I’ve just been to the supermarket at 9.30pm on a Saturday night. Half an hour before closing, the store is quiet and eerie – the music has stopped and the staff have that purposeful look about them, tidying, clearing, stacking. If you catch their eye the look they give you says: ‘hurry up and get your shopping, member of the public. I really want to get out of here on time. Its Saturday night, you know.‘
So I did my shopping. Not much, but milk and bread, bacon, cheese and a few other bits and pieces to get me though the next few days. I don’t know when I’ll next have the opportunity to get to the supermarket, so this is a tide-me-over shop.
Anyway, as I leave the shop, the shutter is half down, to discourage late-night wanderers from heading inside in the last 5 minutes before closedown, but the security man opens it to let me out. I push my small trolley towards the car – which isn’t far away – and get my keys and prepare to stow my shopping in the boot.
As I get to the car, I hear a commotion. Up near the cash points I see a small black car screech away from a standing start, with its front passenger door wide open. A girl all in pink with big hoopy* earrings tries in vain to get into the car, then gives it up as a bad job and starts swearing at the top of her voice. The expletives are so thick and fast and gutteral, I can barely understand them, but I know that they are there because she finishes the sentence with ‘…ya prick.’ She glares, and marches off to her equally pinkly-dressed friend. The ‘boys’ in the car stop a few yards away, car-door still agape. A heated conversation ensues between two boys from the car, through hastily wound-down windows, and the two pink girls. There are more swear-words per sentence than actual meaningful words. Hoopy-earring girl is the worst of the bunch, but not by much. The competition is stiff.
‘Distinct lack of useful vocabulary’ I found myself saying as I got in my car and locked the doors, and instantly felt old. ‘Is this how you tell when you’ve grown up? You’re a grown-up because you can swear?’
Of course not.
Anyone can swear; age is not important. Mouthing off using a string of expletives is easily done and requires very little skill or intelligence at all.
The real grown-ups know that swearing is only effective if used occasionally at just the right moment. Then a single swearword is like a piece of fleeting artwork. It is beautiful for one single, shining moment. There, on show, briefly, for all to see, but gone just as quickly.
That’s the kind of swearing I like. The impressive stuff.
Not this chavvy rubbish.