Sitting at the traffic lights yesterday waiting for them to turn green and a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, skipped past the window. She was just skipping, because she was happy, because she wanted to, I don’t know why, maybe just because she could.
It made me wonder how old we are when we stop skipping. At some point it no longer becomes a socially acceptable way to get from A to point B, but when is that point? I certainly don’t remember my 7, 8 or 9 year old self making a conscious decision – “sorry skipping, but that’s it. You and me are OVER”.
It must be a more gradual process, a slow seeping of self-consciousness. Lengthening limbs that suddenly seem unwieldy, the dawning realization that, not only do other people have opinions about our behaviour, but we actually care about those opinions.
Teen was in the car with me as I was musing on this and I asked her why she didn’t skip any more. She rolled her eyes and tutted “Because if I skipped down the street people would think I was ‘special’” (yes, she did do the quote marks in the air with her fingers).
“Well” I said, in my best Jean Brodie/Joyce Grenfell voice “If that is the case then I think it is jolly sad, and a horrible reflection on society and people’s attitudes to…well, to skipping”.
Teen put her earphones back in and the lights turned green.
She is probably right. Society is not quite ready for a full scale adult skipping revolution, and while I would like to imagine myself as Laura Ingalls scampering across the prairie, I think the reality would be more farcical than whimsical and probably best avoided. So I am going to indulge in some mental skipping. Whilst I sedately parade down the high street like a middle aged matron of the Parish, in my head I will be tucking my skirt into my knickers and galloping past Marks and Spencer without a care in the world. Want to join me?