generation gap

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m writing this at work. And it’s not lunchtime. It’s not quitting time, either. But remember, you said you wouldn’t tell. The day has been crawling by. Literally. It has grown short legs, ten of them to be exact, and started crawling along the wall, leaving an oily residue. I’m going to have to clean up the mess tonight.

There are times when waiting is great. Waiting builds the anticipation, whetting the appetite. (I always picture a whetstone sharpening my tongue when I hear the expression, “whet your appetite.” The only thing that could give me worse shivers is tongue depressors. What were they thinking making those out of wood? Don’t they know there are better materials that won’t make you gag? I have the same problem with wooden chopsticks. Goosebumps pop all over my skin when the wood grates against my tongue. Do you they think they’ve heard of plastic or ceramic?)

I seem to have gotten off topic. I was talking about waiting. I won't get into what I'm waiting for today, but I spent the better part of yesterday waiting at a service center. So, to start off this story right, I decided to give up my German automobile (I like to pronounce this word like the really tall guy on The Simpsons did before he forced Nelson Muntz, the class bully, to walk down the street with his pants down around his ankles so the rest of the town could say “ha-ha” to him. The tall guy says, “Why do you make fun of my aw-TOE-moe-BEEL?” Yes, I performed a Google search to double check the exact quotation, but couldn’t find the exact episode. At least I found Nelson’s full name) and buy a Cadillac. I won’t bore you with the details of my purchase or even which car I chose, but suffice to say, I was terribly ridiculed before my purchase.

My brother-in-law on particular was brutal. The jokes revolved around the image that the Cadillac is for old people. There is a lot of truth to that statement. I’m in the dealership for a tire blowout (yeah, yeah, I’ve had the car for less than a month and I needed a new tire after a screw embedded itself in the sidewall. Lucky for me, I had runflat tires, so instead of having to get out and put a spare on, I drove the car to the gas station with a flat tire and paid an additional $300 for this privilege. Yeah me.)

As I was saying, I’m in the dealership to replace the tire, and I’m observing the people around me. I’m a terrible voyeur (and not in that cool, sexy way). While I won’t try to guess the average age of the people around me, there are plenty of canes to go around. I am the only customer under seventy. One particular moment demonstrates the changing face of Cadillac. My car is at the service driveway and I am sitting on an outdoor bench, enjoying the rare, cool Houston weather, writing in my little black book. A grandmother and her granddaughter (I assume she’s the granddaughter) walk by.

Because I have nothing better to do, I’ll describe the girl. She wears kakis with a faux white belt. The kakis fall to three inches above her ankles. A pink tank-top shirt, with a white, faded 6 on the back, shows her perky breasts. She carries a brown, leather pocketbook with a short strap, which she wears over her shoulder. Her brown, straight hair covers her cute and slightly pug face. Her nose is as pointy as her breasts and she has fresh acne on both cheeks, looking like freckles. When she stops, she stands in the girl pose (I have pictures of my mother hitting this same pose when she was that age): one foot forward and the other back at an almost ninety-degree angle.

She says to her grandmother as she walks by my car, “That’s what you should have gotten instead of wasting your money on a Deville.” To which her grandmother responds, “I don’t want to hear anything more out of you.”

Younger generations always seem to think they know more about style than older generations. They just don’t realize that they know more about their style than the older generation. Styles change and few people in a generation change with the styles.