When I was a small child, I looked with longing at what seemed to be the glamorous world in which adults lived and moved. Watching old movies, I eagerly anticipated this world of grownup conversations, witty dinners, deft cigarette smoking and cocktails. Oh! To be a grownup! To stay up late with women in red lipstick and men who knew how to play cards and hold their liquor.
And now I'm into the middle years and I feel cheated. I'm delivered into a world of t-shirts and wife beaters, backward ballcaps and movies centered around fart jokes. Conversations are about what was on reality TV last night or whose boobs are supplemented. No one writes letters anymore. People take phone calls in the middle of someone else's speaking. Instead of the red leather booth, there's a cacaphonic din at a trendy theme restaurant where you stand in a line to be served, no reservation allowed. Seem like a small point? Look at the difference:
"Good evening, Sir."
"Good evening. I'm Mr. Davis, 7:15."
"Ah, yes. Excellent. Right this way sir."
"Hi guys! How many?"
"Smoking or non?"
"Here, take this vibartor and stand with the guys over there."
It completely deflates the romance of any dinner date. From, "right this way sir" to "go stand with the other cattle till we whistle for you, Shep."
Witty conversation is submerged in the jetsam of fear lest one say something that may, possibly, offend some victim group, somewhere, sometime. Who wants to speak freely when it's all written down, carefully recorded, to be trotted out in 25 years in the unendingly juvenile media, just when you're up for a career-topping moment?
This is it? The world I get? A world of perpetual adolescence?
Where are the dinner parties and witty, sublty flirtatious conversations? Where are the get dressed up and go out evenings? The boxing matches with the men all in suits and hats and puffing cigars? Where are the restaurants with the red leather booths and big, rustling gowns? Even the mundane, like pushing back a hat and wiping a brow with a big red handkerchief over the back fence, talking grownup with a neighbor. Gone.
Our world allows children to run the show, and rewards perpetual childishness. Where are the grownups? The ladies and gentlemen? I'd like to say there are no real, charismatic, driven leaders anymore, but the horrible reality is that there aren't even any grownups anymore. Who left the babies in charge all the time?
I feel deeply cheated.
This says it better.