The Hostile Child

In the holidays, children come out to play. Big children, small children. Lots of vibrant little minds. Red haired children, black haired children. Blue eyes, green eyes, grey eyes, brown eyes. Tall, short. Fat, thin.

Mean…. and kind.

Today I walked past some kids, and I said, ‘I hate kids.’

I did hate those kids. They were loud and obnoxious. And they sniggered rude things about me as I walked past. I smiled in a way that I know was patronising.

I love kids. Small kids. Even rude, small kids. I eventually won their respect when I was a teacher. I loved to teach them, even when they did not love to learn. There was a ten year old boy who all the teachers complained about. He was honestly a handful and a half. I found him hilarious. He had a quick wit, and if I wasn’t supposed to manage a class of thirty children, I would have probably laughed at his witty comebacks. However, I kept my face stony and told him to save it for the playground. He was always in trouble in my classes, in all classes, but I made sure it was fair, and I made sure he got his work done.

On my last day at school, I was walking by with a colleague and saw that naughty kid where stood beside his mother.

‘Hey, miss!’ he called, and I turned. He ran up to me and slipped a small wrapped easter egg into my hand, ‘This is because you’re leaving.’ He looked so shy and ran back to his mother without looking at me. I was so touched. I thought, sometimes teaching is worth it.

Then I moved to this crappy town. Where I smell weed everywhere. Where the glass windows of bus stop shelters are shattered. Where children swear at you as you pass. Where they hang around smoking and talking about things children shouldn’t think about until they are much older.

And as I walked, I thought, ‘I hate kids.’

I am a supply teacher here, though. I will have to deal with kids like these, and worse. It won’t be a little witty joke in class or a disrespectful stare anymore.

And I can’t think, ‘I hate kids,’ and just walk on by. I will have to deal with these kids. And you know, it isn’t always their faults.

Today a small girl was screaming into the wind, and I saw the ecstatic joy on her face because she was probably having a moment of freedom. Her shout was cut short suddenly, harshly, when her mother whacked her around her face and said, ‘Shut your mouth you stupid cow.’

Now I am not one to judge parenting, honestly. Maybe the mum was having a bad day. But the look of complete humiliation on that little girl’s face made me feel awful for her. Honestly, though, in this town, this is not the first nor the tenth time I have seen incidents like this. A mother shoving her face right into a toddler’s face and screaming at her to ‘bloody keep up or I’ll kick you one’. Kids who are brought up in a hostile environment tend to become hostile too. They become hostile adolescents and then hostile adults.

And teachers don’t really change much, but they can do their best to teach that hostility towards others is wrong. Who knows. Maybe a kid will realise as it gets older and change its ways? Who knows.

I am not looking forward to teaching the kids in this town, after what I’ve seen these past five months. On a daily basis. However, I am gong to try. I am going to enter with a positive attitude and good intentions. I am going to go in thinking, ‘I love kids.’

Kids need love, to give love. And I was given so much love as a kid. So it’s time to give it back out into the world.

Physical Relief

Had a terribly busy week. I was travelling since Saturday, when I drove two hours to go to a party, where I burned 600 calories dancing, according to my fitness tracker. I then drove to the in-laws’, where I stayed for the next three days to get to work. I walked to work daily and it took a good forty minutes, and helped my mother move house, worked till 2am  preparing lesson plans and studying for my first assignment.

On Thursday I went to work as usual, carrying a pile of heavy books.

‘Want to add more to that pile, Mrs Sparrow?’ one of the teachers muttered as he walked past, then offered to help but I declined. After work I went to my mum’s and slipped on my stilettos, then my brother dropped me off to the train station and we had a massive argument because he can be an arrogant overly sensitive jerk sometimes, and he refuses to listen to me and he kept speeding on second because I told him to put the car in third gear, even though it was a HIRED car, and he has never had practise driving while I have had a good year and a half on my belt. He is so stubborn it is maddening.

I got out of the car in tears, and caught the train to Birmingham where I went to the loos to slap makeup on my face for another party, this time more sophisticated and in a restaurant.

Then I caught another train all the way back home to my husband.

I hadn’t seen him for a good three days while I was at work. The minute I set eyes on him, waiting by the exit doors with hands in his pockets, my heels aching from my stilettos, and my shoulders heavy with bags, a wave of fatigue washed over me and I sank into his fresh perfume scent and the cold of his heavy leather jacket.

I don’t understand this phenomenon.

It was as though the mere sight of him took my stress away and my body began to really feel the duress I put it under. As though my brain subconsciously knew it didn’t have to hold on anymore because he was there and he could take care of me.

My throat felt scratchy and as he took my bags from me, lifting them as though they weighed nothing, my head started to pound, and tears prickled the back of my eyes. I hugged him for ages before I got in the car, just letting the feeling of home wash over me.

I had never experienced anything like this. A second ago on the train I had been perfectly fine!

All day today I have been in bed feeling ridiculously lousy.

 

 

Socially Awkward

I called my husband’s phone at work and his work colleague picked up.

I didn’t realise it wasn’t him at first so I said his name, tentatively, because the person answering obviously answered it differently to how my husband would, except he wasn’t speaking clearly, so I thought it was still my husband.

So he repeated, ‘D’s phone, how can I help?’

So I said, ‘D?’

I don’t know why I did, okay? I just did. So cringe, I know.

‘Um, D is not at his desk at the moment, can I take a message?’

Oh my god. How embarrassing.

So of course  now I was thrown off track because of my awkwardness, so I quickly said, ‘Oh no no no no. It’s fine. I will call back later. Bye.’

It was absolutely not fine. It was an emergency. I had broken the night latch on my door and was locked indoors and had to be somewhere asap. I jumped over the fence and tried to unlock it from outside but to no avail. So I went about my business and then when my husband returned home I pried the lock open from inside with a knife, and he unbolted it from the door to tinker with it.

Still in his work clothes, still with his jacket on.

‘My friend told me you called.’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘He said it was so awkward. You were so awkward.’

‘Okay.’

But he said it so accusingly that against my better judgement I just stared at him furiously while unwanted tears swelled in my eyes. He didn’t notice.

‘Oh, right, so everybody thinks D’s wife is weird and awkward, is that it?’ I lashed out.

‘What?’ he was surprised, ‘No!’

He hugged me, and got lock grease all over my nice clothes, which was fine, but he was lying. Of course. Because I was upset. I can always tell. When he isn’t telling the truth, his mouth sets in a straight line. And he doesn’t make eye contact with me.

But they probably all do think that.

I am not weird and awkward. I was just muddled! It can happen to anybody, right? My mind was also far away so I didn’t react well to realising I was speaking to somebody else in the tone I used specially for my husband, so naturally I would be awkward.

Also, D’s friend MUMBLES. I just thought it was D using a different phrase to answer his, hello, work phone.

Ugh. Am I overanalysing this. I don’t want people at his new workplace thinking his wife is some loser who can’t talk on the phone. They probably don’t care anyway but I am pretty sure D does, his friend and him go back a long way. I don’t want my husband to think he can’t rely on me to not be awkward in social situations.

Eh.

 

 

Here is a train of thought.

Today I discovered that I was a ‘Millennial”.

I have heard of these cohort categories. My eyes skimmed over them in articles and books, previously, but I had never understood what they meant.

Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.

What are these categories? Why am I in a category I know nothing about? I don’t particularly want to be put in a division. Why am I, and other people born in the era I was born in, defined by a set of observations?

I decided to do some research.

I found out that I have only just scraped the ‘Millennial’ category by a nose hair. If I had been born nine months later, I would have been a member of ‘Generation Z’, a generation people still don’t know much about as they are only just coming of age.

What are they like? Who knows. How have they been socialised? Some people have theories, but they won’t know for sure until those kids start becoming proper members of society and contributing more. It is thought that the members of this cohort will be more technically savvy than their Millennial forerunners, who, like me, grew up using dial up connection and still have VHS when they were very little. They will be highly diverse, and highly sophisticated.

I discovered some interesting things about Baby Boomers, and Generation X, the category my parents fall into.

I still don’t know why we are categorised like this, but it is interesting from a social perspective, seeing in words how the trends and politics of our eras have an effect on us as a  whole generation, that each generation will have something similar the unites them. It’s interesting because parents are always saying things like ‘when I was your age’, even though we are in a society that is extremely different.

For example, my mum had black and white telly, there was no ‘satellite’ (cable TV) and certainly no internet and computers. She didn’t get a mobile phone until she was forty. Social gatherings for her were very different from social gatherings for us. Now kids aged two know how to swipe phones and access the apps they enjoy. My seventy year old neighbour is putting off using her new smartphone (which she bought in defiance of her daughter who told her to get a simple keypad phone.. “I’m going to show her I can use these new phones!”) because she keeps touching the wrong things on the screen and it makes her frustrated. Three generations right there, of course they are going to speak different ‘lingo’ and have different lifestyles.

People are not only socialised by their families. They are very much shaped by their societies.

We are now in a society which is progressing technologically at an alarming rate. I can give you a small example using my iPhone 4s, which is no longer compatible with the new wifi router my mother has had installed in her house. My phone’s wifi connection cannot connect with the new wifi technology, even though my iPhone was released only 2.5 years ago. You see?! It’s crazy. What impact does this have on us now, and what impact will it have on our future children, born into this technology? I wasn’t born into the technology. When I was born, the internet was only just starting to tick its gears. Now it is zooming full steam, and it’s not one of those chuggy trains, it’s a sleek silver snake going at 200 miles an hour.

I don’t quite know exactly what my point is here. This was a bit of a ramble.

Which generation do you come from?

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