Thursday, 8 October 2009
Conscientious driver that I am, twice this week have I been forced to slam on the anchors to avoid mowing down a couple of wheat ears among the latest crop of students who specialise in stepping off the pavement straight in front of moving vehicles without looking - relying on that infallible immortality of theirs - the second without even an iPod glued to its ears as excuse.
Whether or not all the 'Drink Yourself To Death For A Fiver!' leaflets the Freshers are bombarded with by local bars the moment they come up had anything to do with either incident, it struck me that just as more and more youngsters are apparently starting primary school without being toilet-trained or able to speak more than a handful of baby words, an increasing number of students are turning up at University without the ability to even cross the road, much though you learn to expect (in my line of work) many won't be able to make toast without activating the fire alarm or use the washing machine without an engineer being required to mop up the aftermath.
I then mused whether Society is in effect, going backwards, possibly trailing evolution not far behind in its wake.
My thoughts turned to the poor and dare I say, increasingly haggard-looking, parents re-mortgaging their homes in order to afford to send their offspring to University, particularly in a recession, only to risk their investment being run over and all that money wasted for want of a Green Cross Code man.
Perhaps Freshers' Week needs to become 'Basic Lifeskills' week rather than an orgy of mindless drinking and pointless dungeon and dragon societies.
If this makes me a killjoy, how much less fun if joy ends up on a slab because it isn't capable of assuming even the slightest young adult responsiblity for itself, whether through 'whatever' lackadaisical nature or a negligent lack of parental nuture.
If only history were still taught, more youngsters might realise how hard many of their predecessors once fought to be educated and then to vote and how the powers that be were terrified of the idea of educated voting peasantry and working classes, contriving accordingly to keep them ignorant and therefore controllable for as long as possible.
They would then also know that religion and cheap drink were historically employed as opiates for the masses, where bread and circuses proved insufficient. Now religion has lost it hold, bread and circuses are passe and drink has become even cheaper and available 24/7, to be joined by drug highs for less than the cost of a cappucino. Worse still, acting dumbly and bragging about it has become fashionable, and even aspirational behaviour.
How reassuring it would be to see a 'Wake Up And Smell The Coffee Dudes! Society' at next year's Freshers' Fair.
Meanwhile I might look into whether there is such a thing as a 'student chaser' available to bolt onto the front of the car. Or invent one, if there isn't.