Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adolescence is a time of subtle nuances and blind, willful self-deception

At the local book store today there was a gaggle of kids about 15 and 16 years old hanging out at the toddler-scale round picnic table in the kids department, as there has been since the dawn of time (for that store I guess). They spent maybe fifteen or twenty minutes simply complaining about hipsters.


"Oh man, you know 'International Kick A Hipster Day' is soon, right?"

"Really? Oh my gawd! What's Yorktown going to do?!"

Ah, regional jokes. I remember that time, when Yorktown was a hellhole and we were awesome for not living there. It was great until a couple years after I graduated and a girl from my high school stabbed a girl from Yorktown to death because she was standing next to a girl who was sleeping with her boyfriend (who was incidentally also sleeping with said murderess' aunt, whose low-income, subsidized condo they agreed to meet at). But hey, I met a girl in college because of that. And then she got married to a nice Irishman. Yet I digress more than I meant to.

What stuck out in my mind was these children's … shall we say, "personal choice of stylistic expression." They were little scenesters.

Guys: both skinny, black jeans, black graphic tees, jet black straight hair all down and in their faces, black Cons, various facial piercings (ear, lip, brow).

One girl: brunette, baggy men's sweatshirt, dark hair, little round, mostly looking like the guys but pale instead of tan-due-to-ambiguous-heritage. The other: cute as hell, blonde, dark wash blue jeans, teal-and-white striped scoop neck tee with a matching teal knit beanie and pink stripes in her hair, and I think one lip ring.

Irony of them bitching about hipster: Through the roof levels. Not just off-the-charts, it's astronomical. You would have to literally be standing on the surface of a different heavenly body to read the precise scale of a graph if one were to graph irony over time for that precise interval of my walking past these teens.

I really wanted to tell them, too, to explain why everything they thing is shallow like a kiddie pool, all deep and meaningful when it's all you've ever known and yet immediately adjacent to a much grander picture than you've ever experienced.

But of course I didn't.

Firstly, they would have railed against me for calling them hipsters. I would surmise that to them a "hipster" is an unshowered, unshorn hemp-hugger living the bo-ho hobo chique lifestyle in deference to their tidy trust fund, eschewing Starbucks for free-trade grinds they fish out of their uncle's restaurant's dumpster or some such nonsense. I'm positive they would draw a very clear distinction between "hipster" and "scene kid."

Of course they would. No one likes to be labeled, especially a label they despise. What does it matter if they're driving around in a car their parents paid for, wearing $80 jeans and get to go to at least two different Sublime shows every year? No, they're not rich and tasteless. They don't all dress the same and wear ill-fitted clothing. They weren't all totally beaten up in grade school by the same guys who went on to be very good at extracurricular activities that involved running towards something in some capacity. Nope. Totally different.

And in any event, they're 16. They're supposed to think their kiddy pool is the hottest shit this side of Memento and Donnie Darko. They know how to swim without their swimmies and they're getting cocky. They've even learned how to look like they're just hanging out on the side of the pool when in fact they've very strategically found that one spot where the water jet is….

Who are we to pull them off of that water jet and throw them, boner-clad, into the deep end without so much as a swim test and a hot lifeguard upon whom to fixate? Let them grow up and be embarrassed about how they dressed and how they thought they knew everything when they were really provincial and intolerant.

We all were 16 once.

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