I take it back
**** Not true, of course. Waste of spaceship.