It may have been the most frightening conversation I have ever heard.
I know I'm going to get slammed for describing the two speakers, but I'm going to. They were both about 14, both very blond, both very pretty, both very slim. They were with a group of other young people and two chaperones but they had chosen to sit at a separate table and therefore were set apart from the general laughter and teenage 'shenanigans' at the other table. Joe and I were sitting at a table just a few feet from them and we were of the age and type to be invisible to pretty girls of 14.
They were, at first, talking about some girl at school who had not made the trip. Apparently she was a good friend but she had been disallowed to come by parents who 'didn't get it'. Then they turned to talking about another girl, one they didn't like, one who was also not there. They laughed about some of the mean tricks they'd played on her. They described her looks, her weight, and her 'brights' in unkind, unflattering and incredibly ugly terms. As they talked their faces changed, people don't seem to realize that ugly attitudes change features. A face in one light is pretty and soft, in another is hard with sharp features and cold eyes. These girls, as they spoke, became what they despised.
One of them then said of a teacher who had chastised them for their behaviour, 'She doesn't get it we don't do this because we hate her we do this because it's fun.'
I've never heard anything more frightening.
Now I'm going to chance it by describing something else. When they got up to leave, they were both wearing school jackets, both with the name of the name of the school. There were three words in that name, the last two were 'Christian Academy'. I was somehow surprised, I thought that maybe those schools would be exempt ... schools that focused on any faith ... where kids were taught basic values. But perhaps it takes more than values to put the brakes on devaluing others, maybe it also takes character.