Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Kiss

The first girl I ever kissed was named Joy Rush*. How cool is that? I'm not sure her life was all that joyful, but she was beautiful and whatever else elementary school kids think is hot and she was my girlfriend from grade three all the way through grade six. Sixth grade was when the kiss happened.

I rode my Schwinn Stingray (look it up, young people) to her aunt's house, where she was babysitting after school. She gave me a little gin and grape juice -- my first cocktail -- and we sort of chased each other around the house until we suddenly found ourselves face to face in a doorway. That's when it happened. Three seconds or so, no tongue, and it was glorious. I remember it better than anything else that happened that year.

I only saw her outside of school a couple more times. We ended up in different schools the next year and I lost track of her. I heard she got "in trouble" a couple of years later. I caught wind of a vague rumor that she may have passed away some years ago. She always seemed destined for a harder life than mine.

For all of the trouble and heartache in our futures, she was my Joy and my Juliet for that one innocent, timeless moment. Via con dios, Joy. I won't forget.

*Her official name was Roberta, but everyone called her Joy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Flip Side of Aging

In some previous posts, I might have indicated that getting older is not much fun. I think the word "sucks" may have been used once or twice. Well, that's true in some respects, but there are compensations. At least partial compensations. For example:

  1. I know all sorts of stuff. For example, I know what usually causes your air conditioner to stop working on the hottest day of the year, and what to do about it.
  2. I don't care about what most people think. I will wear my house slippers to the mailbox, and once even to the grocery.
  3. I (usually) know what I'm doing. Corollary to (1).
  4. I have my own tools.

I realize that these are exactly the things that make older people either endearing or frustrating to young people, and often both. All I can say is, suck it young people. You will get your chance, and you will probably enjoy it as much as we are enjoying ourselves now. I know my parents' generation had a great time wandering around in their bermuda shorts and sandals with socks, eating cocktail wieners and telling us all how we didn't know how good we had it.

They were right. And I'm afraid we may all find out how good we had it very soon. It appears as though there may be challenging times ahead, and we are all going to need each other. Old people may not know how to get the pictures out of their phone, or what the Hell a "Twitter" is, but by and large they know how people and organizations really work, and how fundamentally unfair the world can be, and it is probably worth listening to what they have to say. Unless they are idiots. Aging usually just makes that worse.

And for those of us who think we've seen it all and know it all, we would probably do well to remember that the world is very different than it was only two decades ago, and that most of the knowledge taught in college today didn't exist when we were there. The "kids" who we think look too young to drive will do the heavy lifting that determines whether we end up living in our Crown Victorias, burning our 401K statements for heat.