Do you suffer from teen phobia?
Do you shudder in fear when you see a group of adolescents walking towards you in a crowded shopping mall?
Do your ears bleed when you hear the lyrics of popular music playing on the Ipods of
Do you scowl at the youth of today and tsk in disapproval when you come in contact with these gum-chewing, lip gloss licking, bootie shorts wearing teens?
Are you frightened by the pimple-faced kid in the next lane over on Interstate 5 who is way too busy texting to be concerning himself with practicing the basics of driving etiquette that is required in order to keep you both alive?
Well, you should be.
Because these little vermin, I mean, young people, are going to be the backbone of this great country someday. Unless they do something stupid, like implode it on itself. Which, I think, is entirely possible.
I don't have to remind you, though it's my blog, so I will, that I was once this age and I was nothing short of a selfish, sneaky, manipulative little @#$%. And look how I turned out.
But I am here to offer you some hope ladies and gentlemen (though I'm not sure that I have any male readers other than my husband in which case I should really just write ladies and honey).
Last night I attended an open mic night at my school, where our auditorium was transformed into an intimate little coffee shop. I bought a steaming cup of coffee, proceeded to spill it all over the place and in true addict form, rushed over to get a replacement. The couches were comfy, the lighting was soft and the ambiance inspired at least one parent to comment on the "location of the joints." (Some things never change, I guess).
And suddenly something powerful and unforgettable began to take place.
One by one, these teenagers, mouths full of braces and hips still proportionate to their bodies, began to come up on the tiny stage and fill the space with innocence and courage, sweet melodies and painful ballads, acoustic guitar riffs and bongo drum beats. I began to sway and I began to listen and then I began to hope.
Hope for the future.
Ours and theirs.
And I clapped and snapped and got a bit misty-eyed (recurring theme here folks) and for over an hour I lived vicariously through these kids, letting myself dream and succumb to their shiny version of the world. I like their shiny version.
I don't know.
Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I read more into it than I should have. But so what? These guys weren't out causing trouble, making bad decisions, concerning themselves with the shallow ideals that almost no one can attain.
They were making music. And loving life. And inspiring a thirty-something teacher to sing an impromptu solo from the inside out.
It is amazing, what you can learn from those you teach.
If you are silent enough.
If you are patient enough.
If you can get past the whole fashion faux pas and slang and social akwardness thing.
Hope wears Converse and skinny jeans, my friends.
And texts at the speed of sound.