There. I said it. Half term stinks. And you know why? Because I’m not a spotty fifteen year old with an attitude problem. I’m a spotty 23 year old with a problem with kids.
Now before I start on this inevitable rant, I want to clarify a few things. I don’t hate all children. I know some really lovely ones. The ones that have ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ in their vocabulary. The cute ones that want to tell you all about the film they just saw. The ones that look at their parents all doe-eyed before going off on one all about how much they love ice cream. Yep. The ones under the age of approximately 10. I like those ones. There are some older ones too that I like. A handful of 17 year olds with whom I work are absolutely wonderful… until you put them with other 17 year olds.
But it’s that gap. That gaping chasm between the ages of 10 and 17 that I loathe. The rude kids, the ones that get lippy just because they hit puberty. When I hit puberty, I… well, I went a bit weird. Let’s not use me as an example. I’ve only just recently become what can only be described as ‘some shade of normal’. But just because you’re, uhm, “going through some changes” doesn’t give you the right to take it out on absolute strangers. So your parents don’t want you in the house. Seems they have an ounce of sense, as I certainly wouldn’t want you in mine. So why do you then have to become my responsibility because you’re in my place of work messing around and disrupting other customers and members of staff? And let’s face it; half term, summer holidays, Christmas holidays… they all just exacerbate things.
Why give these little sh*ts (excuse my French) that taste of freedom? Do they deserve it? Have they worked really hard to achieve this little break? God no! It’s the teachers who need it. Not the kids. And so, we in retail are left to pick up the pieces whilst the teachers recover for another few weeks of teaching.
But what makes it so much worse this year? Halloween is smack in the middle of this bloody week. Kids off their tits with sugar and 12 year olds trying to blag some alcohol and dressing up like a prostitute because it’s “their costume”. Halloween on it’s own is one of my favourite things about this time of year. I know Ellen agrees with that sentiment. It’s the all-American holiday that triggers Tim Burton’s imagination, it’s an excuse to watch Leprechaun, it’s just a fun time to hang out with your friends… when you’re in your early twenties. Even when I was in my teens, it never crossed my mind to use what can only be described as the basics of a cooking lesson gone wrong, and throw eggs and flour at people and their houses “just for fun”.
I might have been a bit weird as a teenager, but I was certainly not like the hundreds of teenagers I see everyday now. I dressed appropriately, I used language befitting my age (believe it or not, no swears for quite a long time) and I never once lied about my age. Looking back, I must’ve been the only one, as all my peers have stories about drinking in the park, but I was a goody-goody. And I’m so pleased I was, because now I’m not a hypocrite. So I’ve had enough. Let’s ban half term and cut Christmas and Summer holidays in half. Why? Just for fun.