So here’s how my early evening went last night:
- Make dinner
- Eat dinner
- Clean up after dinner
- Rinse plates while daydreaming about Star Trek replicators and the ultimate recycling (dirty plates energized into pristine uniform on perfect and somewhat shapelier figure than I’ve ever owned)
- Startled by noise outside, shoved inside by open window on glorious summer evening (so rare, it deserves a post of its own)
- Look up from dirty plate reality
- See two young men, separated by a bicycle (the crashing to the ground of which startled me into looking up)
- Watch one young man brandish what looks like a baseball-bat-come-small-tree-trunk
- Watch same young man swing at other young man with baseball-bat-come-small-tree-trunk
- Watch third, older, man run up and throw bicycle at brandishing young man
- Feel disappointed when brandishing man and bicycle-throwing man run out of sight
- Feel ashamed at my instinctive – nay, feral – enjoyment of violence outside my own front door
- Feel relieved that the car wasn’t damaged in the fracas
- Watch second young man ride off on bicycle
- Listen to shouts and yells out of sight as large group of youths run to join the fray
- Watch youths suddenly scatter in all directions, hurling abuse at each other
- Watch as three police cars with flashing lights appear too late to do anything
After discussion with a neighbour – and this is all hearsay so I can’t assert its veracity, though it has the ring of truth – it appears that the local drug dealers had a falling out, leading to one young man of fifteen taking a baseball-bat-come-small-tree-trunk to his own father’s head (the man who threw a bicycle at him); having, apparently, beaten up his own mother last week.
‘Stay well out of it’ was the neighbour’s advice; which we’re inclined to take.
That all happened around six o’clock. By seven-thirty, the Hub and I were sitting in a school hall, listening to what’s involved in sending our seventeen-year-old, drug-free, trouble-free, never-hit-either-of-his-parents, baseball-bat-come-small-tree-trunk-free son to university next year.
You can lead a youth to education, but you can’t make him think.
The drugs see to that.