On top of that, these girls were trying their own simplistic version of womanhood (another typical teenaged behaviour) on for size; this manifested in an overly excited conversation about a schoolboy who they clearly thought was, "hot is cunt" (very sexy) and what they would do to him if they caught him "offside". It was a completely silly exchange, and while my memories of my own adolescence forces me to acknowledge that it is entirely reasonable to assume that some of the young ladies may well be sexually active, the naivety of their conversation was undeniable.
I thought it was hilarious, so when the elderly lady walking on my left turned to me and asked me, knowingly, if I heard what the young ladies were talking about I assumed that she shared in my amusement and offered, "They're just being young", as a response. The next thing I knew I was in the middle of one of those, "the problem with young people today", conversations that I try my best to avoid.
"Young girls and all they studying is man, man, man! I don't know what happened with these young people..."
I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I'm not built that way, and I was still amused, so I stupidly said, "I'm pretty sure they're talking about a boy... not a man."
"You right! Children having children! How these children get so?"
She went through all the cliches, young people are violent, they're sex obsessed, don't know right from wrong, need Jesus and have no respect. The respect thing has always tickled me because it assumes that we (the un-young) are inherently deserving of respect. In reinforcing the idea that young people have no respect she mentioned her 62 year old son who still treats her with the utmost respect despite the fact that he is a big man.
I have always found this kind of conversation difficult, and as I mentioned before I find it hard to keep my mouth shut. So I challenged her at every turn. "No I don't find today's youth to be different from any other youth!" "No I don't find them more disrespectful these days!" "I don't know about you but when I was a teenager I used to be studying sex... a lot".
Eventually she got frustrated with me and suggested that I should be more respectful (lol) of the wisdom that her 77 years of life afforded her. I caught it immediately; the fatal lack of introspection.
Do the maths! In many ways this interaction was the perfect metaphor for how we are failing today's young people by failing to look critically at ourselves.
Nala (The $2 Philosopher)