My daughter and I set off to work and radio 4 is on in the car. After 5 minutes I have to turn the radio off to explain what a drug dealer is and what the actions of the republicans in Ireland are in shooting them in the knees. She understands that some drugs are bad, some people selling drugs are bad and that that’s why they are being shot. I have to then explain “due process” where the police are told of a drug dealer and they arrest, search, charge, go to court, sentence and imprison. I then talk about how the republicans will just be told and shoot. She understands now about going through the correct processes and how people can lie and how the republicans are wrong.
All this in the five minute drive to school trying to avoid hung over suicidal pedestrians, militant “I WILL CROSS WHERE I FUCKING LIKE” mothers and cyclist using one hand to hold their cider and the other to make phone calls to their drug dealers – or am I generalising.
At school she (my daughter) runs off calling me “chilli sauce pants”. She comes back and grabs my coat and pulls me to watch her on the climbing frame. I watch and wince as she performs acrobatics that if mistimed would result in an iron lung, wheels chair or worse.
A group of boys are hitting each other with a gym bag and it gets a little rough. I notice that one kid is being hit on in turn by each of the boys. I quietly watch and try to not notice. Then fists come out and one of them hits the one victim in the eye. John Davenport (my favourite and strictest teacher) comes out of my mouth “OY”!!”. The kids stand statue-like. “PACK IT IN, NOW!”. They look sheepish. Some of them have never heard a person (possibly a man) shout like this. There is no way I am kidding and there is no way I will tolerate another movement against the victim. “MOVE!” and they slowly scuttle off. No one looks back. No one says a word. No cheeky kid shouts “fuck off fatty!” etc. The victim stands by the climbing frame and starts to cry. I say “You ok?” and he nods, letting a tear drop onto his cheak.
Now I don’t know what to do. I can handle shouting like a nazi. Tears are another issue. I look around for a teacher, a parent an adult other than me. Parents are stood, mouth open, staring at me. When I say staring, the break their gaze as soon as my eye meet theirs.
Again I am a social pariah.
No woman is stood there gushing about how manly I am or how masterful my command of tearaway bullies is. Nope. I viewed by a crowd like a shouty many. I expect to hear a voice saying “who’s he think he is?” or “can’t talk to my Carl like that!” etc. but, no. I’m a little deaf, so don’t hear too well. I can’t hear them voices or ideas, but I can feel their gaze.
Queueing time and I talk to the teacher when she appears and simply say “That kid at the back was being picked on and he’s upset”. The bullies, queueing to go in, shuffle uncomfortably, but I don’t point them out. A dark part of my mind has me cupping a hand over their sleeping mouths in the dark and whispering “Remember me?”.
I go to the car and drive to work.
A bike is riding 8 feet to the right of the cycle lane at 6 miles an hour. The taxi in front overtakes round the right making a revved statment punctuated with a horn blast of at least 5 seconds. I drive around the left and look as I go. She has no helmet. Fortunately the 3-year-old child sitting side-saddle on the cross bar has a helmt. No seat, but a helmet. I give her another 5 second blast. If I could I’d pull her off, slash her tires and shout at her.
A car is doing a three point turn on the roundabout and a lorry is drivin gon the wrong side of the road.
Chris Rea said this was the road to hell. It’s not. It’s the road to “someone else will sort it”. Had an accident – it’s someone else’s fault. Your were driving across a field full of children playing football? It’s the fault of the police who were trying to stop you stealing that car.
I’m becoming more right- wing as I get older.
Who put me in charge?
Why is it up to people like me to tell people they are doing wrong? Why am I picking up litter on my street?
Why do I clean the bench opposite of cider cans?
Why do I have to tell other peoples kids to not cross the road (even physically holding them back from jumping under cars)?