HAVANA TIMES — “There’s no hope for our youth”, is a common phrase here in Cuba. Luckily, people have never used it with me, but I have to regularly sit and listen to how many people agree that young people behave inappropiately.
However, there is another deplorable trend which I have been running into for years now and it seems to becoming more and more common.
Old people who don’t respect lines, who curse and fly off the wall over any small thing.
A few days ago, when I was visiting an ETECSA’s telecommunication office with a friend, we found the typical line there is anywhere that provides a public service.
Without further ado, I asked loudly, “Who’s the last person waiting for the machines?” Seeing as noone answered, I repeated the question and the result was the same.
I assumed we were the only ones and I told my friend to wait by the door as we would be the next ones being called to go in.
Suddenly, an old man near the door jumped up saying:
“Who told you it’s your turn now?! I’m waiting for a computer and that man there is too.”
His tone was full of resentment and unpleasant.
“Listen, why so much hostility?” I answered. “I asked who the last person was in line and nobody answered, even if it isn’t you, you could have said there was a line.”
“I already took the last place, I don’t have to look after any line!” was his response.
Trying to understand one another was completely useless. The argument was becoming redundant and absurd. I decided to stand to one side.
The person who had taken their place in the line after him, ended up admitting that he hadn’t heard us when we asked who was the last person.
Several people in the line began to criticize the old man’s attitude and a woman said:
“They say there’s no hope for young people, but old people are worse. Look what happened to the boy! If I get talked to like that, after waiting here for two hours and with my stubborness, I would have hit him up and we would have ended up at the police station.”
Luckily for the old man, his turn had come, he’d gone inside the room and he wasn’t aware of the fact that nearly all of the line agreed when they said he was very bitter.
It’s true that many young people behave invasively, irreverently or even grotesquely, because of the environment they have grown up in and the environment at most schools in Cuba, where good manners are a sign of weakness.
However, personally-speaking, the people I’ve had the most uncomfortable conflicts with have been the elderly. You can see their exhaustion and bitterness in these individuals. Not for having one bad day, but for having to drag a long series of disappointments along with them.
What could it be?
Maybe the most simple and saddest reason is that they find themselves in the autumn of their lives and they don’t feel that they have achieved anything that satisfies them.
However, as these are older people, they were all born before the Revolution. Maybe the resentment reflected in their eyes and knitted brows isn’t due to their own unfulfilled ambitions, but to the fact that they feel scammed by what they fought for.