Thatâs it. Iâm old.
Today I was making my way between my usual haunts --- my Starbucks, my favorite Mexican restaurant, my bookstore, and other stops: the places where I break up the time between reading, writing or reporting in my office. And from mid-day on, everywhere I went, there they were: roving gaggles of young people flooding into every place I spend my time, overcrowding them, and just downright getting in the way.
At first I couldnât figure out what it was about them that seemed different and put me a bit on edge. And then it hit me: teenagers.
The real McCoy, not college underclassmen, but high schoolers --- a bit shorter than the rest of us, and each in their accustomed roles: the popular and the shy, the jocks, the pimply-faced, the fat and skinny, the geeky outcasts hovering on the edges of the crowd, the strutters and the preeners. The whole bit. Teenagers.
To the best of my recollection I once was one. But in the age-group isolation of my thirty-something bachelordom itâs a species with which I realize Iâve become almost wholly unfamiliar. Yes, of course, in their ones or twos, I see them all the time. And that's fine -- wonderful folks. But when theyâre running in herds, thatâs an altogether different experience. And one I now realize Iâve become weirdly unaccustomed to.
Certainly, somewhere in DC this weekend thereâs some rally or Model UN, or National Association of High School Rabble-rousers convention or some such thing. Hopefully thatâs it, and itâs just for the weekend. Otherwise, there goes the neighborhood.