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.