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Get Off My Lawn - Part 1

Ribbon candy has spontaneously materialized in my purse. I'm not sure what to make of this.

I'm going through an odd phase. Earlier this week I woke up thinking it was Wednesday, when it was actually Tuesday; on Wednesday I realized too late that my socks didn't match, and, to add insult to injury, I left my travel mug on the counter Friday morning and had no time to stop for coffee. The horror. Being under-caffeinated is difficult enough, but these days I've felt older than my age, whatever that's supposed to feel like, and weird things are happening. For example, I'm noticing that my face is taking longer to rearrange itself after waking up in the morning. Despite the generalized crankiness that comes from being temporarily off-beat and out of tune, I plodded along, attempted to educate the Youth of Today (aka Middle School), and mightily resisted the urge to crawl under my desk and nap. Everywhere I looked, there were people who were younger, had more energy, and seemed much more in tune with things that young folks are into these days, like hair gel and sticking ear buds into their heads so they can ignore the rest of us. Even my sixty two-year-old colleague looked like she could kick my ass in a Zumba class, and I was suddenly feeling like a crotchety Jane Goodall watching Juveniles in the Mist. Fortunately, by this time it was Friday afternoon, I had gone almost thirty-six hours without coffee, and I was ready for a weekend of quiet reflection and Designing Women reruns. (Full disclosure: actually, Golden Girls.) On my way home, I stopped at my friend Sophie's house. She has a teenaged son, Max, and he had some friends over. As they were in the kitchen inhaling what looked like approximately three bales of food, I overheard a section of their conversation:

“Do you watch The X Factor?” the friend said.

“I don't watch that show,” Max replied.

“You should watch The X Factor,” the friend countered. “You could learn a-thing a-two.”

OK, I was intrigued. Max didn't seem interested in pursuing this line of discussion, but I couldn't let it go.

“Like what?” I inquired.

“Huh?”

“What would he learn?”

“A-thing a-two!” the friend stated, between handfuls of pita chips.

“Like...specifically?”

The kid was not deterred. “A-thing a-two!”

I really didn't know where to go from there. Perhaps Max's friend felt no need to further explain what life lessons should be gleaned from a reality show singing contest, or maybe it was my apparent obliviousness to what was completely obvious to a seventeen-year-old and he decided he'd rather eat a ham sandwich with Fritos on it than dissect the vagueries of life with me.

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