Sunday, February 25, 2007

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

One of my responsibilities at work is supervising a volunteer program for middle and high school students. Most of the time, the kids keep me young, like the time we sat around at our roundtable discussion and spent half an hour talking about our favorite episodes of MythBusters and how cool it is when they blow stuff up. Other times, though, they make me feel very, very old.

I was in the lounge finishing my lunch this afternoon when two of my favorites showed up. Let's call them the Artist and the Vet, since one is very funky and artsy and the other loves animals. The Artist is the one who made me feel like I was in the fast lane to the land of dentures and Depends the first time we had lunch together, when she declared that her parents listen to "really old music" like "Hendrix and Dylan and Beck." You know, Beck, whose first album came out when I was in EIGHTH GRADE. Pass the prune juice and Fixodent.

Today, we started out talking about chocolate (always a safe topic), then the Vet asked the Artist and me what we're giving up for Lent. Somehow this segued into a conversation about one of the other volunteers, the Astronaut. It seems the Astronaut was down and out this week after his girlfriend broke up with him via MySpace. Dear Lord. I hope she at least had the decency to send him a private message. It would be too much to bear if the poor kid got the bad news in a comment, or through a sudden and unexpected change of relationship status on his girlfriend's profile.

When I was in high school, the worst you had to worry about was whether or not it was appropriate to break up with someone by note. Written on paper, with a pen. Which, you know, is more or less equivalent to chipping it out on a stone tablet and having it delivered by pteranodon. Or you could do it over the phone. Or by Morse Code. Smoke signals were somewhat popular as well.

I guess I am getting old, because I can look back at the ridiculous drama of high school relationships and laugh about how damn serious we all thought it was. The Artist said that the Astronaut was so upset that he made himself sick and had to miss school for most of the week. I know he had a cold, because he was supposed to volunteer yesterday, but his mom called and said the whole family was sick. I doubt it was the heartbreak, but I guess one never knows. The Artist told us that she had a dream on Monday night that the Astronaut had committed suicide, so when he didn't show up for school on Tuesday, she was freaking out.

For a few seconds, I wondered if we were ever that fraught. And then I had to admit that we were. We were very, very fraught at times. But at least we never had to worry about surfing over to our significant other's MySpace page and seeing that they'd changed their profile to "single." Compared to that, a message by pteranodon seems like a pretty gentle letdown. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can manage to get from here to the kitchen without breaking a hip. If you don't hear from me soon, call for help.

Reading: In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

Playing: Farewell by Oingo Boingo

Their music is weird, but cool. The lead singer, Danny Elfman, has written several scores for Tim Burton movies and provided the singing voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Jack's Lament:

I'm clever as can be and I'm very quick, but don't forget--we've only got so many tricks. No one lives forever!


  1. Well if you broke your hip....then I must need both mine replaced

    High school was the worst for that stuff. I remember feeling like I'd age 10 years by the time it was over.

  2. I remember being DESTROYED by the fact that a girl named Amy Light won class secretary and I did not. I could barely talk to her when the elections were over.

  3. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Yay!!! Boingo!!! Yay Danny Elfman!!!

    :) :) :)

  4. I had an interesting discussion with a girl after school today. She recently 'got dumped' by her boyfriend and he offered no explanation. She's really upset -- but said things like "if I decide to take him back." *sigh* And I wanted to say, 'hon, he's not worth it.' Then I realized 'hon' would make me sound too old; so I said nothing. Only smiled sympathetically.

  5. I'm glad my students are too young for these sorts of troubles. Mostly they make me feel old by saying, "Miss Meg! You're older than MY MOM!"

    There is a hand painted portrait of Danny Elfman in my hallway. Just thought you should know.

  6. i rememeber leaving work once quite a while back, and justin was talking about how kids these days are spoiled, because you're first car should be older than you (he's about our age.) so, everyone's favorite high schooler declared that he was okay because his hand-me-down station wagon is an '86, and he was born in '89. justin and i were both appauled. i mean, '89?

  7. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Who painted your Danny Elfman, Meg?


  8. No, old is when you have to explain to your husband that Judas Priest's Diamonds & Rust is actually a COVER of a JOAN BAEZ SONG.

    And then he wants to know who Joan Baez is.

  9. I don't understand... I know I left a comment here several hours ago... Oh, well...

    It was about how one of the 18 year old bookshelvers told me he can't tell the difference between a Beach Boys song and a Beatles song, and how alarmed / sad / frustrated I felt.

  10. to the last 2 comments, OMG! that is so sad and wrong.