Patti (whipartist) wrote,

A vignette from a suburban shopping mall

This afternoon I bought a tool chest at Sears, parked my car by the merchandise pickup door, and headed in. Just as I reached for the door, a bunch of kids drove by in a minivan and started honking and screaming out the windows at me. I couldn't make out much of what they were saying, but "love the hair!" drifted above it.

I smiled and waved, then walked in and scanned my receipt. The fresh-faced employee politely asked me what they were saying. "Hard to tell, but they liked my hair."

"Does this happen to you often?" I told him it did, but usually without quite so much rowdiness.

"Teenagers", he said, shaking his head. "I mean, I *am* a teenager, but I don't act like that."

I looked him over. White, middle-class, suburban, probably got a mix of A's and B's in school. He wasn't a jock or a geek, didn't seem artsy, and probably belonged to a club like the Future Business Leaders of America or the German club or maybe the yearbook staff. It was easy to see him in 20 years with two kids, a minivan of his own, a wife that's bored with him, and a middle management job.

Part of me was happy that there are still good kids around, but I really wanted to find a way to let him know that there's an exciting world out there just past his comfort zone. Instead, I picked up my package, exchanged pleasantries, and headed for my car.
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