Teenagers These Days

June 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Some days I’m just astonished at life and living for so long. Seeing the changes in the world and becoming more worldly myself. Kids these days… they don’t even know. Youth really is wasted on the young. Here is a list of several things about modern teenagers that are currently blowing my mind. I seriously cannot get over it. Please feel free to comment with your own mind blowing, gone-are-the-days nostalgia.

1. Passing notes. Do kids not pass notes between classes anymore? Because of texting? I can’t tell you how many times I’d go to lunch and ask someone, “did you read my note?” And how horrified I’d be if it got into the wrong hands. Or the worst threat in the world, if a teacher caught you passing a note in class and read it aloud. My high school best friend and I had a notebook we would pass between each other on a daily basis. We were so very connected at the hip that we could not go a full hour without at least writing down our thoughts to each other. It was therapeutic and co-dependant. We’d reach between a sea of people in the crowded main hallway to hand off our scroll, “Sorry, I couldn’t write that much, we had a quiz,” arms stretching past jocks and goths in a dramatic gesture, pain stricken by the fact that we couldn’t really talk until lunch time. High Schoolers today don’t know the horror.

2. Phone cords. Before I got my license I was attached to the phone in the kitchen. The one that had the longest cord. I would take most of my calls in the pantry secretly snacking on Oreos until we got a cordless phone. Even when we had the cordless, it would die after an hour of talking and I’d be back tangled up in the pantry. Teenagers today don’t know the paranoia of a watching for a hungry family member spying on your conversation. But then again, they probably aren’t allowed to eat Oreos either.  tumblr_lmuv54FlP61qib7wuo1_500

3. Stamps! I have not encountered this type of mail ignorance, but apparently kids these days don’t know what a postage stamp is for, how to acquire one, or where to put it on the letter. I was shocked too. Next time you see a 13-year-old inquire about stamps. Curious to heard their answers regarding these mysterious letter stickers.

4. Landlines. That moment when you call your crush and their MOM answers the phone. You have to put on your most polite voice and ask very nicely to speak to a boy you know very little about. And then the dreaded question comes from her, “who’s this?” Which was an honest question because caller ID was the fancy new thing and the population had yet to embrace it. People were still trying to get a handle on the answering machine. A household land line was a great tool for parents to monitor their child’s social activity. My dad be like, “Who’s that Eric that keeps calling the house?” Also, that moment when you are speaking profanities about some bitch you hate only to realize your mom picked up trying to make a call and heard that whole thing. Grounded from the phone for a week for inappropriate language. This type of telephone interaction is completely obsolete now that every 4th grader has an iPhone.

5. Albums and the Walkman. Kids these days are just collecting songs onto playlists. They don’t appreciate the flow of an album. Listening to it all the way through, looking at the album art as you listen to each song learning the words. And that one song you want to like for the sake of the whole, but you always skip it and think, “ugh, why did they put this song on there?” The 90s was the rise of portability. I do not think I would have survived riding the school bus for 10 years without my trusty walkman and the alternative rock station. I did eventually graduate to a discman, which grew my appreciation for albums, but carrying around that many cds to satisfy any mood was taxing on my shoulders. Lamenting about this and some youngster asks, “What’s a CD?” Holy shit, they don’t know what a CD is! Things just hit a whole new level.

6. Disposable Camera Selfies. You had no clue if you were aiming right. Also, that moment when you get your photos back, revealing moments you didn’t even know you captured all at once. Sitting in your car because you literally cannot wait to sift through the whole stack to devour the memories, even if there are a couple shots of the inside of your purse. This instant gratification stuff is really ruining the element of surprise.

7. The Video Store. The agony and the triumph of renting a movie. Rows and rows of movies. Shiny new releases are almost always all out. You feel so lucky when there is one left. Looking at the alphabetized layers searching for that title. Is it a drama or a comedy? It’s funny but it’s kind of dark. There is no Dramedy section and you end up finding it in Horror for what ever reason/the clerk is stoned. What if you can’t remember the title? How the hell do you figure it out without Google or IMDB? “You know that one with the guy, long hair and the big quiet one? I can’t remember the title, but it’s hilarious.” The scenario feels like an end of days role playing game, but it wasn’t that long ago. I went through 4 years of film school before instant streaming, Hollywood Video was a trusted ally. It was clear Blockbuster was under a corporate conglomerate because their selection paled in comparison. These places always had that same distinct smell too. The dusty plastic of the video store and the forbidden “Must Be 18” section. Modern dinosaurs.

8. Dial Tone. So you really know, with absolute certainty, that person really did hang up on you. Now if we get disconnected, I’m still talking to myself for the next three minutes because I think you’re still on the line.

9. MTV. I grew up without cable. Most of the time my parents told me to go play outside. MTV was all about music and not about teen moms.  So when everyone at school was referring to a must see music video, I had to recruit a friend to let me sit for several hours watching MTV waiting to see said music video that was going to blow my mind. Video really did kill the radio star (but then podcasts revived it).

10. The News. We didn’t have instant access to constant news feeds in our pockets so we had to beg the teacher to turn on the classroom television so we could watch the verdict of the OJ trial. Getting a piece written about you in the local paper was a big deal because EVERYONE was reading the same paper. Today you gotta post articles to everyone’s wall, tag others, and link bait shit to get people to read something about you. Information was communal because we watched, read, listened, and learned together. I remember learning Chris Farley died from listening to the radio while my friend’s brother drove the carpool. We reacted together, had a moment of shock, a moment of silence, and then had many laughs about living in a van down by the river. SNL was also something you had to stay up late on Saturday night for. There was no Hulu or DVR. You either saw it or had to suffer through everyone else’s Adam Sandler impressions until you saw the rerun in the summer. However, this might actually hurt the story teller and impressions of the next generation. Maybe that’s why SNL’s heyday was in the 90s? Chew on that.

11. Library Science. The worst thing about writing a report was having to find your topic in the encyclopedias. Heaven forbid if you were doing a report on penguins but the person who was researching pennies got the book first. Traditional libraries were great, but they were also finite. Kids these days can’t use the excuse, “I need an extension because the book I needed wasn’t in the library.” Also, dewey decimal system anyone?

12. Nextel. Blee-bleep. Might have been just me and my middle of nowhere booney town, but Nextel’s had the best service and everyone had one. No one actually called one another, we walkie/talkied all the time. It was hilarious good fun, especially in department stores. If you Blee-bleeped someone and they didn’t answer, you alerted them like a pager. Then you just had to wait to see if they got the alert. There was no voice mail. It was really easy to stay off the grid and much more fun to play hide and seek. Kids these days don’t even know.

13. Playing Grab Ass. Not the fun adult kind. You couldn’t just send a mass text or make a Facebook invite, it was all word of mouth. You were constantly chasing one another most weekends cursing for the best place to be. This is what we’d call playing grab ass. Most of the time if you didn’t have anything to do, you’d end up at the Taco Bell parking lot. Or if you did have something to do, you’d meet in the Taco Bell parking lot. Or if you needed directions you would follow someone from the Taco Bell parking lot. Or you’d just drive around until you got hungry and then head back to Taco Bell for a chalupa supreme without tomatoes.

What am I missing? Leave a comment with something you can’t believe kids these days don’t have/don’t have to deal with.

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