I don't like to make sweeping generalizations. But last night it was hard not to, as I swore and muttered to myself while biking to the IFI. Mark and I had not been on our bikes for two minutes when we turned the corner and came upon two boys, aged ten or eleven, swinging a PUPPY (it looked only a few weeks old) from it's leash. When I say swinging, I mean, swinging it around, in the air, by it's leash, and then dangling it, above the ground. This puppy didn't even look like it should be separated from its mother, let alone put on a lead in freezing cold weather. It was honestly not much smaller than my hand, and it looked terrified. Actually, it looked traumatized. It didn't make a sound, and just hung there, hopelessly.
I stopped my bike and asked the kids what the hell they were doing. They looked scared for a second because I think they thought from our lights that we were bike cops. Once they realized that we were just regular people, they just continued to hang the puppy from the leash. I told them that someone ought to do that to them to see how they liked it, and one of them replied that he would like it -- he thought it would be fun.
So here's my sweeping generalization. Sometimes it feels like the children in this country are wild animals. Boys, roaming the streets, doing whatever the hell they feel like. And you can't say anything to them, especially in your own neighborhood, where they can terrorize you, or else you're going to wish you hadn't. They throw snowballs into people's faces. They call you names. They look into your letterbox and try to spy on you in your own house. They set things on fire. They try to play chicken with you when you're cycling. I could go on and on. It fucking enrages me. When I was a child, I wouldn't have dreamed of acting that way towards strangers. But so many of the kids here have no fear, no fear at all, of adults or strangers. I just don't get it. I really don't. Back in the US, I only had an issue with one teenage kid, and he was clearly mentally ill.
And they travel in packs as well, for extra intimidation. It's not that I'm walking around, being actively scared of the children and teenagers in my neighborhood, but at the same time, I realize that they are in total control, and cannot be reasoned with. I've lived in crappy neighborhoods all over Boston and I've never experienced anything like it. Even in Brooklyn I didn't see kids acting this way. It's annoying. Most days it's just "one of them things" but yesterday, when I watched helplessly as an animal was being tortured, I just really wanted to leave it all behind me.