This is not a rant. This is a Public Service Announcement. An exhortation, a tocsin.
You of the under-30 generations, with your omnipresent backpacks, full of I ken not what: extra crunchy eco-friendly dark 73% dark chocolate, ultra-hydrogenated glacier water with squirty pop-top squeezy bottles, low-carb, hi-NRG bars made from boiled newspapers, Apples, Blackberries, Dingleberries, cellphones with Satan’s own clangorous flatulent peal for a ringtone, and whatever else you need to fill your empty lives with every minute of the day lest you fail to be entertained and needs must think for five seconds.
You are carrying more gear than Scott of the Antarctic. Sadly, however, you will not be “just going outside” and “may be some time” out there. You will continue to infest the corridors of our public buildings and blight our sidewalks and darken the aisles of our emporia. Nay, you clog them like so many cholesterol emboli, choking off the arteries of human commerce and navigation.
Worse yet, you insist on wearing these backpacks around like some Apollo program astronaut on EVA; is this some form of surrogate mother-in-a-box from which you, Oedipus-like, fear separation? Gaggles of you mill pointlessly about like so many churls, incommoding passers-by with something like a small caravanserai or yurt on your back. Can you not leave these things at the front desk? Free your lumbar region, and your brain will follow.
Your herd is marked, like the kine of the field, for later identification and sorting; inks, dyestuffs, and brands of various hues adorn you, my little Queequegs; for all I know your underthings are frescoed, socks stippled and lacquered with designs appropriated from various ethnic groups all around the world (who have doubtless been consulted, and paid in full for this use of their cultural identity) to show what a self-realised, caring person you are.
And now to the nub of my gist. My mother. You may think that she is just a sweet little old lady with a cute accent.
Oh, my globally caring friend. My winsome little delusional flower. Although she has seen 75 summers come and go, and despite the fact she is barely 5 foot one tall, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Do not think that her disarming Scottish burr is some Disneyesque/Mrs. Doubtfire/Mary Poppins nanny-ish affectation.
Be vigilant. Be on your guard. Be afraid.
Because, if one more of you self-centred, solopsistic little bastards whacks her in the face again with your rock-hard backpacks in a store aisle without so much as an acknowledgement…she is going to go off on you.
And you will know The Fear.
Your tattoos and curtain-ring faces will not phase her in the least; nor any attempt at deterrence on your part by using street language. At 17 she was taking severed limbs from the operating room to the incinerator, and nursing on the south side of industrial Glasgow taught her more bad language than you’ve ever imagined possible. That scar on her hand? Not some fashion accessory from a chi-chi tattoo parlour; that was courtesy of a mental patient.
She’s hardcore, dude; the real thing.
Now, step the fuck back and give her (and the rest of her generation) some proper, capital R, Respect. And watch what you’re doing with the goddam backpacks, okay?
You may now resume your lives. I drink to your gloomy futures.