Today I had the pleasure of sitting. Just sitting. I know, crazy right!? Well, as I waited for one of my favorite "young people" at Panera Bread I just sat and did a little people watching. Well, that's not entirely true. I did a bit of blog hopping, commenting and Facebooking. But when I was done with all that, I just sat and watched. In addition to watching, I absorbed the goings on around me. Just so we're clear, that's fancy talk for "totally listening in on what people were saying." Also known as, eavesdropping. What can I say? I'm a social person. And apparently nosey as well.
So as I'm sitting there I become acutely aware of the conversation going on next to me. Really, it wasn't my fault. They were loud and like 3 feet from my ear- I couldn't have ignored them if I tried. Again, just so we're clear- I didn't try. At all. Anyway, so this young man and young lady are having a conversation about, I'm not kidding 423 different things. I think I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time? These people are professional ramblers.
It becomes clear as the conversations unfolds and I try my best to follow, that these two young people are in high school. And as I listen to these high schoolers 4 things come to mind:
1) Why the heck aren't they in school at 11:00 a.m.?
2) Why are these kids in high school, yet look like they are 35?
3) That funny scene in "Date Night" where Tina Fey says to Mila Kunis, "Do you have any contact with your mother?"
4) Kids today.
There really was no answer for Thought #1. Between home school, alternative schools, non-traditional schedules, tracks, non-tracks, blah blah blah, at any given moment in the day some amount of kids are on some sort of break. It's very confusing. I almost feel badly for cops. How are they supposed to bust these kids for truancy?
Thought #2 is one I've had many times before. I remember thinking that the kids ahead of me in school seemed so "grown up and mature." Although they looked older than I perceived myself to look, there was no way I thought they could potentially have a mini van full of kids in the parking lot. I mean sure, we all remember Caroline, the girlfriend of Jake Ryan from "Sixteen Candles" right? (I'd insert a picture here but the site is acting up and I can't. Google it. OR just close your eyes and imagine someone who looks 36, has the body of a 25 year old and is supposedly in high school.) That girl was certainly not in high school. These kids were kind of like that, without the awkward purple dress that looked like something Barbie wore and minus the feathered hair.
And Thought #3? In my opinion "Date Night" is one of the top 3 movies of all time on the planet and in every galaxy so far identified by science. Tina Fey? Steve Carell? Best duo ever. Classic lines, relateable story (yes, moms and dads across the world identified with this story even if we've never spent the night being chased by the mafia or stolen some one else's reservation), fantastic dialogue, and more improv than can be captured in the Bloopers, I'm sure. And based on what these two darlings next to me were talking about... The jury was definitely still out on the status of any relationship their mothers. Websites for teenagers where you can "like" pictures of girls and chat with them if they "like" you back? Uh, that's called Internet dating you doofuses and you're entirely too young to being participating in Internet dating!
It was Thought #4 that brought me up short, however. Did I really just think, "Kids today"? Well, yes, I did. My first response, after accepting that yet again I sound like my grandmother, was to be annoyed. Kids to day are so gross. Kids today have no values. Kids today have no boundaries. Kids today...
Luckily, I reigned in that kind of thinking because I'm pretty sure I was aging myself with each thought that passed through my mind. Also, it suddenly occurred to me that I feel kind of bad for kids today. If there is such a site that allows people to "like" you based on your picture, that must really suck. Thank God that wasn't around when I was in high school. I was pretty sure there weren't many people "liking' my looks back then. But to have tangible proof as my picture sat with zero likes for an undetermined and possible unending amount of time...? I would have spent even more time in high school lamenting my life and having uncontained emotional outbursts that left my parents afraid to move too quickly or speak.
And sure we go on and on about how kids today have no patience or perseverance because everything they want is available to them with the click of a button or a short search on Google. But you know what? Every time they spend some time on Google they run the risk of seeing something graphic or not appropriate for their maturity level. Sure they laugh and snicker and tell their friends what they happened upon, but what negative impact does exposure like that have in the long run? If I think I feel a lot of pressure when I see moms posting pictures of their well-behaved kids playing together while mine scream "poop" and "fart" while jumping on the trampoline so all the neighbors hear them and consider calling the authorities, how do you think these kids feel when they see every single academic success, athletic achievement or relationship change status while their life seems dull and uninteresting or, oh I don't know, normal?
Then my mind really started to take off... (Yes, my favorite young person was a bit late. Kids today!) If all they have access to is damaging, what about what they are missing!?
These kids have no idea what a T.V. Guide is. You know, the paper ones? And I'm not talking about the ones in the grocery store with the fancy glossy pages and color photos that were a step above The National Inquirer and one notch below People. I'm talking about the black and white T.V. guide printed on newsprint and arrived in the paper your parents used to have delivered on their driveway. You remember the newspaper, right? Not CNN.com but the actual newspaper? These kids simply hit the Guide button on the remote and BAM! Instant access to what's coming on for the next week! No newsprint-stained fingers for them! Don't even get me started on remote controls.
What about payphones? No, I'm not talking about the Maroon 5 song. I'm talking about real germ-infested-god-only-knows-who-touched-this-and-what-he-touched-before-it payphones. They will never know what it's like to call Mom from the mall and ask for an extra hour or two to hit Miller's Outpost one more time or grab a bit at Sbarro. They will never have to call Dad to come get them from The Mann Theater when the latest movie with the Brat Pack is finished.
Good grief they'll never enter a Blockbuster because they can stream any movie they want through NetFlix, Hulu or OnDemand. Does anyone even watch HBO anymore!? That used to be considered a "premium" channel!
Kids today will never ride a school bus unless it's to a sporting event. Many will never decorate the inside of a locker with pictures of hot guys. Sadly, few will walk to school with their neighborhood friends.
So yeah, they have access to a million things in a millisecond and many will get "liked" therefore skyrocketing their status at school. But if you haven't known the disappointment of having your favorite movie checked-out at Blockbuster only to return at the end of the weekend or you've never held a payphone 3 inches from your face while tucking your hand in your sleeve to avoid picking up some virus, and you've never met the same group of kids at 7:15 a.m. to brave the morning chill and trudged to school while laughing and sharing the latest gossip, have you really lived at all?
Kids today. I certainly don't envy them.
That's just my normal.
Sorry for the lack of photos today! Too tired to figure out where the heck the clicky-button thing went!