Saturday, December 1, 2007

Glancing at Societal Decay

I do not often leave my abode less it be to complete some task or affair. In fact, I disdain driving through the streets of Kuwait or even when I was living in Atlanta through its streets during the two popular nights of the days at the end of the week, that being Friday and Saturday in the US or Thursday and Friday in Kuwait.

Yet tonight I had remembered at the last moment that I needed to purchase a gift for an individual’s birthday tomorrow that I was forced to leave in the midst of the evening revelry to depart my home for the 3-4 mile trip to Marina Mall primely located on Gulf Road which unfortunately is often filled with vagabond youth cruising on it aimlessly and recklessly.

This brief excursion lasted 1 hour from the time I left until I returned. The normally 5 minute trip to Marina Mall lasted on this night for 20 minute for I left at the peak of the cruising rush hour. To my amazement, in these brief moments I witnessed what could be described no less as the decay of society.

In learning about the cultural norms and practices of the youth, I’ve been told by several sources that a popular way for young men and women to meet in pursuance of romantic intimate relationships with each other is through the car chasing method. I was struck by the primeval cave-man like nature of the practice that I found it very difficult to believe that such a thing occurred save but with perhaps a fringe and desperate element of society. Though not more than a week ago did I receive the same reply to this question.

Yet as I drove on what little stretch of road was necessary to arrive at my destination did I find to my great astonishment that what I had been hearing was the clear truth. I recall the silver sleek mustang with the lone male youth driver cruising parallel through the slow moving traffic to a car full of young women. In front of me, I could see him with his head cocked to the side transfixed on his prey and as though with the growling of the car’s engine I could hear the rapacity of his desires. There appeared to be some communication and then in a sudden spurt of speed he cut in front of them while I had to drive by unable to continue observing the outcome of the incident. I then began noticing the other male youth aimlessly and at times recklessly driving in the street looking at the various cars with young women judging who would be most pliable for their desires. I passed by a car standing in a turn lane where a male youth had perched his upper body fully out of the window cavorting himself in a manner unsettling. Likewise did it seem that the type of car was a telling sign of the character of the individual driving it. The red hot but compact Mercedes convertible with its lone forlorn driver indicated a withdrawn figure who was searching for a materialistic ideal of love while the muscular SUVs and Hummers with their added artistic details to provide a seemingly unique and fresh element of sophistication matched the cavorting drivers wild and erratic behaviors both in their driving and the manner to which they seemed to be writhing to and fro to the music, which from time to time was either Arabic or the latest imported hip hop or rap song.

It seems those that spoke of the changes that have taken place in the past 5 years with regards to the loosening morals and decaying manners of the youth in Kuwait were conscious and aware as I was reminded of their words in this brief but telling outing. Not coincidentally have the recent years when these changes occurred overlap at the same time the rise and spread of the internet; and who else to have learned its uses better than the youth, specifically my generation of 20-30 year olds. The two phenomena are undoubtedly linked and result from the introduction of unlimited and free means of communication and information through the internet in circumventing traditional barriers and institutions that monitored and constrained the behavior of youth.

As I drove further along to my destination I came up a clouded scene of smoke and two cars on the left side of the road along the pavement as though the two had narrowly missed a terrifying accident through a screeching of their brakes. A car pulled to the side to provide assistance as I continued to my destination.

Finally I arrived and strolled through the mall in wonder of the youth who busy themselves with the adornments of their appearance, though it be inwardly the mud and clay of this world, and who come not for any specific task save to fritter away the precious days of their youth in mindless affairs. I then settle on a store and purchase my gift. As I return home I find the drive to be quicker though I pass a second accident where a car hit the one in front of it that was standing at a stop at a red light. I arrive home safe, thankful, and a little bit wiser.