Return from Bitch Mountain

You’re not going to like everyone but if you remain civil with them well, you can’t really go wrong. – Hayley Murrell

Hayley is Aaliyah/Polly Pocket’s mum. She went to Penglais School too.

‘Was Penglais different to how it is now?’ we asked her when she brought Aaliyah round to ours. Pocket back here on the weekend – phew. It means everything’s normal. She found Delph and off they went – to take over the living room. Again.

‘Penglais was ok,’ Hayley said, twirling her long brown hair through her midwife’s fingers. Hayley is a particularly thoughtful character. She smiled. ‘Though we didn’t have all this social media stuff to deal with. I don’t know how I’d do it now.’

Meditative Sunday morning nod from us. Hayley has this peaceful effect on a room. Quality effect for a midwife.

‘The thing is,’ Jack said, ‘there’s all these things that kids do now that we didn’t used do… like going to Starbucks and McDonald’s. We didn’t do that.’

I did, I thought. I looked over to see if Hayley psychically agreed with me but she didn’t give any sign. So I kept neutral.

‘And don’t tell me they’re any smarter than we were,’ Jack continued undeterred. ‘Except that now they have phones and cafes to hang out in. No wonder these kids sound like Neanderthals. They have more stuff now but they haven’t got any more smarts. It’s like asking a bunch of rodents to build a spaceship.’

Jack’s good at putting things in perspective. I’m having a hard time dealing with this stuff. Until recently, we lived the life of peaceful internet school.. but with a yearning daughter attached to it. Now we have a daughter who doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on stuff – but the stuff itself is crazy. Chaos is right around the corner at our mainstream school.

And on top of this crazy school is social media. Commenting, replying, tagging, streaking.. it’s a never-ending cycle of communication. I don’t have anything against it per se. It’s statistically true that anti-social behaviour has decreased since kids have become strapped to their phones. Not as many can be bothered to hurl abuse at innocent passerbys in the park anymore – when they have to send 4,000 Snapchat streaks in the next five minutes or their streaks will disappear. Even the hooligan has to make choices.

I understand the problems with on-line bullying. How it invades the last safe place – the victim’s bedroom. I don’t have an easy wrap on this. Full disclosure – I checked Lulu’s Instagram messages the other day. She got a message from a guy in her class – apparently, he likes to masturbate. Yeah, I know. Sophisticated. And yes, she did really shout at me for looking at her messages. Since then, I’ve had to promise never to look at her messages again. I’m almost certain I’ll keep the promise.

I asked who the masturbator was. ‘The thing is, she said, ‘he’s not a bad guy. At least with him, you get what you see.’

I cannot top that.

 

 

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