So the sun is shining, it’s 30+ outside and I’m taking a walk through Victoria Park as I have done nearly every lunch hour for the last three weeks – just me, my sandwiches and my MP3 player – and I’m kind of at peace with the world.
You know, lush tunes, warm feelings, glorious sunshine... for half an hour at least all seems to be right with the world.
And then I spy two kids lamping the hell out of each other across the other side of the park. And I mean really going for it. Fists, feet, head-locks, the works.
This is souring in itself – I mean it’s not pleasant to watch two 11 years olds knocking seven bells out of each other – but what makes it ineffably worse is that they are plainly in the company of three adults who are standing by and watching it all unfold. And by watching I mean watching like they’re an audience at a kick-boxing match.
One of the kids goes down with the other one on top of him still pummelling away. I’m quite sickened by this point and am glad to see one of the adults – the male – finally getting up and going over to them.
Only he doesn’t stop them fighting. He separates them, apparently gives them advice on fighting fairly and then lets them set to once more. Round two – ding ding.
What parent / guardian would let their kids slug it out in this way? Surely you’d stop them? Give them a stiff talking to and send them away separately to cool off? Not make it a spectator sport!
Oh but of course, Mr Referee was instilling the values of fighting fair into them. Establishing a chivalrous code of gentlemanly conduct and rules of engagement. No knives, pistols, house bricks or eye gouging, please gentlemen. I want a fair fight. Queensbury rules. May the best man win. Loser to crawl off and die somewhere quietly without crying like a big baby.
That this guy’s two female companions could sit complacently by, sunning their shoulders and chatting about handbags while The Gangs Of New York was playing out before them just makes me shudder. I was really disgusted by the whole thing. Not even the velvety vocals of Wendy & Lisa could restore my happy equilibrium after this little interlude.
I trudged back to work feeling sullied (and not in a good way).
Parents? Some kids do ‘ave ‘em.