My Metro article about my run in with the swearing 10 year old pavement cyclist came out today. It was nice to get an article with quite a complicated central message into 600 words. I was glad I didn't use it as an opportunity to decry the state of manners amongst modern youth and to shift a lot of the blame for the incident (or at least the escalation of it) on to myself. The truth is that in my almost 25 years in this city the number of times that I have had any kind of contretemps with a young person can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The temptation is to think that this incident proves that children are all delinqints, but it in fact proves the opposite. Children are far from perfect when it comes to manners, but they have the excuse that they are children. I have experienced far more rudeness and lack of consideration from adults, who really should know better. But no one is going round saying how awful adults are in general. You'd never dare judge any other minority group by the actions of an individual (or if you would, you're a dick), but kids are fair game for such judgement.
Every generation claims that kids are getting more badly behaved than the last, and every generation seems to think that they had it harder in their day or that such impoliteness never happened then. If this was truly the case then I think that by now, after so many thousands of human generations we'd be being attacked by feral kids every time we stepped out of the door. Alas we don't notice the polite kids, or attempt to talk to any of them. My gut feeling is that on the whole kids are more sorted and considerate than they have ever been. But today a few people told me that I was wrong about that and that it's getting ever worse.
Not many adults will admit their own culpability when things turn sour (as they did for me and this mini-thug!) but if you take a step back from most incidents like this you will probably find that things could have been calmed down had the supposedly more mature and responsible individual not allowed their temper or indignation to flare. This kid quietly swore at my wife in frustration, but I quietly swear at people getting in my way all the time and I am sure that sometimes it is me that is at fault and not them. I should have taken the higher ground from the start and ignored it. He'd nearly run over my wife, but he hadn't run her over. He shouldn't have sworn at her, but let he is without swears curse the first curse.
So far, more importantly, the kid's dad hasn't turned up to batter me.
I was also pleased to find a way to get quite extreme language into a family newspaper without being censored. I am a FLICKING genius.
I watched the full rough long cut of the first episode of Meaning of Life today. My performance looks more assured than it felt, though there are still quite a few bits where nerves and lack of rehearsal show through. The material is largely good though and the problem will be that there is way too much of it. We're going to edit it down to a tighter version that will be on Youtube for free and a longer version with pretty much everything included (whether it worked or not) for you to download for a small payment. It is a huge amount of work for a team of underpaid (or in my case not paid), but enthusiastic people and I think we might have overstretched ourselves attempting to do six of them. Or at least I can't see us managing to bring these out monthly even if we are filming them monthly (from now on). In hindsight it would probably have given us all more time to get these ready if we'd filmed them every other month, but we live and learn. And as long as I don't break the spirits and the bank of the gofasterstripe team then I think we'll produce something that is worthwhile or at the very least interesting. I don't think I anticipated what a huge amount of effort this would take from the team (and this is just one episode), but I massively appreciate how hard they're working. I will let you know when you can see it!
The exercise continues, with no day off as yet this year (though I am off to a wedding on Sunday and unless I can include dancing I don't think I'll have time to do anything that day). Once again I completed by (almost) 7 mile run down by the Thames. The muddy towpath was less slightly less damp and squelchy than last time, but there will still puddles. I wondered as I ran if the puddles of water envied the river that they were so close to being a part of and wished they could leap the few feet to escape their prison pools. Or did they feel pleased that they weren't part of the mass of water, allowed to be individual, not having to go along with the hoard, unable to control their own destiny. Either way I suppose, the water is trapped, but if you were some water would you rather be a puddle or part of a river? Personally I am not sure. If I splashed through a puddle and sent a few droplets of water down the bank into the Thames would the water thank me? Or be furious that I had disturbed its solitude. An hour into a run such thoughts can pop into your brain. I like that about running. It's occasionally good to try and see the world from the perpective of a puddle.