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I can see why they live in the moment

Toon Traveller unpicks the blame game

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by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent for outsideleft.com
Glad I'm not 18 and A level stressed. 21 and degree stressed. 22 degrees and student debt stressed. 25 / 27 housing rent stressed. 30 and new mortgage, furloughed and redundancy stressed.
by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent for outsideleft.com
Glad I'm not 18 and A level stressed. 21 and degree stressed. 22 degrees and student debt stressed. 25 / 27 housing rent stressed. 30 and new mortgage, furloughed and redundancy stressed.

Been out, a wistful stroll and an all too sad first coffee sip.

Passing Adriano's, a taste of Naples in Newcastle, affectionately remembered coffees, biscotti's, sunshine faces, Italian chatter, loud and raucous, gagging for Gaggia's explosive roar, steaming hiss, a splash, cups, spoons, saucers' discordant chatter, anticipation, a memory, lingering on the tongue. For now boarded for a refurb, a temporary loss, but real losses will be everywhere, all too poignant, an age gone, passed, pandemic's victim, it's what's to come.

Pubs, shops, gyms, closed, open, closed, refitted, reconfigured. Covid-19, a closed down, stumbled, stalled, spread out, space out, socially distanced world, masks pocketed and very, very out. Eat out to Help out, Monday is the new Friday, restaurants, apps , bookings, sips, wipes, queues, QRs, sanitizers, masked greeters, sanitised eaters, tables sprayed, menus wiped, cards swiped, socially isolated, one way queues, washed hands, and shuffling feet. Resigned faces, Tap and pay. From cash only, to no cash only, card only.

Wonder how street sleepers survive, on pocketed cash like Pizza Express, Wagamama, Zizzi's, closed and gone.

Covid 19's 'Blame Game'. New stories - old scapegoats. Overweight people boost NHS risks, ethnic families are virus spreader, playful young are super spreader. Forget fake 'net' news, G5 masts cause the infection, Bill Gates is spreading the virus, sure we ALL KNOW the fake news, what was the OASIS album - - "Don't believe the truth" too much of that out there, we all gotta think, there are agendas, and conspiracies, New Scientist weekly for me.

One of these, "truths" a real tragedy, "young people are behaving irresponsibly", we see the TV news, You Tube, Face book, Whats App – yeah all there BUT – BUT – BUT lets look at the this, is it true, even it is what does it mean?

First up, my agenda, I am a BABY BOOMER, yeup… Had and got all the benefits of "m-m-m-my Generation";
Soft "A" levels, fee free arts degree, and free grants to live wildly at college. Long term jobs, promotion paths, pay rises. Nailed on index linked pensions. Good homes to rent, affordable homes to buy. Yeah one of the golden generation, that's me, college to pension, savoured life's delights.

I am all too aware of the pressures the next generations face, a world at 20 now, I could never have imagined.

16 something to mid 20 something, close socialising, no face masks, intimate hugs, rule breaking, risk taking, pleasure taking, fear making, whatever. Couple of weeks ago, yeah, I bought the narrative my "Baby Boomer mates" were pushing,

"Young people didn't care",

"They're increasing transmission",

"No thoughts for anyone, they were selfish".

News tell same story. It looks like the Baby Boomers actually control the story, and the blame. In the words of the leader of Preston City Council, they were prepared to 'Kill Granny.' REALLY? I mean REALLY is this really what kids think?

Cafe sitting, Toon's youthful playground, memories, my youth, 40 years ago drift back. Bars, curries, gigs, kisses, hugs and laughs, shared crisps, passed glasses, crowds and crowded tables and shared smokes, cancers and new beer sips. That was me, "A" levels, college life, parties, beers, jobs – tons of them, the world, opportunity rich, risk free, life's first grown-up steps on a easy-to-follow career-for-dummies wide path. Life was good, and life… Could only get better. Compared to the Covid19 crews, my past, my youth, rebellion, rejection, risk taking, world taking, determined to have it all… But… BUT - reflection, self deception, appreciation, looking and seeing, really seeking . . . .

Today's faces, bright, laughing, but – but – hugs and embraces, reassurance, support. I realised my life 40 years ago is theirs now, same age, same mates, different world, unimaginable. These Covid days, half open, pre-ordered, pre-booked, pre-arranged, no ad-hoc delights, these days, masked, controlled, horrible in many ways MAY BE THIER best days, BEST DAYS for fun. These carefree days, I loved, seemingly denied. For Covid19, second wavers, minimum waged, zero houred, student debted, rent stressed, part timed, low fun, high stressed, temporary jobs… no regular city breaks for them, no long hauls to Seychelles for them, no spontaneity, no Cape Verde lazy summer breaks, a calm before the storm, breaking hopes and fears for them all, a world Baby Boomers have helped create.

Covid 19 crew, brighter, more in touch with a future than I ever was, all too bleakly aware, hopes knowingly dashed determined to grab what small delights they can, in these, summer sun kissed day, pre-college, pre-post grad, pre work weeks, they know, they know, these days, COULD well be their "best" taste of low stress freedom, to be free, and live the hedonistic life Baby Boomers embraced with gusto… Beers in the sun, wine in the park, shared Pizza, and parties, waiting for the end game, for the Covid's, can we blame them to many of us do.

Universal Credit, stuck at home, hopes and visions, dreams, faltering steps delayed, a decade of post BREXIT, recycled COVID-19, depressing dreams, killing futures, years of poor jobs, pay and prospects, all the things we took for granted, entitlements for boomers, luxurious - luxury for Covids. If these are their "best days", their days of freedom, self expression, days of self discovery, it's an all too short period, one to savoured, enjoyed before its gone.
Yeah I can understand that attitude, more than Youthful rebellion, more than breaking with the past. Facing a bleak future I'd want to grab my glass of fun, share my hugs of pleasure, woop my delight. What do so commentators say, "live in the moment", well if this is the moment, and one of the last for last for laughs, parties, reassurance and confidence, is it wrong for the Covids to grab it, the way baby boomers grabbed 60's and 70's

Not giving a Green light, not saying it's right, not even giving justification, just a sliver of understanding from someone whose drank from the 70's and left today's legacy, now sees the struggles for the first kids of the new Covid19 shaped millennium, a bleaker world, one I'm glad I'm not in, it's a scary world. Who can blame a last blow out, a summer party, a grab of pleasure, before hope's lights dim in a second wave.

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Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.

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