Perhaps the road junction was a meeting place. A side road turns off a once busy main road, the verges on each side of the junction have concrete kerbstones. Two or three yards down the country road, there sat two teenage boys dressed in tee shirts and jeans. Deep in conversation, they were indifferent to the occasional passing vehicle. It seemed an unlikely place to socialise, the West of England was never a place where people were much given to gathering at crossroads, certainly not people in their teenage years.
Perhaps sitting on a kerbstone discussing football, or music, or computer games, or whatever it is that now preoccupies the minds of teenage boys was the best way of passing the evening. When one is beyond childhood years, but years short of adulthood, there can be times that seem like a waste land.
Boys have never been the best communicators, conversations can cover numerous topics, principles can be debated, technical details be discussed, memories can be compared, and at the parting of the ways, nothing of consequence might have been said. Electronic devices and social media have not helped, enabling interactions without communication.
Perhaps stones curbing a sun-parched grass verge seemed the dullest place possible on which to pass a Sunday evening, perhaps the boys would have wished to have been with friends elsewhere. Perhaps they would have wished to have had money to do all the things they could have imagined. Perhaps they had expected more from the first weekend of the long summer holiday.
Perhaps their thoughts and words were altogether different from me what I imagined and that teenage boys are altogether different people from what they were in the 1970s. Perhaps what seemed then to be like wilderness years are now much more filled with freshness.
Perhaps the kerbstone boys this evening have a better prospect of saying something of significance. When communication is face to face, without the intermediary of a smartphone or games console, there are only words and expressions, every tone, every nuance, every inflection, assumes meaning. Perhaps sitting at the roadside will be an experience that will allow the boys to be able to talk in a way that means that they wiill avoid the feeling of being inarticulate in important moments, the sense of not having words that remotely approach expressing the feelings inside. Talking has to be the best way of learning to talk.