Well, can you spot the differences? An example.
Idling around a quiet hotel pool recently, the only sound to break the idyll was a gentle murmuring from other guests, and just the scrape of a sun-bed being positioned, or the ppffft aerosol of more SPF applied and of course the laughter of happy kids in the water.
The low wail that led to a screech like a fire engine, sudden and LOUD, made us all sit up and focus towards one end of the pool, as the lifeguard jumped in with a panicked splash and emerged with a girl of about 7, hands to her face and blood gushing forth.
Her parents were next to us, Padre slowly levered himself up putting down his book and Madre walked with no particular hurry to the shower area where the lifeguard was sluicing the kid down.
She had smashed her front tooth – and was inconsolable. Wails of “I want to go home” and “I miss my friends”, “I’m ugly now” mingled with snot, sobs, tears and big shuddering intakes of breath. Madre placated, cuddled and crooned, and after 5 minutes pushed her off and told her to shut the F**k up. Padre went back to his book.
Which is about typical. I had to giggle – she was pushing for the underage Oscars. Everyone nodded, smiled and went back to sunbed arranging and SPF application The kid shut up. She forgot about her tooth and went back in the pool.
I turned over to face the sun and spied an expat couple who sat at the side of the kids pool (about 1 foot deep) whilst their kids played. Constant cries with loudly projected voices of “Play nicely Thomas” “Be careful Jake” “No splashing your brother” accompanied them. When they left, flustered, anything but relaxed, with their equipment and kitchen sink, kids in all-in-one suits and Tintin-type swim hats – it was only about 22 degrees – Mum and Dad fussed and held their hands and instructed not to walk too close to the pool. They were just short of a lead.
What if they had fallen in? Well, I guess someone might have fished them out.
Have we become fussier? What happened to risks and tough love? When I fell over as a kid – most days – I got a splash of iodine, a sugar sandwich, and was sent back out to play, the blood hastily wiped as it ran and congealed into my once-white sock. A lovely big knee scab afterwards that would itch and beg to be picked along the edges as it healed. Like a big fruit pastille. I still have the lumps and marks today. My mother was right about the picking.
So, can you spot the difference?