As the years have gone by we have been beaten over the head constantly with how badly brought up and feckless our youth has become. I freely admit that I have, at times, been gulled into thinking the world is falling apart at the seams. And then something strange happens.
Today I travelled into London by train. While purchasing my ticket I could hear some tinny music and at first I thought the train company had started piping music for its customers – I hoped not as it sounded pretty bad. Walking onto the platform I found the source, a couple of youths were sitting down listening to music from an iPhone. I was right, it did sound bloody awful; on top of that it was noisy and annoying. But I ignored it. After all, I have intervened in the past and received an earful of abuse; I’ve learnt my lesson well, and for the most part I do have a tendency to take the easiest path. Most of us are in that same boat. Some of you are probably thinking ‘why should I intervene? They are just enjoying themselves’. Maybe, but on the other hand most people were moving away from them as the noise was unacceptable to other passengers. It’s also not permitted to listen to music out loud – that’s what headphones or buds are for. But what’s a rule more or less among friends – or strangers.
Among the people on the platform were an elderly couple, clearly upset at the volume of this noise. The old man goes over to the boys and asks them to turn the noise down. You can guess the results of that. The boys became belligerent and mouthy. I stepped over to them in the hope that they would moderate their attitude which was becoming seriously unreasonable, and appeared to be upsetting the old lady. At that point the main bolshie kid asked me if I liked his music. Big mistake on his part. I just said I think it’s shit and please turn it down, not everyone wants to hear it. So now it was two against two.
I don’t particularly like confrontation, these days knives are not exactly uncommon and it seems those that carry are prepared to use them rather too readily. Anyway after a stand-off and hard stares I asked him why he did it, doesn’t he care about anyone else? He just said he couldn’t care less. Well, there it was, the ratification of all those newspaper articles that said kids weren’t what they were. I hate to think that because, no matter what schools teach them, or don’t, young ’uns are still individuals with their own opinions about themselves and others and are on the same journey as the rest of us.
To cut a long story short, the train came; of course it was way overloaded because of various problems. There was little room for additional passengers and as luck would have it the silly sods ended up standing next to me in the carriage. Doing their best not to catch my eyes, they played with their phones (now on silent). As we approached London Bridge, the stockier one, wearing mirrored shades, turned to me and moved closer. Here it is I thought, this is where it’s going to get ugly.
“That thing in the station – I’m sorry about that,” were not my words, they were his. He could have knocked me down with a feather.
Just goes to show, even actions aren’t always what they appear – understanding is key to communication. It made my day.
Zombie books by David K Roberts:
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor