I was sitting there going through her photos and I suddenly blinked at this photo of 4 people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder on the edge of a futon, and it was clear that they were all young, because that is what we used to do before we all got creaky. And I sort of promised myself I would never have another futon that had to double as a couch in a studio apartment again.
I used to go for that when I was a kid, but now? No, I'm a little pickier than that.
And semi-despairingly, this little voice inside me kept wailing When did I turn into a grownup?
So I pile onto the BART train to go home, and I get onto the same car as five teenaged kids. They have mohawks. They have Misfits Tshirts. They have bondage pants, and plaid skirts. And they're playing junglegym on this pair of bars that run the length of the car.
I'm looking at them and the first thought is 'does she realize I can see up her skirt?' (yes, I decided); the second thought is 'you know, I think I had a mohawk when I did that'.
This is not helping the feeling of having become old and crotchety. But I'm sitting there, curled up in one corner of my seat, listening to Camper Van Beethoven and watching punk rock kids hang upside down off bars on the ceiling. This seems appropriate. I feel sort of one with this, even if I'm not hanging off bars in the ceiling, you know?
And then this crotchety old guy got on, in Berkeley. I could not hear him, but I could read his bodylanguage. He started in on these kids- why, I'm not sure, but he was being a real asshole, you could tell that much. I muted my headphones and yes, sure enough, he's playing the 'I am a voice of authority and you punks should get haircuts and jobs!' tape.
And I pause and watch him. Rather pointedly.
Now-- those of you unfamiliar with your narrator need to picture this. I'm a darkhaired guy, thinning pretty far back, with oval glasses, a black Nick Cave t-shirt on, a black leather trenchcoat, black jeans, black tennis shoes, and a black shoulderbag. My underwear, at present, is in fact beige, but the crotchety man couldn't see this. And I raise an eyebrow and continue looking at him. And as he continues going on about how 'you punks aren't ever going to amount to anything', I smile at him, shaking my head.
"Sir?" I finally chime in. He turns to me and is about to give me a sideswiping shot, as I say "I myself used to sit on this very train, 15 years ago, listening ot the same sort of music these folks listen to, wearing the same haircut and the same clothes as these folks, and hanging off the bars and even hanging off them by my feet once. Just to prove to myself I could do it."
After a pause: "I, myself, have amounted to working for Microsoft. You seem to be an elderly gentleman pushing a bike on public transit." A cheerful smile as I get up. "Do have a good evening with your preconceptions."
The kids were also getting off as I got off, and they're giggling. One of them bumped into the guy's bike and before he could say a word, she reached down, picked up what she'd knocked out of his saddlebags (alright, the dual milkcartons he was using as saddlebags), and said "Oh jeez, I'm sorry... I didn't see which one I knocked this out of, which one does it go into?"
I managed to not laugh at the guy's expression as he stammeringly answered her, but once I was off the train I CACKLED. Waited a few minutes for the next train while the kids all were thanking me for making the asshole back off. I told them I'd been on /their/ side of the coin when I was their age, and asked them to pay it forwards, if they feel like I saved 'em from something.
Damnit, I may be getting older, but at least I'm doin' it gracefully. And now I'm sitting in my bedroom listening to hail beat the shit out of my window. Jeez! Neat evening.
...and it occurs to me that- I may be living in some of the priciest real estate in the world, but I'm living in an area where an evening's experiences like that can happen without effort on my part. That's worthwhile, isn't it.
Also occuring to me are the lyrics to the Pursuit of Happiness tune 'I'm An Adult Now'. So they follow.
Well, I don't hate my parents
I don't get drunk just to spite them
I've got my own reasons to drink now
Think I'll call my dad up and invite him
I can sleep in till noon anytime I want
Though there's not many days that I do
Gotta get up and take on that world
When your an adult it's no cliche it's the truth
'Cause I'm an adult now
I'm an adult now
I've got the problems of an adult
On my head and on my shoulders
I'm an adult now
I can't even look at young girls anymore
People will think I'm some kind of pervert
Adult sex is either boring or dirty
Young people they can get away with murder
I don't write songs about girls anymore
I have to write songs about women
No more boy meets girl boy loses girl
More like man tries to figure out what the hell went wrong
I can't take any more illicit drugs
I can't afford any artificial joy
I'd sure look like a fool dead in a ditch somewhere
With a mind full of chemicals
Like some cheese-eating high school boy
Sometimes my head hurts and sometimes my stomach hurts
And I guess it won't be long
Till I'm sitting in a room with a bunch
of people whose necks and backs are aching
Whose sight and hearing's failing
Who just can't seem to get it up
Speaking of hearing, I can't take too much loud music
I mean I like to play it, but I sure don't like the racket
Noise, but I can't hear anything
Just guitars screaming, screaming, screaming
Some guy screaming in a leather jacket