Over the past few days I've watched a couple of documentaries that show me a world I do not understand and have never understood. The first was a programme about drugs with a bunhc of 19/20 year old urban partygoers who all took drugs like Ketamine and MKat (which I believe is what the call meow meow) and something else called GHB. The second was an episode of a fairly ludicrous 'documentary' about kids of the same age going to the Balearic's or similar destinations called 'Sun Sea Sex and Suspicious Parents'.
I just don't get the worlds I'm watching. I don't recognise these people, in myself at that age, or the lives they live. I've never been to any of these rather sordid looking holiday destination, I can barely hold my drink, and I don't do drugs. I guess I must be one of the most boring people that ever lived, certainly to people like this.
That's not to say I've never tried drugs. Like most people I've 'inhaled' on multiple occasions, but Cannabis has always made me feel pretty sick. Maybe I didn't get the good shit? I tried speed once, but didn't really feel anything, and have no real compulsion to try anything else. I wouldn't know where to go to get some drugs and I'd much rather spend the money on other things. I'm not in favour of prohibition even remotely, but I don't condone the use of any drug. I don't trust my mind to stay in one piece. But that's just me. I just don't see the point of taking this stuff; I'd rather remain in control of my faculties and enjoy myself that way.
Similarly I've never really enjoyed alcohol. I'm not teetotal, although I can't remember the last time I drank anything alcoholic. I just don't need or even want it, and, as far as drugs go, it's a pretty pathetic excuse. There are much better things for people to take, but it's become the social lubricant that people rely on. Perhaps if I spent more time in pubs I'd feel differently, but I don't go pubbing nor clubbing. The pubs near me (which I couldn't afford) are insular sad places full of old boys who I'm sure drink and drive (I can't imagine people of that generation ordering a lemonade instead of a hearty point of grog on their way home from work). Clubs always seem to be places full of people I don't understand; image conscious judgemental tribal and intimidating. The few times I've ever been to a nightclub i have felt violently out of place. I don't adorn myself with faux tribal tattoos and I don't chisel my abs daily.
When I see these kids in places like Magaluf or Aya Nappa necking insane cocktails and being forcefed everything from Sambuca through a pipe in a dentist's chair to inhaling gaseous alcohol I wince. That would kill me! Of course these kids would say 'they just want to have a good time' or 'you're only young once' (though I draw the line at drinking my own sick), which is conceptually fine, but when did all this become the norm? Why is this the accepted way to have a good time? Is our society now so far gone that people need to get so violently wrecked, so utterly drunk or stoned, even to the very real potential detriment of their health in order to feel alive? I'm not trying to be judgemental here; everyone wants to have a good time and life just gets harder on a daily basis it seems, but I look at these holiday destinations and it just looks like some grubby British seaside resort with a spray tan. The streets are coated with sick and the scenery is nothing but a row of charmless cheap holiday apartments, bars, fried food/gutbuster breakfast establishments and places to stock up on insane amounts of booze. The native culture seems to have given way to the English customer and his euros. Isn't that a bit sad? Lovely Mediterranean islands paved over by the British drinking establishment so blokes can feel up young women who themselves seem to end up lying in a gutter with their tits out.
It's a world I don't recognise. I'm not even sure it's a world I want to live in. I've never ever felt comfortable in that kind of 'howay the lads' social unit. But that's what these kids, particularly the boys, are defined by. Each of these lads looks a carbon copy of the other and, with the help of the programme maker's narrative, they are assigned a role in the group: the joker, the babyface, the mother, the virgin (who will get teased mercilessly for being a virgin in these places - probably not what he signed up for), the pro, the cool kid, and so forth. It's like they are positions in an RAF squadron, soldiers in Afghanistan, or football players in a team. So much for individuality.
They are all toned and honed in a way I never was (and still aren't!), all preened and proper. When I was that age the last thing on my mind was buying expensive brands of aftershave and deodorant, or going to the gym and working out. That seems to have become popular with later generations; I don't even live near a gym. But nowadays it's all about qualifying for the master race it seems - not being a young person examining the world and finding about it. Instead of learning about life and the world in a more traditional sense - it's preening, getting preloaded, taking party drugs, seeing the world through the lens of some grotty britishcentric party destination and following some prescribed path of social evolution. Even the phenomenon of the gap year passed me by. I dont' recall it being something that anyone I knew did, nor was it ever discussed. I think the only thing was the Camp America stuff, and a couple of kids may have done that - working in summer camps in the US (and other countries I'm sure).
Even back then I never had the money for such things - I still dont' even own a passport. Whereas nowadays these kids are all armed to the teeth with modern accouterments. They get smartphones and computers as a matter of course from their parents as birthday or Christmas presents. That's fair enough I suppose, although I question why young kids need the full reign of smartphone technology per se, but that's not my decision to make. These kids are all loaded and are all seasoned travellers as their parents are of the generation that could afford and avail themselves of the boom in cheap travel and less restricted world travel. The world wasn't that small when I was their age.
It's just such a change from my generation to the present that I don't recognise the world these kids live in, yet I have to compete with them for work. These kids will have their gap year doing all sorts of amazing and outrageous things that I don't have the chance to. Again, fair enough - that's the way the world is now. But that will become the norm; that's the standard used for judging my application for jobs (never mind health issues) alongside these young dynamic upstarts. How can I compete with that? I'm not a lad, nor a bloke (except genetically of course!), I don't really enjoy football, I don't particularly want to drink alcohol nor take drugs. I dont' see any room in this society for me? It's just a society I simply don't recognise. Everyone seems to speak through the prism of football parlance. Everyone has to compete, and if you can't handle your ale you're a LIGHTWEIGHT!!!! Oy Oy!
I'm not pissing and moaning (well not too much). I just find myself surrounded by a massive cultural change I don't understand and am not comfortable with. I have a football pitch near enough that I can hear them scream (and I mean scream) and swear (including racist abuse ffs) whenever there's a match. It gets ridiculous: as if 11 men are going to benefit from a crowd of armchair pundits shouting 12 different sets of directions at them. Why does football attract this level of 'passion'? Why have people, especially blokes, got to be so leery? What has made us this way?