Friday, November 9, 2007

Generation Gap

So many of you dear readers have asked how my car trips with the teens are going. How very sweet of you to even remember.

One specific question was how they are taking my having to kiss a girl in the show. LOTS OF GIGGLING would be the answer to that. In one very awkward moment it nearly ended up being me and ONE OF THE GIRLS I DRIVE, until I expressed to the director that she was a teenager, and he immediately backed off. I've tried to not make a big deal about it at all, and they are beginning to relax about it.

As I said, driving 3 teenagers back and forth to rehearsals for L@ Travi@ta has been an education. High school feels both like yesterday and also worlds away to me, which was brought home when a song that was a favorite of mine when I was a senior came on the radio the other day and I thought "oooh! cool song!" and realized it was released THE YEAR THESE KIDS WERE BORN.

The world is very different now, in a lot of ways. Often all three of them have their cell phones out (who had cell phones when I was in high school? Um... no one). One evening I was fairly certain they were texting back and forth to EACH OTHER (and of course felt all "high school" myself in my insecurity. Were they texting about me?) One of them wrote a paper on his cell phone, then e-mailed it to himself to print out when he got home. (I got my first e-mail account in college. I had to go to the computer lab at the library to check it. Once a week.) At least he was making good use of the drive time!

As time has passed we've become mutually more comfortable around each other, and will talk and laugh together. Sometimes. Sometimes I still just listen. I've been pretty good about keeping my opinion to myself when they are just being teenagers, although I have made a point to give them a bit of insight about how you behave professionally in a theatre (nicely, I hope. As in "The Stage Manager is the one you need to talk to about that. It's the stage manager's job to......") The only time I spoke up was in regards to Halloween costumes. The two girls were discussing what to wear to their costumed dance, and one said "I want to get the Mile High Captain costume." Calmly, although perhaps the white knuckles on the steering wheel gave me away, I said "Please, don't dress like strippers for Halloween." She replied "The Mile High Captain costume isn't really that bad." I calmly repeated "Please don't dress like a stripper." I did not go into a tirade about how we are only encouraging boys to think of us as sex objects, or even ask her if she knew what "Mile High Captain" meant. I think my tongue may have been bleeding.

I am surprised by the changing technology... the cell phones and ipods and e-mail and internet access... all of these things that both expand their world and limit it.

And yet there are some things that haven't changed. One day the girls talked quietly in the backseat about heartbreak: a surprising turn from a whole group of friends that has left one of them feeling lonely and confused, crying each day after school. And that could have been me at 15. It WAS me at 15. I didn't understand it and I felt all alone and like nothing so horrible had ever happened to anyone, ever. I felt I would never have friends again.

And I kept my mouth shut. Because they were talking quietly. Not to me. They were not looking for grown-up advice, for words for someone who is in a different stage of life. But my heart cracked open a bit wider, as my old self cried with her, silently, inside. The generation gap isn't so big, after all.

*************
L@ Tr@vi@ta opens tomorrow, and at our rehearsal last night our soprano lip synched the whole show. She has laryngitis. So any prayers or good thoughts you can send our way will be much appreciated.

26 comments:

Victoria said...

I would love to ride along with you and absorb your wisdom and patience. "Don't dress like a stripper" made me laugh - oh, the perspective that we have that they don't.

Best of luck with the opening! Hope the soprano's voice is strong and perfect!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Have a grand opening! And I hope your soprano regains her voice.

niobe said...

Sending prayers and good thoughts.

You write about those teenagers so sensitively and with such understanding. I'm sure those qualities will serve you well in the (very distant future) when MQ is a (gasp) teenager.

Suz said...

Prayers and thoughts headed your way for the ill soprano. I, too, loved how you wrote with such sensitivity about your restraint with the teenagers. So close, but so far away.

thailandchani said...

Good thoughts to you, of course, on your opening.

Driving with the teenagers. I would like to think I would have been able to show the restraint you showed.. but then... if I'm not mistaken, you were born during my first year of college. :)

Sober Briquette said...

Your writing has given these teens a eloquence beyond their years.

Best of luck - hope the soprano is much improved!

Just Seeking said...

Prayers have been sent! :-)

Also, I think my tongue would have been bleeding too. That is going to be my hardest part of parenting teens---keeping my mouth shut. I have so much difficulty with that already! Your tact and wisdom is very impressive.

Kathryn said...

A kid was walking past our house one night and my husband was outside doing yardwork. Hubby asked the boy why he was walking home so late (6:00ish) and the boy said he had football practice that night. My hubby told the boy he graduated from the same high school and played football too. The kid asked when and hubby said he graduated in 1989. The boy looked stunned and said, "That's the year I was born!" Great.
Good luck on opening night! So exciting!

Candygirlflies said...

Isn't it amazing, the way some things change so dramatically, and others stay just the same?? I feel that when Hannah (my amazing 16 year old friend) visits us each summer... Even though she has a cell phone and email and all that fancy techno stuff, we can STILL bond over affairs-of-the-heart, the mean-ness of certain other girls, self-esteem and zits!! Even more amazing is the fact that she is generous enough to share the details of her life with boring old me...

I'll be thinking of you tomorrow night... And, take heart about the soprano. I worked a "Carmen" a few years back where Carmen nursed accute bronchitis, yet managed to belt it out every. single. night (and three matinees, too). SHE was a piece of work, let me tell you... But I'll save the sordid details for another time!!

You're all going to be meraviglioso!!

"Bite 'em in the a$$!!"

xo CGF

Emily said...

Break a leg! Don't forget the breath mints. *wink*

Julie Pippert said...

So incredible. Beautiful writing, but your understanding of these kids, and respecting the boundaries...incredible. We sit up here and we know, because we've been through it. But they don't yet, and so I can understand the biting your tongue and breaking heart.

GL for the opening and hopes the soprano is better soon.

Julie
Using My Words

the dragonfly said...

Many prayers for you and the whole cast. I'm so sad I can't be there...

(On my blog you said you're jealous I have so many readers already. But don't you know I wouldn't have any of them without you?? You're the one who sent them to me!!!)

Jenn said...

There doesn't seem to be the element of time when dealing with broken hearts, does there?

And the insecurities--"are they texting about me?"

Oh, God, thank you for letting me know I'm not crazy.

Jennifer said...

Wow. I am hanging on every word of this. I hadn't known I was so interested in a peek into the World of Teen, but...apparently I am. Things are so different and so much the same.

I recently realized that a young teen babysitter we know was born in 1992. She will be driving in a few months. 1992.

Good luck with the show!!

b*babbler said...

Break a leg tomorrow! Crossing my fingers for the return of the soprano's voice!

slouching mom said...

Oh, I hope the show was fabulous tonight!

I loved this post. You are sensitive and intuitive.

flutter said...

You are so cool. I'll think of your soprano, I have been in her shoes.

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh Kudos to you for telling those girls not to dress like strippers for Halloween.

You know, I have often wished I could hold on to the memories of teenage heartbreak so as not to belittle it when it happens to my
But I suspect she will feel as I did, that her mother is far to old to ever understand.

Alpha DogMa said...

Break a leg vibes coming your way from north of the 49th parallel.

Emily said...

OMG -- did the soprano get her voice back?!

You know, when I used to "act" (and it deserves quotation marks), I lost my voice a few days before opening night every time. It always came back.

Never heard of the Mile High Captain. What does that say about me...?

nomotherearth said...

Break a leg!

Christine said...

i imagine it must be so so weird and nostalgic those car rides.


hope the first performance went well. . .

blooming desertpea said...

The generation gap? It's there and at the same time it isn't. As a highschool teacher I deal with this daily and as we have many great talks sometimes I find those teenager to be a very complicated construction ...

Family Adventure said...

I hope everything went well this weekend, laryngitis notwithstanding!

Your drives are *very* interesting. The teens sound so different but at the same time so similar to what we were at the same age.

Heidi

crazymumma said...

Oh Painted. This was lovely. Those glimpses through the lives of othes into our past.

Break a leg!

Mad Hatter said...

What a great post, PM. So well written and engaging.