I recently heard from Chris Weston, my man in Eastbourne, and he sent in the following followup to a previous post:
Chris Weston, scribblin' purty ptchers.
Remember my run-in with one of the less charming juveniles that frequent my local park (if not, you can read it here )...?
Well, there's been a strange follow-up:
Yesterday, my wife Karen and I took the kids to our local pool, and who should I bump into but the very same kid... on his own this time. I promise you, the thought of holding him underwater for a good two minutes never entered my head! Instead I just decided to ignore him. I was playing with the older two members of the Ginger Squad — my redheaded sons — while Karen left the pool to feed Alex and get changed... and once she was gone the brat from the park swam over in our direction. I prepared myself for some more "grief"... but he clearly didn't recognise me. In fact, he kind of "attached" himself to me and the kids: chatting, joking, showing off his underwater moves, splashing about. It was all quite harmless, if a little annoying and intrusive... but my elder kid, Charlie enjoyed his company.
He was clearly on his own so I decided to indulge him, and smiled through his more unruly, attention-demanding antics of spitting water about and splashing a bit too rigorously for the infant area... but I was keen to move my kids away from him and give my attention to them instead... however, he followed us everywhere. I could not shake him off.
As I eventually made moves to leave, he asked me if I would stay another half an hour 'til it was time for him to go too, but I really needed to move on by then.
On meeting Karen in the changing area, I reported my meeting with "that kid from the park," and she said yeah, she'd seen him arrive... on his own. (And he was only ten years old). I remembered what he said to me at the park: "I don't F$*cking do what my mum tells me... so what makes you think I'm gonna do what YOU tell me?". Putting two and two together, I'm guessing he doesn't have a dad on the scene.
His behaviour kind of makes sense... he's craving attention. I feel a bit guilty now for trying to lose him in the pool... would it have killed me to show him a bit of interest? Sure, I faked it for a bit, but all the time I was thinking "Leave us alone". In my defence, the memory of his verbal attack was still fresh in MY mind, at least... but I think I understand now what produces such hostility.
I'm reluctant to let this letter descend into some kind of hippy "Let's all just reach out for eachother" sermon... but there is such thing as society... and we should occasionally ask ourselves what WE can do for others. It's not easy, though, is it...? And sometimes it's not much fun.
Chris Weston, ginger tosser — doing his part for human kindness.