Well, I think it’s all about a phrase that we used to hear bandied about far more frequently 30 plus years ago. Oh, the gist and concept behind the phrase is still very much alive and well and confounding grandparents about their grandkids just as it did back in the day.
There you go.
Here the deal: I can tell I’m getting older and this ability goes well beyond the physical indicators. It’s the way I think. I’m now, for some reason, more content to be alone, because I’m so much more unnerved by the perceived idiocy in others.
Do I mean to be that harsh?? Is it really idiocy? Or is it just my unwillingness to cope with the things about these people that I find ultra annoying? And is “idiocy” is just a convenient catch-all word?
CASE IN POINT: A few days ago, I was forced to take a meeting with a young woman who reently moved to Houston. Now, before I get into her, let me address my thoughts on where she came from…
(CUE MUSICAL EFFECT)
She came from Austin.
Lovely city….the home of intelligentsia, Texas dot coms, state guvmnet and those Longhorns, but Austin in the New Millenium irritates me. And yes, I can honestly say that. You see, I’ve lived there twice. I attended The University of Texas in the mid 70’s; left, then moved back to Austin in ’79, then spent the first five years of the 80’s there.
When I graduated from college in 1985, I was ready to leave. Couldn’t wait to leave, in fact. I had grown out of Austin and I didn’t return until 1993. I hardly recognized it. It had grown; it expanded and it had changed. It felt like California—East.
It was like going back to the home in which you were raised and then, your parents sold the house during their divorce. Decades passed and you finally gather the courage to face the demons that might still live there. You come back to the house and the new owners grant you a tour it. That comfy familiarity you once knew and desperately wanted to see, to experience one more time was nowhere to be found. Danish Modern furniture had been replaced by antique Baroque. It didn’t fit..well, it didn’t fit in your memories, anyway. It’s no longer your home and it had changed so much, you even doubt the veracity of your own memories of the place.
Based on a few visits to the Texas State Capital in recent years, I’ve been able to deduce that a new breed of Austinite had taken over. And this woman was one of those people who I feel certain helped make me question my memories of that once hip oasis of “live and let live”. Oh, Austin was still that alright…but when I lived there, that was a natural fact. Now this attitude seemed forced and scripted as if every body’s attempt to be unique and strangely Austin was like every one else’s attempt to be unique and strangely Austin. There was this sameness that covered the city.
But the question beckons: has Austin changed that much? Or have I?
Anyway, this youngish woman who bore all the obvious accoutrement of her generation, sat across from me at a huge mahogany conference table and in the course of one 45-minute meeting said, in an attempt to emphasize salient points, “At the end of the day…” no less than six times. I kept a running tally on my notepad . Instead of saying that she would get in touch with someone, this woman said no less than five times, that she would “reach out to….” whoever.
Why did these saying bother me? I don’t know. Why do tattoos and wearing 18 earrings (in one ear) bother me? Why does ignorance bother me? And catch phrases, too. In the 80’s, I NEVER inquiresdas to the specifics of where the beef was located–Wendy’s be damned.
I am so much less tolerant than I was ten years ago. And this intolerance brings with it less much less patience and a rather negative hair-trigger response to anything and everything that bothers me and these days, sooooooooooooo much bothers me.
Back in the 60’s, I can remember watching network news with my grandmother in the room. Hippies would hold anti-war demonstrations with their long hair and crazy clothes and peace signs everywhere and my grandfather would shake his head and invariably say for the millionth time that day that those “Crazy fool kids!!!!!. That damned Hippie man with his long hair looks like a woman! I’ll bet he even sits down to pee”.
My grandparents didn’t like change….or anything or anyone that questioned or threatened their reality. Sayings like “23 skidoo”, the Charleston and bathtub gin were the keynotes of hipness for their generation. And I’m sure their love of their own gilded era probably made their bustle wearing mothers scratch their heads.
At what point in their lives did they change and they in turn came tio regard their jitterbugging, Glen Miller loving children as being “crazy fool kids”?
Here’s my reality: I like my friends, but I need them less these days. I like my life, but I want it less complicated. And if I must have chaos in my life for whatever reason, I prefer to deal with it myself. I longer want to handle things with an audience or an enterouge. I’m fine being alone and at times, prefer it.
So, my question then becomes, is this normal? Do we become less tolerant (within reason), more isolated (by choice) and prefer to traverse the paths that offer the least resistance as we age?
And if so, why? Have we just lived long enough to finally reach that true, much debated, “we could care less” status???
And lastly, when in God’s name did all of this happen?? Where was I?