April 1, 2010

As a black-velvet-clad, long haired romanti-goth going to high school in rural North Carolina, I obviously got my fair share of funny looks and abusive comments. Now that I’m 25 and living in the same area again, I like to hope I’ll make some poor high school kid’s day by walking into the local grocery store in my big black boots and my leather jacket (gone is my ren-fair wardrobe and ass-length hair). I know I was always excited to see someone unique, amid all the camouflage hunting jackets and ball-caps with chewing tobacco logos.

Running in for the other day, I passed a group of kids that looked a lot like the people I hung around when I was their age, inhabiting that intersection between “goth” and “skater.” Giving them a smile and a nod, and walked by. Unfortunantly, to them I must have looked like just another asshole.

“Boo!” the last one yelled, making a false start at me. The rest broke out laughing as they left the store, despite the kid’s complete failure to startle me.

“What the hell!” I told my wife later. “Are teenagers really that stupid that failing to frighten some guy is funny? I mean, were we that dumb at their age?”

After repeating the story a few times to various friends, it struck me. My hope of sending positive, supporting energy to alienated teens had, in one instant, mutated into complaining about “kids today.” I might as well break out the rocking chair and smear on the Tiger Balm.

–Chris Lowrance

I went to a Haunted House last Halloween that was run by the local magnet high school’s theater department. I am absolutely petrified of haunted houses so imagine my surprise when two teenage girls I didn’t even know started clinging to me like I was going to protect them. They were burying their heads in my back and holding my hand and said I was a very nice lady. OMG IM THE ADULT.

–Elaina Stanley


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