Thursday, 21 October 2010

charlotte's rather more cynical thought of the week: if life had a speed limit...

life’s speed limits really confuse me. it’s high time someone started a petition to have them signed more clearly, as I’m perpetually being caught out. invariably speeding. the day i’m stopped for dawdling is the day I develop a sexual attraction alistair darling’s eyebrows.

as toddling kiddywinks we’re advised to amble at a steady 10mph. all mollycoddled, cosseted and overprotected, your learner driver status prevents you from careering off in to anything too exciting- when secretly all we want to do is floor it. then invariably look back, and think, bugger, look at all the good stuff i missed. could’ve made believe i was super-nappies-mcgee everyday of my wonderful carefree life for a good 10 years. but no, i spent it pretending to put on the washing like mummy does. fool.

tweenagers speed like no other age group. just when the world wants to keep you right where you are- in some lamppost-lined street travelling at a cautious 30- you are under the impression you are the lewis hamilton of life’s fast lane- “no, no Mother, i will not remove these false eyelashes for school. they are my bieber-entrancers and i shall not be parted from them.” the inevitable crash will come along at some point, and most of us slow down again, but the awkwardness of insufficient wisdom continues to manifest itself in a headlong dash through the rest of our teenage years.

latter teens are more appropriately described as ‘off road’. observing a latter-day teen is morbidly voyeuristic. like watching someone drive without the handbook, or roadmap, or even any sense that they are in control of a vehicle. your level of general intelligence is inconsequential- in fact, levels of intelligence and levels general twatiness seem to rise in tandem throughout the latter teens- the more satre you’ve read, the more inane, generalised, uninformed axioms you are likely to spew. while habitually sipping on your double espresso and pulling hard on your menthol vogues, in the firm belief that you could pass for a thirty-something French bohemian. (You can’t.)

then come the twenties. i believe i’m not alone in saying that once the cushy student road signs disappear, and we’re left with nothing but our a-z of how life ‘should’ be done… we’d kind of like to grind to halt, please. just pull up in the lay-by and have a little snooze. but instead we’re shoved right out there on the motorway, 70mph, and bricking it. of course, to anyone who asks we’ll go glassy eyed and stare in to middle distance while telling them everything’s great. i’m young! it’s wonderful! i just love waking up in the morning, shivering in my piss-trickle of a shower, getting dressed in something I hope to god resembles professional attire, to go in to my unpaid job to make tea for people who get some kind of sadistic kick out of slave labour. not that I’m bitter, cynical and twisted or anything…

here’s hoping that in subsequent years, the mental and realistic limits start to match up- that there’s some sort of equilibrium. either that or chuck the rulebook: live fast, die young. or more optimistically: live fast, have (more) fun.

[charlotte skeoch]

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