IT’S not a generation gap.
It’s a yawning chasm. It’s a whole galaxy, with me on one side and the aliens on the other.
The aliens are 18 years old. They have spots and no manners and food vanishes into them like planets into a black hole.
One has come to stay. It’s a pity the white slave trade isn’t still thriving. I’d sell him; except that they’d give him back, probably with a thousand dollars between his teeth. As a bribe.
He’d eat it.
What’s more he’d sniff it first.
This oaf, who is 190cms tall and has hands like feet, has come to visit us. From England. He sniffs his food and eats everything and leaves the seat up on the lavatory and he “doesn’t mind” anything.
Would you like to go to the beach?
“I don’t mind.”
Would you like to stay in bed?
“I don’t mind.”
Would you like to make your confounded mind up about something… anything… just one thing! Before I kill you!
“I don’t mind.”
Was I like that? I don’t think so.
Well, maybe when I was two.
It’s not that he’s not a nice a bloke. He’s okay in the same way a dish rag is okay (but cleaner). But he eats with his head in his plate and leaves the bathroom hand‑basin surface looking like something out of Noah’s flood and he never, never, never does the washing up!
And he’s staying indefinitely.
His parents are friends of ours in England.
Not any more. They must hate us to do this to us.
Now that they have I think I hate them.
It could be a cultural thing, of course, and nothing to do with his age. He might just have grown up in a society where they don’t know how to hold a knife and fork, or that there is life outside of bed before 11am. But I’ve lived in England. Holding a knife and fork properly is in their DNA, and they do get up before 11am — even if it’s hard to understand why for at least half the year.
I saw this sign once, in an English country home. It said: “The host’s job is to make the guest feel at home; the guest’s job is to remember that he isn’t.”
I know that. I’m doing my bit — how come he isn’t doing his!
On the other hand, maybe he behaves like this at home, too.
In which case I’m not surprised he’s over here.
I used to feel pleased with myself because I could relate to young people. I was probably 18 at the time, although I thought I was older.
And I keep telling myself he’s not representative, but he is! I’ve met lots of them and I reckon they must clone them. An alien race is beaming down an army of spotty youths who are going to take over the world.
They’re going to squeeze their spots in public and ream out their noses with their forefingers and leave their used underwear and their socks in a drawer for weeks at a time until the rest of the world’s population leaves.
It’s like the situation in my home at the moment. Why don’t I just say, “Listen here you revolting child — learn some manners! Even if you learn them from a chimpanzee it will be an improvement. Ask before you vacuum the fridge with your mouth and if you can’t aim straight in a bloody great porcelain bowl with the lid up — pee in the garden.”?
Instead I snap at my wife, kick the dog and go to the pub.
He’s bound to leave sooner or later.
Either that, or he’ll be here till he’s 25. I can live with a 25-year-old, if I don’t kill him first.