Have you noticed how, in that odd few years before mid-teens, children stop greeting any other child they know?
Where once seeing a fellow pupil out of school was a cause for much excitement, by the time a child gets to secondary school age they studiously ignore everyone that they know as they pass them by, even mere feet away. If it’s a best friend, say, one who comes around frequently, then seeing them out of context or not at arranged times might lead to a half-smile.
I’d look strangely at someone with a cephalopod head too – if I didn’t think I was being stary
This changes as teens get older and enter the complex world of the head tilt.
Words are not to be used in passing, instead you tip up slightly for people that you know, down slightly for people you should acknowledge but have no association with.
Or maybe it’s actually the other way around?
For a while in your 20s, greetings are chatty. Like this: ‘How are you?’
In your 30s, you don’t really care, so it’s a simple ‘hello’.
And then the darkness of the 40s appears where, like me, you take deliberate, complex paths to avoid speaking to other people at all.
Who hasn’t intensely studied baked bean cans in a supermarket to avoid speaking to an acquaintance?
Or maybe it’s to avoid them seeing your Sunday hair, which you’re wearing every day of the week.
My hair happened to me last weekend, out shopping.
‘Why am I getting odd looks?’ I asked my youngest, who’d avoided looking at a classmate just moments before. Her classmate had ignored her too, a brilliant study of dual nonchalance.
‘Because your hair looks like an octopus’ she said calmly.
I’d look strangely at someone with a cephalopod head too – if I didn’t think I was being stary. That’s terrifying isn’t it?
When you want to look and you daren’t, but then you do, and you think you’ve been seen, but maybe you haven’t and you’re still staring and wishing that you weren’t at all and then you can’t look away because then it’d be really obvious, and oh God, which way are you supposed to tilt your head in a situation like this?
PARALLEL PARKING? I ADMIT TO AVOIDING IT LIKE THE PLAGUE
You know life has certainly moved on a stretch when people you’ve known since they toddled up to playschool are now allowed to drive cars.
I knew that the day would come – and here it is, as my son’s friends are passing their tests and adding to the growing traffic jam that is the south coast.
They all seem quite sensible people to me.
Some have been through the testing procedure so many times, you have to have a certain level of faith in the system.
I often wonder if I would be able to pass the driving test as it stands today.
I reckon that I’m pretty good at most things motoring-related.
But I will confess to avoiding parallel parking like the plague whenever I can.
THE CLOWN PROBLEM IS BEING MULTIPLIED AT MY KITCHEN TABLE
I’ve never been fond of clowns. After reading Stephen King’s It, that is.
Mind you, I wasn’t fond of many things after reading his work.
But I do feel sorry for the professional clowns out there; what a way for their business to go downhill, with genuine clowns being linked with all sorts of terrifying behaviour across the country.
How many of the urban legend reports are to be believed, I do not know.
You hear, from numerous children who are linked into numerous networks, that clowns brandishing knives are everywhere.
Somehow, though, I think that the problem is being multiplied at my kitchen table, as each child recounts the same tale but in a slightly different way so it’s triple the threat.