Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007
in Family, Something to think about
There’s a part in one of my favouite books (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger) where the hero is loitering in a deserted schoolyard. He spots some graffiti someone has scrawled on the wall: ‘Fuck You’. The sight depresses him, and he vainly tries to scrub it off, to protect young eyes from its foulness. He longs to protect innocence, to ward off adult ‘phoniness’ for as long as he possibly can. I love that book so much.
Holden Caulfield would have a heart-attack if he spent five minutes in the housing estate where I live.
There will be a lot of swear-words to follow. This is for quoting purposes. If I censor it, it doesn’t have the same tragic message.
The village population here is less than 200 at a guess. The housing authorities parked a clump of houses on its outskirts to cater for travellers, unwed mothers, disabled batchelors and widows. They have just finished building a few private houses in the estate, but nobody will buy them because they are too scared to live here. It really isn’t that bad.. if anything it toughens you up, gives you an education into human nature that you won’t find anywhere else. I’m also pretty confident that my house won’t be broken into. The general rule is that you don’t shit where you eat.
There’s one lady… lets call her Jacinta. She’s a big scary woman who has a long, depressing and sordid past as gossip would have me believe. She has three children. I overheard her one day in the parking lot of our local supermarket;
“Get into the fucking car yiz fucking little cunts yiz!!”.
Her brash voice frequently slashes the peace of a sunny afternoon with little gems like this. Her latest quote would be;
“That fuckin’ mouth o’ yours is gonna land you in shit oneday, son!”.
Talk about the cat calling the dog ‘hairy-hole’?! Jacinta is our local Avon representative. If only they knew!!!
The most wonderful thing about this woman is that she is raising the most polite children on the road. They are helpful, nice, and pretty articulate for their age. When I commented once on the fact that their mum doesn’t half swear a lot, they said in words beyond their years… ‘it’s just her way.’ Chatting with them is a pleasure. The same cannot be said for the rest of the children. The three-year-old next door was sitting on the wall today, watching me water my plants.
“You’re a fuckin’ ath-hole” he said. I ignored him. “And my dad’th a fuckin’ bathtard.”
I felt like throwing up. The child is too small for that. I tried telling him that he sounded very silly, that cursing isn’t a smart way to talk. This started a parrot-like litany of “Ath-hole ath-hole ath-hole ath-hole etc..” at the top of his voice. Nobody came out of the house to correct him. Everyday I hear conversations being held in innocent childish tones along the lines of.. “Ronaldo’s a fuckin’ queer!”, “He’s not! Fuck you, ya fuckin’ cunt!” It makes me cringe. Nobody EVER comes out of their houses to correct them. I’m being dead serious here, no exaggerations. I want to emphasise here that these are NOT traveller kids I’m talking about. The traveller kids keep themselves to themselves, and always have a friendly wave for me when I walk past.
I’m moving out soon, my family is in this house temporarily while another is being built. I’ll miss the amazing views of the wind-farms on the Irish Sea from the upstairs window, but other than that I’ll never look back.
I really really hope that ‘this sort of’ child is confined to ‘this sort of’ housing estate. I remember being shocked and appalled when my dad was reading a Beatrix Potter book to me at the tender age of five. ‘Peter Rabbit was shut-up in the oven’ it read… or something like that.
“That’s so RUDE!!!” I gasped, before being taught about context.
I and my peers NEVER cursed until the age of about 10, and even that would have been mild. You didn’t do it. It’s like stepping on the cracks in the pavement. If you did it, bears would eat you, or Santa would cross you off his list.. who knows? You just DON’T DO IT. It’s a shame that the parents referred to above don’t instill the same wisdom in their own kids. The wooden-spoon is a valuable entity in my eyes. (*gasp*, did she really just say that??!) Yes, she did. Authorities are telling us not to smack our kids, but in some cases I believe it’s truly warranted. A new generation of bubble wrapped children is being spawned. I fear for the future. I really do.