As you know we’ve recently been looking for a new car. You may recall that I’d spent quite some time looking over reviews and ratings, and cross checking prices, and all of this hard work has finally paid off. Over the weekend, we found and bought what I think is the perfect one. I’m really pleased with, it and I actually feel as though I’ve achieved something in getting this one. In the past, whenever I have bought cars, I have usually checked a few reviews (always ones which support my view of the car), taken it for a test drive, and checked that the engine is still there. It has all been very impulsive, and I have bought more lemons than I care to mention. Never-the-less, all the time the cars have been driving I have looked (or at least felt) cool, and really that’s what I thought it was all about.
Now that I’m a Dad, I’ve finally realised that cool is incredibly subjective. I’m sure you’ll have watched a supposedly “hilarious” film or TV programme that is so unfunny that it is funny, or you’ll have seen people who are so unfashionable that they are at the cutting edge of fashion. Unfortunately, when I was young lad, due to my horrendous dress sense, I was just a hairs breadth from being that guy. It’s so easy to get it so wrong!
Now though, I’m all about practicality. I may well look like a complete twit with my khaki bucket hat (just for the record, I don’t), but it provides more than adequate cover for my rapidly balding scalp. Added to which it has a little pocket in which I can store assorted emergency coins. Whilst we’re on the subject of clothing, I can’t help feeling anything but dismay when I see someone (especially a teenager), wearing skinny jeans; I can’t for the life of me work out how they get them over their feet, and I imagine that they have to take little pigeon steps everywhere they go. These are only a minor irritation when compared with those jeans which young men wear which is so short on fabric that it doesn’t even cover their bum crack. I also don’t understand why young people in public spaces listen to their music through the speakers on their mobiles. I wouldn’t mind but not only is the music horribly distorted but, I suspect that even before it made it to the speaker, it was terrible! Yet still they swagger around, fresh out of “da ghetto”, if the lyrics they insist on “spitting” are anything to go by, looking, in their eyes at least, totally rad!
Not only am I perplexed by young people, but I’m finding myself increasingly confused by technology. I’ve never downloaded a song from i tunes (probably because I’m cheap), and anyway what is wrong with CDs? And is there really such an enormous difference between a Bluray and a DVD?I know that the image quality is slightly better (and the subtitles look amazing), but really there’s not a lot a huge difference as far as I can tell. But the thing which really gets me is digital TV. In the good old days of analogue signal, if the weather wasn’t cooperating, your picture may look like all the action was taking place in a snow globe. With digital though, the very nature of the technology means that it either works or it doesn’t, and how is that any better than the way it used to be?
I used to laugh at a bumper sticker one of my mates had on his car, proclaiming that “IF IT’S TOO LOUD, YOU’RE TOO OLD”, safe in the knowledge that car exhausts were supposed to be noisy. But there’s very little which annoys me more than some boy racer cruising past my house at 3 in the morning.
But it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a youngster too; I knew all the answers, and could never understand the indecision which seemed to addle those who were of the generations before mine. But now nothing is quite as black and white as it seemed, there is almost an infinite greyscale in between and the more I consider issues, the more confused I get.
I look fondly back at my teenage years, the music I listened to was brilliant and the clothes everyone else was wearing were awesome. How I long for those days to return, but I suspect that my own parents couldn’t bear those same clothes (which is why I ended up dressed the way I did), and almost certainly took exception to the music I played. They had the sense not to criticise my decisions, (except for the time I got a step hair style, and was marched back to the barbers) keeping their own counsel, knowing that not so long ago it was them wearing what their parents thought were ridiculous outfits, and listening to music which offended their elders.
So, I will try to hold my tongue when Boy-Boy comes home with the latest haircut (a step will probably be back “in” again then), or Fraboo starts listening to whatever racket is popular at the time. I will put up with them telling me that my politics are all wrong, that I don’t know anything. And I will try to have the patience which my parents had, and do whatever I can to help my kids turn out alright in the end.