The yawning generation gap

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I remember as a kid, and especially a teenager, being really, really into music. I still am, but it was something most vital to me back then. An escape, a place to speak emotions and thoughts I didn’t have the words or maturity to say. It spoke to my soul.

And I remember my grandmother or mother or some adult making a comment about the music that mattered to me, and thinking, “they just don’t get it.”

I recall swearing to myself, SWEARING that I wouldn’t let there be that generation gap as I got older.

And I’ve fought it. Hard. I listen to current music. I do my best to stay up to date, so I’m at least conversant.

Yesterday, I was listening to my iPod on the way home from work, and the shuffle landed on a Rihanna song.

I like Rihanna. I like her a lot, actually. I think she’s not only stunningly beautiful, but she’s talented.

The song that came on is entitled “Unfaithful.”

In the song, the story goes that the woman is with a guy, and that it’s more than love, he is “The reason that the sky is blue.”

But gosh darn it all, she just can’t seem to stay true to him.

She cries out, “And I know that he knows I’m unfaithful/And it kills him inside/To know that I am happy with some other guy/I can see him dying.”

She then wraps up the chorus with, “I don’t wanna be…/A murderer.”

Ok, ok, this is all very emotional. Her cheating is “killing” him. He’s “dying inside” and she is the “murderer” for doing this to him.

And this is when the yawning chasm that is the generational gap became oh so apparent and the years of my experience in this thing called life kicked in.

I found myself, listening closely to the words, and then *yelling* at my stereo:

“THEN LEAVE HIM! IF THERE IS NO WAY YOU WON’T CHEAT AND IT PAINS YOU TO SEE HIM ‘DYING INSIDE’ THEN BE A GROWN UP AND WALK AWAY!!!”

Ahem.

Yeah.

Sure, I know that, “He’s a nice guy but I just can’t be true to him and so I did the mature thing and broke up with him so I could go sow my wild oats, knocking boots with everything that walks so that one day I can be a sad, bitter old hag wondering whatever happened to my life and why I never found a nice guy,” doesn’t really make for fun, emo deep pop songs.

And I’m fairly certain that the young twentysomethings that work for me would roll their eyes and think, “she just doesn’t get it.”

I think I just grew a new gray hair.

“Hey you kids, get off my lawn!!!”

Just one little thing…

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Last night, after coming home late, and looking for something to accompany my dinner of hot soup, I watched some throwaway episode of some throwaway show in syndication.

The premise of the episode was that just one little thing can change the outcome of your whole day. It was a riff on the Butterfly Effect complete with a CG butterfly.

I actually thought it was a clever bit of television writing, and it was highly satisfying, along with my chicken soup.

This morning, I had occasion to revisit this bit of chaos theory as I made my way into work.

I left the house a skosh later than I’d wanted to, and when I fired up the Jeep, the gas indicator began making noises at me. I had to stop for gas, making me run even later.

The closest gas station is located on a road out of town that I don’t usually take, because along that road there are three schools. The parents dropping off their kids always backs up traffic, so I avoid it.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. In addition to running later than usual, and running into school traffic by taking a road I normally don’t take, it turns out there was a traffic light blinking at the most critical intersection (right before the highway entrance). So traffic on that road was backed up for about five miles.

And because I sat for an hour on a road that should normally take ten minutes to traverse, I got to work much later than usual, meaning I had a hard time finding a parking spot. The one I did find was a tight squeeze by a wall in the parking garage, and so I dinged my own door on the way out.

It also means the work cafeteria was out of orange juice by the time I got there.

And my staff gave me an arched eyebrow when I did finally roll into my office.

All this really bodes for a great day, right? Ugh.

So as I sit here at my desk drinking coffee instead of OJ, I got to thinking about how just one little thing had ruined my whole good day.

At first I blamed the traffic light. That damn light! If not for the flapping butterfly wing of that stupid busted stoplight I would have made it to work on time!

But that’s not really true, is it?

It’s that I rolled out of the house late. Had I had my you-know-what together and left earlier, there would have been less traffic.

But that’s also not really true, is it? Because even leaving late, I would have taken a different road and been fine…if I had a full tank of gas.

The crux of this whole thing was my empty gas tank.

See, last night when I was driving home, my near empty gas tank was already beeping at me. I could have stopped for gas on the route home, but feeling lazy and tired, I chose not to.

So the flapping wing, really, was my decision not to stop and get petrol last night.

That one decision has blown my whole Wednesday morning.

And unlike the television show, I can’t do a second act on this day and show what would have happened if the decisions had gone differently.

I have to, as The Good Man says, “just play through”.

That there is chaos theory, Karen style.