I’m worried I am a little rusty. Let’s face it, I took a month vacation whether I intended to or not. I meant to take a month vacation from life, but not the blog. Apparently they go hand in hand. My sincerest of apologies.
In a nutshell, I had the best summer in years–old friends, new friends, teaching 10 year-olds proper reading skills, the anticipation of new babies about to be born, hiking, running, walking, swimming in Lake Tahoe, sailing, playing with new puppies, playing with old puppies, quality time with my parents, more jokes with the kiddos, and good, good cooking. It was a glorious month in Tahoe. I have never had the chance to enjoy it, but let’s just say I don’t look Irish anymore. I just look like a sallow Mediterranean.
Let’s chat for a minute about the music I have listened to. Concerts? Nope. New albums? Nope. Discovered any new bands? Nope. I lived on New Wave radio on XM. Since the late 80s I have been an Erasure, The Smiths, The Pretenders, REM, Depeche Mode, and INXS fan. But this New Wave channel opens Pandora’s Box. I can’t get enough.
Ironically, neither could London and the Closing Ceremonies. We had an explosion of anyone still alive and British. Right? I have to say, my heart rate rose when George Michael played “Freedom”. I still remember the MTV video with all the Supermodels. I watched that butt in very tight Levi’s sway back and forth in the “Faith” video easily 426 times the summer I was 10. Wowza. Watching him Sunday night made me feel like a giddy schoolgirl again.
I witnessed something fascinating at Target yesterday buying a basketful of school supplies, since tomorrow is my first day of school with my new 8th graders. (Let’s just take a moment–they were born in 1999-2000. That’s the year I graduated from college). While I was trying to find a pair of noise silencing headphones to avoid les chansons Français during my prep from the French teacher I share my room with, I witnessed two kids, a brother and sister, 15 and 12 (give or take) gravitate toward the svelte Dr. Dre Beats platform. Does this sound like gibberish to you? Me too. Well, I passed these Beats headphones because they were in the $225-$300 range. Yes, for headphones. Anyway, both kids claimed that they’d “die for these things, Mom!” Poor woman. They forced her to listen. As her son explained the isolated bass, she cried, “It’s so so loud!”.
I try and think about what my world would be like as my ten-year-old self in 2012. Now, I would have a cell phone. I had to wait until I was 13 for my own telephone. A land line. I was allowed to use it ONLY between the hours of 3:30 and 9. I assume that today I would at least have the most basic of iPods. Before my cool canary yellow Sport Walkman, I had just a radio version, with bright orange foamed earphones. Sadly, I really didn’t stand out–most of us had these.
I most likely would have a Facebook account, perhaps hidden from my parents. I’d probably post dorky pictures of me and my friends in cheesy poses because that suits my geek personality during that age. Photography would be the same since it’s been a passion for so many years. Sometimes though I do miss the smell of film when opening the black canister. I guess $60 Guess Jeans with zippers on the ankles are the equivalent of Joe’s at $145 that some of my richer girls wear. But to be fair, I had to earn big items like those.
I was a pretty privileged kid in my childhood, the more I think about it. So why does it irk me so much that kids today have everything and more? Or is it that they have too much and nothing more? That they miss the joy in the purer form, the 1980 and 1990 form, of what they have? The excitement in not knowing what images would emerge from the PhotoMat, instead of mulligan after mulligan on today’s digital cameras. MTV and it’s one change of course–Headbanger’s Ball. Not Real World Barbados (I mean, let’s face it–Barbados is not the real world).
I could keep going. I think it’s the anticipation of 130 new 8th graders tomorrow and wishing–for their sake–that they didn’t have so much information right at their fingertips. What’s the adage? Give someone too much rope and they’ll hang themselves? We’re hitting a slippery slope. As careful and slow and British as the opening and closing games were this past Olympics, they were filled with nods to the past. Beijing was a different story. Everything was modern and shiny and fast and programmed. London’s ceremonies were the childhood I grew up with–you had to piece it all together to understand, even think about it a little. Beijing hit the viewer so fast with everything possible, you had to realize quickly that it was the “Future”.
Thank you but I will keep my George Michael and my Eric Idle with “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and The Who, who are going deaf, and Annie Lenox who still looks exactly like she did in the Eurythmics of the 80s and 90s. I don’t want to be forced into “enjoying” something new, unfamiliar, cold.
So I haven’t discussed teaching, or returning to work, or books at all. Instead, I am looking at the new and the old, old an new. The picture on today’s post is one I took today with my iPhone in my classroom, aimed at my Smart Board, showing my website. What you can’t see are the 8 bookshelves filled with novels from every genre and time period. Or my shelf filled with dictionaries and thesauri. Or regular, wide-ruled paper.
All 6 songs deal with rejection and not holding up to the test of time–being passed on by once-loves. Old and new, new and old. Well guess what? These artists, these songs survived. My XM radio and I with the New Wave channel prove this point. Will OneDirection and the Spice Girls? Well, let’s step aside and find out.
I’m Still Standing–Elton John
Somebody to Love–George Michael
Atlantic City–Bruce Springsteen
This Moment is All There Is–Lenny Kravitz
Don’t you Want Me–Human League