Thursday, October 8, 2015

Time After Time

Have you ever met someone who didn't know who N'Sync was? I have. And this is our story.
(cue Law & Order music here - ba ba bum).

It is high school blood drive season at work. Any co-workers who might be reading this are probably giving the screen an all-knowing head tilt and eyebrow lift, anticipating what I'm going to say next. For the rest of you, I'll set the scene by just saying it's exhausting and exhiliarating to hang with 16- and 17-year olds all day.  They're invincible and awesome to themselves, and to them, I'm old.

I was at a very small area high school for a few hours yesterday and thought I was totally hitting it off with the students who were helping at the donor registration table. Until the song "Bye Bye Bye" came on.  An apparently jock (though this school and group of kids was surprisingly seemingly clique-less) said something along the lines of "Maddie told me she liked the BackStreet Boys and I lost all respect for her."   Another girl laughed and said something like, "Yeah, NSync is where it's at." The girl next to her said, "Who's NSync?" I laughed. No one else did. The first girl just turned to the girl who asked and casually said "oh just another boy band like Backstreet" and the conversation moved on.  I'M SORRY, WHAT?!!!  Incredulously, I asked, "were you being serious?" and she nodded and again they went back to another conversation.  Can you believe this? Self-admittedly, I was Team Backstreet Boys but for god's sake, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE was in N'Sync and what are these girls doing with their weekends if not practicing Joey and Lance's choreographed dance moves?! It made me wonder what the boy band, or Britney vs XTina, type-feud is these days. Please comment if you know.

But more than that, it got me wondering how and when I became the person on the outskirts of the conversation, the adult, the authority figure?   More music came on and this time it was the song, "Time after time." The teacher who coordinated the blood drive asked the entire group of students, "who sings this song?" and  was met with many blank stares. Then, the same jock from above said, "Janis Joplin." Let that sink in.
Teacher: "No, she was dead before this song came out. Think more 80s." 
Another nearby boy: "Oh, oh, TLC."  (Did he hear a second and third voice that I wasn't hearing?!)
Teacher: "No. That's no the 80s." 
Yet another kid walking by: "We don't know, Mr.G.You're old."
I laughed, but as the boy walked by me, he said,"I bet you know the answer." AKA HE CALLED ME OLD, TOO.

I smiled and shrugged. It's not the worst thing I've been called. For whatever reason, those moments made me think about the interesting juxtaposition between that morning and the few other times recently I've been hanging out with a high schooler.  Earlier this summer, I become a part of the Catholic Charities Mentoring Moms program. Google it if you're curious and feel free to ask me any questions should you want to get involved (it's not a Catholic thing, by the way).  My mentee is in high school and is a teen mom of a not quite 1 year old baby with another on the way.  Her problems and our conversations are a stark contrast to those I encounter at high school blood drive registration tables.  She worries about formula and homework and Medicare every single day, and is working toward getting a drivers license, and you know what, somehow I think she probably knows who N'Sync is! ;)   We work through a lot of real and very adult things together.

So I guess I don't know when it happened that I grew up, perhaps motherhood had something to do with it, but in any case, whether it's music education or parenting advice, I'm happy I'm able to help others. Overall, I have fun at my job and in my mentoring program.  I make upjokes about SnapChat (which I don't even have) to get teens to laugh at me. I may be an "old" person, but I like to think I'm cool. Despite thinking that N'Sync is still cool. Despite what hanging with high schoolers makes me feel like.

No comments:

Post a Comment