Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Crackheads ~ Youth Edition

So it’s Christmas Eve and as I write this, in less than one hour, it’ll be officially Christmas Day. As such, I’m suddenly reminded of the times when I was a kid, and I was granted the opportunity to stay up until midnight where I was allowed to open one present before the morning. Back then, as most children are, I was excitable and this ritual happened every year like clockwork. As I steadily approach a quarter of a century, however, this Christmas tradition and the excitement accompanying it has proceeded to dwindle. And maybe it’s because I’m older and because I know all the secrets of Christmas now (or the fact that as I write this I can feel the onset of a cold coming on) that this time of year just doesn’t seem so special anymore.

I mean, everyone talks about the holiday spirit – the chance to eat, drink, give and be merry. And some people truly have it. For example, on facebook, a friend of mine organised a charitable affair by collecting hats, scarves and gloves and donating them to the homeless. Commendable stuff really. But I think that as we get older that unless we have children directly in our midst or unless we’re devout Christians or family men and women, the message of true Christmas cheer gets lost in translation. And then there are the people that make you scrunch up your face in disbelief and wonder ‘No seriously! What is up with that?’. And I’m not talking about the Scrooges and Scroogettes. I’m talking about the people who seem to have no sense.

As my contribution to the dinner table this year, it was my job to make dessert so I decided to bake a cake. Just as I was about the start, I realised that the butter had expired so decided to pop out to pick some up. In true British fashion, it was raining so I donned my trackies, hoody, boots, scarf, coat and umbrella and proceeded to make the descent down the road. As I was walking, I spotted three people across the road, dressed in a similar fashion to myself and couldn’t help by wonder if they too were trekking down the hill to pick up some last minute titbits.

How wrong I was.

A loud noise later and I saw that one of them had managed to get a hold of one of the large bins on wheels. Two seconds later, said culprit had pushed one of the bins into the road and rather callously pushed it back again where it rather loudly fell against the pavement edge. By then, I realised that these people weren’t like me at all. They weren’t even drunk. They were youths with nothing better to do on Christmas Eve than ransack public property. It only got worse though when said youth decided to push the large compactor into the centre of the road…and leave it there. By then, I’m thinking ‘what the fuck?

I mean I wish I could have snapped a picture or taken a video or something, but people like this are wicked in nature (no doubt they would have chased my down the road) as clearly they were looking to cause a public catastrophe tonight. But I just don’t understand why it’s amusing to cause trouble. What goes through the mind of people when they think bad is good and good is bad? What is the purpose of defacing property? And why would anyone want to deliberately cause a car crash – possibly even taking someone’s life and cause a family grievance this Christmas?

Last year in August, the riots happened where people, young and old, took to the streets to loot, pillage and destroy public property. It derived from a peaceful protest gone savage and people took it upon themselves to join in with the chaos. In psychology, we call it minority influence. People attempted to justify their actions by implying that they were ‘taking back their taxes’, fighting on behalf of the Mark Duggan case or just fighting for minority and/or poverty stricken groups in general. It’s all stupid really because I don’t think setting someone’s family business on fire justifies these means at all.

But maybe we’re not supposed to understand these people - these kids who think playing cruel jokes are funny. If you recall from an earlier post of mine, the kids in my class used to put pins in the ground hoping that someone might sit on them. Similarly, throughout the UK, we’ve had the Happy Slapping epidemic, an increase in knife crime, turf battles and the like. I know people who are frightened to raise their children here for fear of what they might become. At the same time, however, we’re the adults here are we not? Why is it that we’re so afraid to deal with these youths who seem to have no sense? Why do we let them trample up and down the streets at night when they should be indoors with their families helping to prepare this year’s Christmas dinner instead?

The outside world may be full of negative influences, but I truly believe that stability starts with family. So even though this is coming from me, who feels that she is not as close to her family as she should be, surround yourself with loved ones this Christmas. Hold them close. Treasure and appreciate them (for all their flaws as well) and have a Merry Christmas.

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