The Toner of Tikka

You won’t find his like on a Renaissance easel,

070c67f079e1dada4dcfe55a6239814497c56138It’s cro-magnon money-fountain Vin “The Knuckleface” Diesel

Meg was trying to help me with this rhyme. Her suggestion was “appeasal.” Pretty sure that’s not a thing.

This post is slightly late this week as I am ensconced in the nurturing bosom of a long weekend. I am increasingly on the road for work, travelling once a week over the next three, though to pretty functional spots. No palm trees and swimming pools. Moreso unfamiliar metro networks and withered pastries. Last week I was in Brussels where a storm resulted in me spending 5 life-hours (it’s more depressing to think of them this way) in Brussels airport where I was treated to a very grim scene indeed. A boy (about 13) was being escorted out of the airport by security with his disinterested mother, sashaying after with an air of a restaraunt critic who has been asked to pay extra for toiletpaper. It took a minute to realise that the boy had some kind of developmental issue (lots of vocalisations and no actual use of language over the 15 minutes this lasted for.)

The following scene repeated itself about 6-8 times (not a joke). The boy would wrench himself free of the security guards who, to be fair were desperately trying not to be heavy handed with the kid becuase they realised his vulnerability. He would then sprint into the cafe to grab a bottle of Coke, his mother would say his name, he’d ignore and the shopkeeper would try and get to him before he cracked it open. The security guys would then bring him back to the entrance and wrestle with him for another minute. The mother would then quietly watch them wrestle/chase her son like a really shitty, really depressing Benny Hill. Two more security would arrive.

And repeat.

Benny_HillBenny Hill is probably guilty of a lot of things (especially having been famous in the 70’s) but physically grappling with a special needs boy in a Belgian airport I hope is not among them. But other stuff? For sure. Look at him.

To give a little context, I am not by any means an expert on working with kids like this, though neither am I a novice. I worked with autistic kids of different levels for a year in Ireland and special classes also occasionally in Japan for another two. Being a parent to any kid is a tough gig I’m very sure. To a kid with special needs, whatever that might mean is boat-hull tough.And for sure I only saw her for a few minutes, but still.

In our 7 hours a day with the kids I worked with, there’d be poo, lessons, pee and for certain kids random acts of violence. I in particular was put front and centre for any impending hurty-pain as as a guy, I was a supposed to be better placed to walk it off than the 90% of female staff there. Though they were some extraordinarily tough cookies.

More so than the sometimes dizzying rain of blows that could come for the least perceived frustration (“I want Peppa Pig” – “Okay____, let’s go get it!” <throws TV at me>) the toughest part of the job was seeing those parents struggling to cope under the demands their situation exacted on them. Knowing that down to somewhat of a lottery their experience of parenting was turned into something bittersweet and that in their individual case, they just weren’t up to dealing with it. That’s not a moral judgement on my part, that would be like getting frustrated with someone for not being able to lift a heavy box. Whatever the result though, in my experiences there and elsewhere, all parents were working their parent-nuts off to try and do the best they could, even if it wasn’t the outright best or even sometimes good enough.

Then there was the Brussels airport Mom. Apparently checked in, but sadly checked out (gunning for the Pulitzer here lads). Eventually there were 12 or so G4S security (unless the S = security, in which case they were, I guess G4) rent-a-goons trying to contain a situation which was clearly beyond their abilities and she just stood there agawp. A shitty parent in a situation that requires maximum double good parentage to break even.

g4DM0604_468x399A little research showed what G4S looks like dropping the S. G4 AKA these turds. Check out Shovels down the back. He knows how to grip a shoulder. With spudpickers like those he could be in G4S proper. Which is good, becuase these turkeys were dropped from their contract after Sam Squirrel in front, tried to hide Simon Cowells nuts for the Winter.

This kind of thing is inevitable numerically when you have all kinds of parents paired with all kinds of kids, but to see the numbers coagulate into the actual real-life ramifications in a Brussels airport cafe (try the chicken tikka panini) it is a grim reminder how numbers are people too.

In other news, Meg and I celebrated 6 years together this week so we booked ourelves an old timey London weekend that could have been anywhen. “Let’s party like it’s 1899,” I declared to Meg, “Like we’re deeply concerned about the rise of the Kaiser and radium is being recommend as a health supplement to reinvigour the bones.” We took in a show (Book of Mormon, at least one oral sex act per Hitler or your money back) and dodging in and out of the August showers we went to  dine on monkfish and lamb. We soaked up the dank in a grotty West End pub where a Frenchman behind the bar shirked his responsibilities and was openly insulted by his English co-workers. We even took our Afternoon Tea at the Savoy where we learned too late there were several courses of dessert beyond the dainty finger sandwiches. Cake was a course. The course of cake. Lavendar eclairs. Some kind of strawberry pouffant. Not even a word, but that’s what it was. Amazing stuff, but we both shaved off 6 months of our life via cream alone.

In a nod to the suffragettes (I hardly, indeed at all, knew yee) I dressed in a petticoat and hoop at the Victoria and Albert museum and performed a ceremonial curtsey dance. There wasn’t a crowd when I started but there was damn sure one when I left.

11052465_10100525140103048_8543616114390163887_nIn the words of Gloria Q. Estefan, the rhythm IS gonna get ya.

Will be starting a mid-week blogpost every week this month reviewing things I’m keen on. Different category every month. This month, it shall be… Podcasts!

Let me know what you think, reshare, follow me on twiitter (@markboyle86) etc.

The Toner of Tikka

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