Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 13/10/10

Suffering Little Children

I get up quite early to go to work. My alarms are timed for 0630 (the quiet one which I nearly always sleep through) and 0633 (the loud one). The idea behind this has been for me to catch the 0740 bus which - at least in theory - gets me to work for 0800.

I am having to revise this practice. Let me tell you about The Demon Child.

In the next village along on the road to town, the bus regularly picks up this woman in her thirties and her two daughters. The elder daughter, who is about nine or ten years old, is quiet but bears a disturbing resemblance to the result of a one-night stand between Minnie Mouse and Goofy. She, however, is the acceptable one.

Her kid sister (hereinafter referred to as The Demon Child) looks comparatively normal. Her behaviour, however, is anything but. Scarcely has she got on the bus than she is screaming, sobbing, stamping and kicking. Sometimes this performance begins even before the wretched creature has got on the bus.

This might be (barely) excusable in a toddler going through the 'terrible twos', but this item must about six or seven years old. Nearly every morning on the 0740 there she is, skriking because she wants to sit where her mother is sitting, then howling the place down because she is sitting where her mother is sitting, the whole while keeping up a constant percussion with her feet on the floor and the seat. Even with them sitting at the back, the noise of the engine and transmission of an elderly Dennis Dart is powerless to supervene and drown out her weapons-grade petulance.

And this is every morning.

And what does the whey-faced oafette who squirted this Abomination out into our dimension in the early part of the last decade do about it? Sod all. Just murmurs to her hellish spawn, "Don't do that, you'll injure yourself" (a little hint, dearie; if she doesn't, someone else most certainly will); or be heard uttering a self-pitying whine of, "I don't know what I've done to deserve this" (little hint Number Two; it involves knickers, and the inadvisability of shedding them in certain circumstances).

The mother (and that may be an abbreviation - you decide) appears to be taking them to a childminder or a relative or even to school (it can't be to the vet's; the bus passes the surgery and I've never seen them get off there) prior, no doubt, to going on to a job which she may not actually need (there may even be a father for this devilish troll-child somewhere). But what it means is that - at a time of day when, to be frank, all most people want is a bit of quiet before the hurly-burly shitfest of the daily grind - we are forced to endure the lousy behaviour of a totally undisciplined bratette in a very confined space travelling at up to thirty-five miles per hour.

I suppose if someone were to ask, the mother would probably proudly claim that her appalling offspring was suffering from 'ADHD', that handy-dandy, all-purpose diagnosis of our age, miraculously absolving all useless parents of any responsibility for their inability to do the job properly. We didn't have 'ADHD' in my day; you were a naughty little sod, and were dealt with accordingly, and I can't see that it caused any great harm to anyone.

But, as a result of this, I have now set my alarms forwards fifteen minutes to ensure that I can catch the 0720 and so miss any future performances of The Child From Hades. I shouldn't have to, but I have my sanity, my blood pressure and perhaps even my liberty to think of.