This is a difficult post to write. It's about society.
Last week I took my son to a skate park in Bristol. Bedminster skate park to be precise. This is right next to a family play park.
He loves being on his balance bike, and I knew this one was big, so he'd have plenty of places to ride.
We got there during the afternoon and it was empty. He had the best time ever, riding fast down the long slope, and then walking his bike up to the top of the hill so he could do it all over again.
It was 15 minutes of father and son heaven on a sunny day.
But then a big group of teenage boys showed up. They started loudly talking, or should I say shouting at each other, all macho. C bombs, F bombs, even a stab bomb. Lad banter. Talking about bitches and fam, and openly smoking a joint.
15 metres away from a three year old boy, and his dad.
It depressed me, it made my blood boil and the hairs on the back of my neck rise up in fury. I wanted to be a scary badass dad who just walked over and said something so violently they ran away, or even just apologised.
I'd walk on over like Liam Neeson in Taken to give them a bollocking, ready to break necks with swift hand movements if it came to it. I'd say something like this.
"One day, some of you will be dads. And you won't want your kid to see or hear ANY of what I've just had to listen to."
But in this day and age, anything can happen. They were aggressive. Troubled.
Father, 34, stabbed in skate park, in front of his son. Would that be my headline?
So I said to the kid, gently, "It's going to be time to sleep soon. You must be tired!"
"Oh! But I love being here! I want to stay longer!"
"OK. Just one more go."
And down the ramp he went, turning his bike in a circle with the noise of his feet in the concrete skidding him back towards the ramp again. Laughing, smiling, unaware.
"Again, again. One more time."
"OK. But be quick."
And he did. The shouting, swearing and showing off continued nearby.
"Time to go. The naughty man might put a ticket on our car."
I scooped him up in my arms, and off we went.
As I got to the car nearby a woman staggered out of a shop, yelling, and went over to another car right by ours.
Incoherent through drugs and her own life troubles she just shouted at the driver inside who wasn't letting her in for whatever reason. She used terrible language, oblivious that this was a street where families lived, or just not giving a single F bomb.
I got him in the car. I tried to be cheerful, I said, "That woman was a bad woman. She was shouting in the street. It was very rude of her to do that. We don't like people who shout like that."
"I don't ever want to be like that woman. I want to be like you, dad."
Kind words, son.
I don't know what the point of this post is really, other than to say when I grew up I was respectful of other people. I cared if people thought I was out of order, or a nuisance.
What does this say about the society we live in now? Have you experienced it too?
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