The other day I was walking home from a brilliant day spent out at sea communing with the dolphins. There were a lot of them, and I couldn’t really believe my luck. When we got back to dry land I nodded along while somebody directed me back to the car park because I’ve yet to find a good way of announcing early on that I don’t have a car and people here generally do. So, I took a good few minutes of directions on board and then ignored them all and left on foot. I walked along the road, staring at the bluebells that were out really early, while also staring into everybody’s front windows and judging their interior design skills (and if you say you don’t do that too you are lying to yourself and, even worse, to me). Up ahead of me, I saw two little boys.
I’m certain these two little boys would hate the idea that they were being called ‘little boys’ on the internet or, indeed, anywhere else. I would estimate that they were maybe twelve years old, but considering that I ignore all children to the point where they’re just a noisy, unpleasant blur to me, they might have been anywhere between five and fifteen. All children look the same to me.
I’m a fast walker at the best of times, but I was in a great mood, and I was listening to the best song from Hamilton (‘Non Stop’ for those wondering, and anybody who disagrees is wrong), so I was moving fast. I was moving so fast that I passed the children in no time.
It wasn’t until a bluebell landed on the pavement in front of me that I realised these two little boys might actually be baby arseholes. My fears were confirmed when I switched off my music and heard running footsteps and giggling behind me, while more bluebells landed on the path around me and occasionally brushed against the back of my legs. Because they were aiming at me.
First of all, when did young troublemakers start throwing bluebells at people? That’s how you know you live in Cornwall now. The gang violence is far more floral.
Secondly, after a few minutes of picking up speed and trying to get away from the juvenile yobs, I remembered that I was an adult and therefore entitled to scold them. I began to plan what I was going to say, but I got stuck almost immediately when I couldn’t think of a single solid reason why they should stop chucking flowers in my direction. I assumed they’d ask and I wanted to be prepared.
Eventually I realised that an adult telling them to stop should be reason enough and turned around to give them a piece of my mind.
And they’d gone.
It turns out, when telling kids off, you need to do it unrehearsed and in the heat of moment because if you try to put together a reasoned argument that doesn’t involve going with your gut instinct and telling them they’re going to amount to nothing when they grow up, it will be too late.
I’ll do better next time.