Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And Get Off My Lawn

During our shopping expedition I strayed from the herd to pick up some remedy for too much sun and too much fight song. I was making the hard choices (tablet or capsules?) when three giggling girls came down the aisle.

They were 12 or 13 years old, the kind of gorgeous I had only dreamed of being at that age. Long swinging hair, tanned legs poking out of short-shorts, bangles up to their elbows, cell phones in hand. I smiled to myself as they giggled their way down the aspirin aisle, remembering the days when my friends and I patrolled the dime store with similar exuberance.

But then, in a voice loud enough to be heard clearly from one end of the aisle to the other, one said something so crudely vulgar that my head whipped around in shock. I gave her a quick look--the kind that would freeze my boys in their tracks.

During my own tween years, this kind of reaction from an adult would have mortified any of my peers. We would have apologized, perhaps in tears, and waited for the adult to call our parents. 

She wasn't my child, though, and my horrified look accomplished nothing. The three burst into raucous laughter at my reaction and pushed their way past me. I stared after them, shocked.

Someone has neglected to teach them so many things--that skin-deep beauty fades, that character reveals itself in unexpected places, that the ability to shock is highly overrated. I'm sorry their role models are Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

I'm sure they thought they were terribly grown-up and unspeakably cool.

They were neither. But I felt momentarily old, and terribly sad for all three of them.

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