Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ah, to be 18 again...

So I'm not a teenager anymore, although I still act like one.

After spending the last few days interviewing some teenage refugee girls, I realize I completely took for granted that stereotypical, American, Bruce Springsteen kind of teenage experience I really had. Below are the top five things I appreciate after speaking to people who were robbed of the classic high school experience.

1. School dances. I was always the last resort for my friends who couldn't get real dates. We'd get all dressed up and hang out at school. No pressure. Just dong the twist and then leaving early to eat at Burger King in tuxes and dresses.

2. Getting well acquainted with the back seat of a Buick. What a dope I was. But at least I had the freedom to make stupid decisions that have now turned into hilarious stories.

3. Cruising. Man, when I got that first set of wheels -- the bright blue Mazda minivan -- I was on fire. We loaded all the guys in the back, eating Sonic Burgers and blasting Ray Charles, Ben Folds and Immortal Technique. And let's not forget driving through random alleys at all hours of the night, street racing in or slower-than-molasses POS's, and flipping that SUV into a ditch in Iowa.

4. Dating. What a tragedy. I wince to think of the people I was interested in back then. I was actually seen in public with some pretty interesting characters on my arm. But what is being a teenager without the train wreck of your first love?

5. The diner. Saturday mornings at the diner. Throw a few dimes in the juke box to hear Otis Redding or Buddy Holly over some eggs and a Coke (yes, Coke for breakfast. Get over it). There was nothing more liberating than hopping in the car, license still hot off the printer, and getting to go out to eat with the guys.

So yeah I was spoiled. And after reading over the list, my life seems way more like "American Graffiti " than I make it out to be. Perhaps that's what makes Omaha amazing.

All in all, I now have a new perspective on being a teenager and deep sincere gratitude for my memories. I know now that not every 18-year old girl gets to make those kinds of memories.

1 comment:

Tom Brush said...

right on. those WERE pretty great years.