Throwing information to young humans

Up too early. Way too early for me. Normal for most of the civilised world. I slogged across London. Plumstead. Year 11. First class. I’m in there talking about jobs and electricity. Of course.

These poor young humans. They have been so confined recently. Sixteen to seventeen – surely that’s a time we all need to be unfettered. It’s complicated enough being in that weird changing body, filled with sudden hormones, flooded with malign marketing influences. Add to that the fact they have all been locked up in their homes and unable to even experiment with socialising, for a year and more. We are half back in the room now. I drive an hour to get there, and I’m glad to do it. The technology we have normalised now means that we can speak to a volunteer engineer working on a site miles away from us through Microsoft Teams. That’s a huge thing. I’m talking with teenagers about engineering, but I’m an actor so I’m largely having to follow a script. Today we had a 21 year old engineer talking through a screen to them, answering their questions live. I could really see her words landing on them. I’m a bloke in my forties. I can get myself to the school and I’m glad I can as I wouldn’t be running this on zoom. The engineer wouldn’t have been able to spare the time for the journey. This new mixed culture of working online as well as offline – it made a better opportunity for the students today. I can get behind that.

They are fun, these young people. They get bored or distracted so easily. They do random things to be able to think of themselves as mischievous. They want to see if they can find the edges. I kinda like the attack with which they openly approach pretending to be disinterested, and I enjoy trying to find ways to get over the front and maybe help them find a positive shift. The only huge frustration I have is how, culturally, a pretence of disinterest is considered to be more edgy than a pretence of interest. It feels like a negative cultural choice, wrapped up in “cool” and so forth. How did lack of energy get to be thought of as anything other than dumb?

I could never teach full time, no way. I tell these guys I’m more used to dealing with adults in the context of delivery than I am with people their age. This hopefully gives me a free pass when teacher hears me accidentally swear. But, working with these young people, from time to time, in a context where I’m not bound by the fuckery of bureaucracy, Yeah – sure – I’ll moonlight as a teacher. I see the other teachers giving so much, knowing so much, caring so much for other people’s angry offspring. And yeah, they’re angry coming up. They want to know about money first. They want to impact fast and hard while keeping hold of who they are. I really hope they manage it.

I was done by early afternoon, in both senses of the word The diary is empty tomorrow. I went shopping on the way home. To Waitrose. I ended up filling my basket with ridiculous items. I took half of them out again, but my lunch was the most ridiculous of them all.


I now have a well stocked kitchen, if you’re a Bavarian aristocrat. Cold meats and delicacies and unusual vegetables, and cheese and potatoes. I’ll feed myself healthily. Just as well really, as a friend came over for a surprise while my fat dinner was in the oven, and I had made so much food that I could easily give them half of it and still get happily replete on the leftovers. Now I’m settling in to another bit of Squid Game – God it’s dark, but it has me hooked. Night night.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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