The Last of Our Kind
I had a sudden rush of pride today, and it came on the heels of a moment of humiliation. I had incurred some very bad vibes from a cyclist, a pedestrian, and two drivers only moments before when I took my turn at a 4-way stop. That's right, I took my turn, at the generally accepted appointed time to take it, but it forced the pedestrian to stop forcing his way across the street first, the cyclist to actually stop at the stop sign instead of blowing through it, and the cars to wait for everyone. How dare I! The only problem is, I'm one against the world. And it's embarrassing to feel like the picky old woman who's out to teach the world a lesson. (Kids, get off of my lawn!) It's a bit humiliating to feel old, crotchety and out of touch.
The ensuing rush of pride came suddenly when I realized that these kids...these aggressive younger people who rush intersections with the noses of their cars, who shove double-wide strollers down narrow market aisles, who drive 95 miles an hour on the freeway, in the rain, with their ipods in their ears, who can't walk 50 feet without checking an electronic device or hitch up their slipping pants over their obese asses....this younger culture is nothing to envy.
Born in 1966 to a freewheeling mom who left affluent Santa Monica for the sunny communes of northern California, I am one of the last generations to remember a time before advanced technology. A time where things were SLOW. And quiet, and much more peaceful. I got to enjoy an atmosphere of relative prosperity while still feeling the pace of a simpler life, one without the frantic, angry pitch of living today.
I spent a lot of time outdoors, a lot of time with adults, hanging out, listening to their funny banter. Being a hippy kid I spent a lot of time in nature, in the elements, feeling what a day in hot sunshine or cold rain does to your spirit. There was room to breathe. People were healthier. Look into my camp yearbook from 1977 and you won't see one chubby kid or counsilor. Everyone was thin, being overweight was unusual.
There was also great entertainment, made all the better for its infrequent accessibility. I remember when movies like "Heaven Can Wait" or even "Sleeper" were NEW! Woody Allen was still a young man! "MASH" was still running! Ronald Reagan hadn't been elected yet, beginning our current decline. The kids today can shop at Urban Outfitters for their retro wear and "vintage" accessories, but they'll never know what it felt like to really live it.
The people who make up the generations after me have been steeped in an accelerating commercial culture that keeps dishing out the luxury, the sugar high, the disposable drugs. This results in a society that is ruthless, aggressive, unaccountable, and ultimately, dangerous. I'm proud not to be a part of that.
So hey, children of the 60's and 70's... remember your heritage, an era of happy, groovy, and more thoughtful living.