The other day for the first time in my life I told off a bunch of kids! And it felt great.
Let me start from the beginning. Actually before I start from the beginning let me just say that I don’t dislike kids. I even like hearing the sound of kids laughing and playing, from a distance. I’m a reasonable person; I’m not saying they should be locked away in cellars and beaten every time they make a noise. I have nothing against them playing outside in the communal gardens for example.
What I do have a problem with is the fact that for some reason in the whole of our estate with its huge gardens and play area (complete with a swing, a climby thing and another hangy thing), all those fields surrounding our flats and the massive park about five minutes down the road, the most desirable place of play seems to be in our building, right outside our front door, in the one and a half square meters of hallway that we share with three other flats!
I’m not kidding. At one point, spying on them through our letterbox, I counted exactly seven screaming kids all cramped together in that little area! If I had opened the door, I would have had to actually step on some of them to be able to get to the stairs. What makes this whole thing even stranger is that no one on our floor has any kids!
Every time this extraordinary pilgrimage of all the estate’s kids to our front door is going on, I get irritated by all the noise and think, ‘Am I the only one that gets annoyed by this? How come no one from the other three flats comes out to give these kids a good telling off and kicks them out of here?’ But of course I know that the reason no one else says anything is more or less the same as mine which means they think it’s better to suffer for a few hours from the noise than have to endure a lifetime of having dog-poo rubbed onto their bicycle saddle or dirt poured into their flat through their letterbox because they have made enemies of their neighbourhood kids.
Saying that, once when they had seriously got on my nerves by five of them simultaneously screaming their heads off and ringing all the door bells and knocking on all the doors and all that, I thought, ‘Right, I’m going to put my most serious face on and tell these kids off once and for all.’
As I opened the door, all the other kids ran off leaving behind just this one kid. So there was I with my serious face on and in front of me stood a little two and something year old girl with long blonde wavy hair, big green eyes, wearing a little denim skirt with a pink T-shirt, sucking her thumb and swinging from side to side.
That was it for me. What happened after that is pretty much a blur. I vaguely remember smiling and saying some things in baby talk. Next thing I remember, I had my back to our front door inside the flat, smiling.
Then I started to hear the other kids’ devilish footsteps as they gathered in our hallway once more. ‘What did she say to you?’ they asked the little girl. Since I couldn’t remember what I had said to her myself, I listened intently while watching them from the letterbox. The little girl reluctantly pulled her thumb out of her mouth and coolly said, ‘She said why di’ you ling my bell? Di’ you want to come in?’
Unbelievable. Why had I done that? How did this happen? Did I not go out there to tell these kids off? The little monster with angelic looks must have put a spell on me!
As more giggling kids gathered outside the door (to hear the story of the crazy woman who apparently liked being tortured), inside the flat I dropped down to my knees burying my face in my hands and shaking my head. Out of all the stupid things I had done in my life, this was by far the worst one.
After this came a whole week where we were systematically tortured by kids of all ages as our doorbell was rung constantly from morning until evening. Of course I had no one else to blame for this but myself.
Even worst than that was all these sniggers and high and mighty looks that I was now getting from all the other neighbours. They were all just loving this because since the kids had concentrated all their time and energy on me, they had little time left for annoying the other people in the building. The way I saw it the others should have been grateful to me for this peace and quite that I had sent their way, but instead every time I talked to one of them they had this air of ‘Yes you’re young. You are not wise in the ways of the world. You will learn.’ about them. Ungrateful *******s.
Three days past and I spent hours on end in front of the mirror practicing my serious look, my double-serious look and I-take-no-shit-from-nobody look. I practised two hour of Tai Chi everyday which I hoped would help me with my balance and concentration. I put myself on a strict diet of fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, lemon sherbets and chicken nuggets to try and get into a kid’s state of mind.
On the fourth day, I was ready.
I sat cross legged facing our front door inside the flat, meditating, snaking on cheesy puffs and gummy bears.
Then came the first knock of the day on our door.
I took a deep breath in.
I stood up.
Opened the door.
Two kids were standing in front of me and one was hiding in the stairs which meant running up the stairs to see what was happening and then down again.
I had my serious look on.
‘Why did you knock on our door?’ I asked in my serious voice. I could see that my serious look was working because as cheeky as these kids were, a kind of worried look had started to appear on their faces. I was loving this. ‘You knock on my door or ring my doorbell one more time and I’m going to go to your grandmother and tell her.’
‘But it wasn’t us. It was her.’ said the boy, pointing to the stairs. ‘Very well’ I said moving my serious look up a level to double-serious by throwing in a little Roger Moore frown, ‘if this happens again, regardless of who is responsible for it, I am first going to go to your grandmother’s and then go upstairs and tell her parents.’ now comes the revenge bit, ‘I don’t care how many times a day you decide to ring all the other doorbells (hee hee hee) just stay away from mine.’ I-take-no-shit-from-nobody look, ‘Do you understand?’ They just stared. I slammed the door shot.
And it worked! Now I can sit and relax in the relative quiet of my home and as the other doorbells in our building go off over and over again, listen to the grunts of those who once mocked me at my darkest hour and did not come to my aid. Revenge is sweet and so is telling off and scaring a bunch of annoying kids.