“The social skills of Gen Y members are exceptional”, I answered. We were having a drink with a group of Mensans in Amsterdam, celebrating the New Year and discussing everything and more as we always do. Someone asked me if I saw differences between generations within Mensa. So I was praising the social skills of our younger members. While among the elderly Mensans we see particularly high intelligence and general understanding, among the members of the youngest generation the skills to bond, to cooperate and to form a community seem to be distinctive.
I biked home later that night. There are more bikes in Amsterdam than people but usually we do fine. We are acrobats with a just-in-time system that helps us survive in a gigantic network of bikes and other traffic going in all directions in the same time without ever stepping down from our bikes. The rules are hidden but clear. However this night, one bike went between all the others in a completely illogical route. He was almost run over by a taxi that went full in his brakes causing bikes to react to that unexpected move by going in all directions, one of them being my front wheel so I fell.
This is quite an event, since I bike during so many years already and I think I maybe fell two times in total. What the guy did was something that you just don’t do in Amsterdam… So people made comments on his behaviour, including that he made me fall which in bikers’ terms is a criminal act. He was a Gen Y guy and not giving in: ‘why would I have to stop?’ he commented suggesting all the world was wrong but not him.
When I continued my way home with a thick and blue knee I realised that generalisations always miss their point, be it the differences between generations or those between men and women. As soon as one pronounces a distinctive characteristic of a group, one meets with a person proving the assumption wrong. I like that. I think the little bike accident was a correction to my answer giving during the Mensa drink 🙂
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