A world ruled by their governments, using policies to suit them, an economy that rewards only them, a housing market that they control (Picture: Jacob Hawley)

It was a wet midsummer Monday afternoon when a man in his late 60s tried to attack me outside a DIY shop.  

It always seems to be the way with these things, but I hadn’t even wanted to go to a DIY shop.  

My partner was sleeping at home after a night shift so me and my daughter had to just get out of the house to avoid disturbing her.

We headed to Homebase with the rest of the stragglers to purchase things we didn’t need as a means of passing the time – those last 13 words neatly and depressingly sum up most of the recent years of my life. 

My daughter fell asleep and so I camped outside the shop in my car for a bit, enjoying some scrolling time while the girl snoozed, the rain thudding down on the roof of our little car. 

This is where the aggression started. 

I noticed the car next to me reversing out, and as it did so, the nose of the little Ford Focus got closer and closer to my car’s door. 

It eventually made contact and I began this mad mime act where I silently (as not to wake my kid) but very urgently waved and gesticulated toward the other car to try to stop them. 

The old guy driving clearly got his gears confused and started speeding a bit quicker into my car; my mime act moved into a louder form of theatre as I shouted until they stopped. 

I was already dripping wet as the lady in the passenger seat hopped out and took my hand as I was trying to inspect the damage on my car. 

It was not easy, trying to work out what scratches were new, or old, or what were even scratches at all as the rain splashed down the side of my little car. 

It was even more difficult with this woman pulling me toward her, engaging in the most intense eye contact I’ve ever experienced, and demanding I tell her my name.  

As I slowly started standing up from my position inspecting the car I was wondering whether it was normal for the lady to be demanding my name like she was. Is that what people do when they drive into your car? Do they not start by, I dunno… apologising? 

As I stood I found that her husband had got out of the car, and was now standing with his face just over an inch away from mine. And he didn’t seem too keen on apologising either.

He looked like a much older, much angrier Jarvis Cocker, wiry and thin, his little eyes burning into mine as he menacingly got closer and closer.  

‘I didn’t even have the radio on! I didn’t have it on!’ He barked at me.  

As I said earlier, I hadn’t even really wanted to leave the house. I didn’t need to be here. I hadn’t even purchased what I came here for. 

And now I had a woman slightly older than my mother gripping my hand and demanding to know my name, while her husband quite vigorously informed me that he hadn’t been listening to the radio.   

I noticed people around us in the car park watching on with intrigue, and I could understand why – the dynamics of the situation were certainly odd.  

In years gone by you might imagine the elderly couple to be retreating, even fearful, of a tall man in a hoodie shouting at them about the way they were driving their car.  

Instead, the old dear was pulling me closer as if she’d been tempted by the idea of polyamory, while her husband looked ready to throw one of his boney little fists into my temples.

I was the one being verbally attacked for doing nothing wrong, and it hit me: this is their – the OAPs’ – world and we’re just living in it. It’s a world ruled by their governments, using policies to suit them, an economy that rewards only them, a housing market that they control. 

These people are going to live to 100, maybe longer; they looked Covid in the eye and said ‘we’re not going anywhere, thank you very much, and if there’s a problem we’ll speak to the manager’, and they certainly aren’t going to fade into the the autumn of their lives and let us take the world we thought we were promised. 

As the man continued to rant and holler at me about his radio, I tried to make sense of the situation. 

‘’Why are you talking about the radio? You’ve just driven into my car?’  

‘Are you not f***ing listening? I didn’t even have the radio on!’  

I slowly started to piece things together – his wife must have shouted at him for listening to the radio rather than concentrating on backing the car out and in his state of anger and confusion he was accidentally arguing with me rather than her.  

As I stuttered and hesitated, the man grew in confidence. ‘You want money, don’t you?’ (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I tried to explain that I didn’t mind whether or not he listened to the radio, but every time I said that word, ‘radio’, he got angrier and tried to stand closer toward me. A young guy got out of the car next to us, and said to me ‘are you alright there, mate?’ 

It says a lot about the situation that from an onlooker’s perspective, that it is I who might have needed assistance in this fight. Genuinely taken aback by it all, I shrugged, turning back to the man, who had now gone to inspect my car with his wife.   

‘We didn’t do that! We didn’t do any of it!’ He shouted. ‘Any of what?’ I wondered, before the lady returned to my side, took my hand once more, and started asking for my phone number, while getting closer to my face than felt comfortable and hissing ‘he’s always like this…’

As I started to wonder when the last time a woman who wasn’t my girlfriend got this close to me, she started patting my leg and asking ‘where’s your phone? In your pocket?’

I decided that, actually, I did need assistance from the young guy in the other car, but I looked over and he was now gone. I was alone, vulnerable, and scared, as these pensioners went about patting my boy and insulting my car.

Earlier that day I’d noticed a similar level of indignation from a gang of baby boomers as I’d walked through Crouch End and spotted five or six pensioners sat on camping chairs next to a large tree. 

They’d covered the tree in signs and placards ‘Save The Tree!’ and ‘Hands Off Our Nature!’ while obstructing the footpath and hounding passers by to sign some mad petition. 

Again, in years gone by I’d have ignored them, but instead I crossed the road to avoid them as if they were a gang of late-noughties ASBOs. As I got further along the path I found a scared and confused looking tree surgeon, around my age, nervously tip tapping at his phone. 

I asked if he’d been tasked with cutting down the tree. 

‘The thing is,’ he said, nodding to me, ‘we need to get that tree down because there’s too much clay in the soil round here. It causes the roots of the trees to grow too big, they’ll rise up through the ground and destroy the footpaths, maybe even the houses’. 

I don’t doubt this was explained to the pensioners. But they don’t care. They’ve spent decades driving their diesel cars only to now tell us to ‘go green’; they want us to insulate our homes when they’re the only ones that can afford to.

Back in the car park, my daughter woke up in her carseat, and I was faced with the possibility that one of her first memories might be me getting assaulted by a man older than her grandfather. 

The lady returned to the passenger seat of their car, fiddling with her phone, assumedly letting her various Bumble dates with men my age know that she was still on for dinner. 

The man had now taken to prodding me in the chest and asking what I wanted. I was so taken aback by all of it that I didn’t know what to say – I wanted a nice relaxing Monday at home, then I wanted to go to Homebase, then my daughter fell asleep so I wanted to look at my phone for a bit, as is every parent’s right.

I thought, ‘I don’t know what I want, mate, that’s why I’m here in the first place. I just don’t want this.’

As I stuttered and hesitated, the man grew in confidence. ‘You want money, don’t you?’ 

As a freelancer my brain is programmed to just say yes when asked that question, but I stayed silent.  

‘How much then? … 10 pounds? 15 pounds?’  

Before I could explain that it costs more than that nowadays to park a car, let alone fix one, he snarled at me and pulled his arm back. 

I remember thinking, ‘Is this it? Is he going to punch me? Or worse, is he reaching for a weapon?’. 

My parents always feared I may fall victim to knife crime after moving to London, though I doubt they imagined it would be at the hands of a man with a free bus pass. 

He reached back and found his cigarettes in his back pocket. He lit one, inhaled into lungs probably smaller and less sturdy than my pockets, then blew the smoke into my face.  

With that, he got back into his car and left. 

As I drove away, still uncertain if my car was even damaged or not, I wondered if my generation will ever win. Maybe the world will always be theirs. They’ve got the money, the homes, even the Homebase car park, the car park of a shop full of things they shouldn’t be able to lift without supervision, even that is their domain. 

As I took my daughter out of her car seat I looked into her eyes and wondered if they’ll have it over her, too; if even as she reaches adulthood the baby boomers will continue to rule supreme. 

I can only hope that my time as a grumpy world-owning OAP will come too.

My phone buzzed in my pocket. Barclays telling me I was overdrawn again. I thought to myself, ‘probably should have just accepted the 15 quid’.

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