Tag Archives: growing up

What’s a Landline? And Other Intergenerational Differences Highlighted by My Trip to Wichita

On the way back from Wichita

On the way back from Wichita

My grandparents are wonderful. They were born in Kansas (I think.) They moved around a bit in the middle of their life, but now they’re back in Wichita and living in the same home that my father was reared in as a little blonde devil.

Mom and I went up and visited them today for dinner since I hadn’t seen them for a while. The trip got me thinking about intergenerational differences and how we respond to the same phenomena. Things like technology can be particularly divisive.

I’ve put together some topics and the different generations’ reactions to them below. Perhaps you’ll see some of your own family’s truth reflected here.

On telecommunications: 

Grandparents: We still answer the landline and have lots of trouble with solicitors and politicians. Yes, we have a cellphone but only use it when we need it and turn it off afterwards.

Parents: We just got rid of the landline after years of just letting it ring in fear of talking to a phone solicitor. We also use smart phones but some people (hint, hint) use them too much to check CNN.

Me: What’s a landline? Also, smart phones are destroying society and lives because we’ve not yet learned a way to use them that doesn’t disrupt natural human patterns. I’m a radical. Sue me.

On Facebook: 

Grandparents: We don’t use Facebook because it’s not safe to let people know where you are all the time. That’s how the thieves find out when you’re out of town and come to rob you.

Parents: We like using Facebook to keep in touch with family and see who our children are dating. Sometimes the games are fun too.

Me: I use Facebook still even though it’s super boring. Really, I just recognize it as my technological overlord which manages events and less important friendships. Instagram is where it’s at.

On the state of the world:

Grandparents: Everyday there are more shootings on the news. It’s just terrible.

Parents:  A strong leader in Washington could solve most of our problems.

Me: Our government is entirely unequipped to handle the problems of today. We live in a post-governmental society that operates by the rule of mass organizations  and armed bodies, and the faster we recognize that the better. All states should be abolished in favor of regional governments that answer to a global governing body that is located on the International Space Station. I never read the news. I’m a radical.

On Kansas: 

Grandparents: Kansas is the best place on earth.

Parents: Kansas is where our parents live.

Me: Kansas exists.

On life choices:

Grandparents: We’ve made difficult choices in our life, but always sacrificed for the good of our family. Though we may not have always had a lot, we knew that with hard work and determination (and by the Lord’s will), we would survive and be blessed.

Parents: Our parents worked hard to give us better lives than they had. We went to college and got professions helping people and stayed close to our parents geographically to be there for them in their times of need. We recognize the needs of the family are above our own.

Me: The world revolves around me and my dreams. I will go wherever I need to go in order to fulfill them. Hopefully I’ll be able to see my family twice a year or so.

On how dessert should be served:

Grandparents: After dinner, Grandpa always scoops out the ice cream for everyone onto their plate to go with their brownie. It’s his job as patriarch to give everyone their ice cream.

Parents: We let Grandpa serve everyone ice cream because that’s how it’s done and we know it’s polite to let him continue doing it even though it’s obviously inefficient.

Me: WTF is this? Why can’t I just get my own ice cream? It takes so long for him to dish it out to everyone, and everyone wants a different amount. OMG this is so painful. WHY GOD WHY. And now I need to eat more ice cream than I want? Great, gramps. How am I going to get a bf with my ice cream rolls?

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Classic Odysseus, Returning Home to the Bed of My Youth

imageAfter a flight from La Guardia with two screaming babies, a connecting flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Oklahoma City, a short drive from the airport to my sister’s house, another short drive to a restaurant for a heavy meal, yet another short drive to my other sister’s house for a slice of pie, and then one last short drive to my parent’s house, I’m finally home. Kind of.

I’m in the house I grew up in for six years while going to middle school and high school just down the road in Edmond, OK.

My sisters live in Oklahoma City now and as we were driving through I saw all manner of exciting things: Great Gravy Diner, a Pho place, three thrift shops, a drive-thru Thai place, a Moroccan restaurant, and a strange building with a gold dome. Most of the buildings look a little run down and they’re spread out and each have their own parking lot, but there’s a definite “vibe” here. There’s definitely stuff going on.

When I was growing up in Edmond (suburb of OKC), I was a dumb teenager. I didn’t think OKC was “cool,” or that there could possibly be anything interesting to do. Granted, I had little money and couldn’t drink alcohol so many of the best parts of the city were closed off to me.

Now, however, this place is teeming with excitement. Even the 24-hour vape place seems fascinating. I don’t know if OKC has gotten cooler, or if I’ve gotten more curious, but now it seems impossible to me that I didn’t think growing up here was the best cultural gift anyone’s ever been given. It’s like I don’t even know my hometown because I thought it was so lame growing up that I didn’t bother to explore it.

It’s also interesting being in this house again, sleeping in what used to be my brother’s room which was stricktly off limits to sisters lest his brooding be interrupted. It’s just me and my parents now and it’s like,,,well… looks like the kids are growing up, stumbling and staggering off in different directions and hoping we’re not making decisions that will haunt us. Only time will tell.

Until then, I still have a home here, until it’s no longer my home and my parents move or I live somewhere else for a million years and come back and realize I’ve forgotten where all the light switches are. Funny how in school they teach you a lot of stuff but don’t really prepare you for anything that difficult. Except for the tests, which they create. It’s effed up, man.

But anyways, here’s to making a hometown new again. *clink*

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A Nerd Fights Her Destiny

The bane of the science classroom.

I spent most of sixth grade sucking up to my teachers by leaving them anonymous thank you notes along with homemade muffins. My social status suffered accordingly. The day before summer break, as I watched the popular crowd milling in the hallways, I promised myself seventh grade would be different. I would prance with the best of them. My yearbook would be so full of signatures  I would have to buy extra pages. I was going to be gloriously popular and it was going to be awesome.

Summer zoomed by, and all of the sudden I was stepping into my first class of seventh grade. Big changes were afoot. In the back of the classroom sat the cool girls, radiating indifference and social status, already discussing the coming weekend’s social happenings. Next to them was an empty chair. If I could just sit there, I and the cool girls would be BFFs and giggle together until we died. All of my dreams were coming true.

Suddenly I heard, “Emily! Emily! Sit up here!” It might as well have been the call of the grave.  Two friends from my former life as a frumpy nobody sat at the very front of the classroom and beckoned to me, as friends do. They were of my own social class, both of them nerdly and pleasant, but I was completely aware they could not help my popularity level.

Tempted by the familiar faces, I hesitated. I looked again to the vacant seat, longing to be next to the cool girls despite the fact I could almost  taste their animosity and knew I wasn’t welcome there. Overcome with fear, I finally turned towards my geeky and less good looking friends.

I wish I could say this was the deciding moment, that from then on I didn’t want to be popular. But I did, devastatingly so, and it was only my blinding cowardice that kept me from palming my old friends in the face and approaching the preening girls at the back.

I made my way to the front of the classroom where my fellow nobodys eagerly pulled a chair up to the head of the table, which jutted directly into the aisle. Mr. Harrington taught right behind me, and the extent of my back damage due to swiveling and craning is still unknown.

But I made the best of the awkwardness, and used my proximity to the teacher to ask an astonishing amount of ridiculously off topic questions, like “What is color?” in the middle of Ch.8: Rocks. Thankfully, because of my location and intense focus on Mr. Harrington, I never felt the weight of the class’s collective eye rolling.

Despite my initial disappointment, I was actually living out my dream of being the ultimate teacher’s pet as well as beginning my life as an attention monger. Soon this opportunity to nerd out mitigated my desire to chase popularity. Why sit in the back and put on lip gloss when I could lead an entire classroom on rabbit trails and goose chases? Though I still occasionally wished to be popular, I believe this class was the point at which I learned I was probably happier as a nerdy and obnoxious student than a social ladder climber. In the end, I couldn’t resist my destiny. Abercrombie would have to look elsewhere for new customers.*

*Full disclosure: I shopped at Abercrombie until sophomore year of high school. Oh the shame……

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