by One Okay Boomer; photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash…
Let’s talk pandemic and protests — but let’s get specific and talk about how the last few months have affected ME.
(After all, I’m a member of the “Me Generation.”)
In 2020, I’m technically an older woman. I consider myself “well-preserved.” I’m treated with some semblance of respect as a semi-full contributor to the working world.
Well, to be completely accurate, I am the lowest of the low — an adjunct professor.
Teaching Generation Zoom
Before quarantine, I had the ability to wield a pen to grade a paper and the dexterity to close the computer cover of a student who has fallen asleep in class while on Twitter.
Now I am reduced (literally and figuratively) to a one-inch square on a flickering Zoom screen with students who mock me via private chat (how do I turn that off?).
My students use technology indicative of their rebellion against my authority, like Slack (communicating amongst each other while I’m talking) and blank screen (or, as I call it, nap screen).
Venturing Into The Real World
Some grocery stores give me “special” shopping hours very early in the morning. This is for my benefit? If they really want to be accommodating, give me the hour between 12 and 1 pm when I’m fully awake and hungry.
I’m told that young people wear masks, scarves, and gloves when they see me coming because they don’t want to be responsible for killing me (as I am “at risk”). Hell, they should use PPE’s for their own health! Since people in their twenties use dating apps, they should beware — the partner of their dreams might cough! Safe sex today means wearing a mask.
Youngsters often ask me if I need help navigating across the street where there is a crosswalk. No, I don’t! People of all ages get killed by cars IN a crosswalk. I need help zigzagging my way across the aisles at Costco. Those shoppers are maniacs.
People look at me for signs of recent aging. “Boy, this must be taking a toll on you!” the Costco cashier exclaims. Yup, I reply, the same toll it is taking on you: financial, emotional, hormonal, and collagenal. (This last item should be a word as we’re all rapidly losing collagen.)
As For “Aging”…
I went from “the invisible woman” to the unessential old fart in a period of a few months.
Did you know that wearing a mask immediately ages you ten years? You know, like being on TV adds ten pounds?
I’m huffing and puffing like my grandfather (long departed) because I can’t get enough air though the mask into my lungs. Yet young people wear their masks insouciantly under their noses for the very same reason.
Who are they calling “old”?
Let’s Get Radical
My adult son is calling me to “get out of town” and move to Cambria (where the elderly live) to avoid “radical” protests.
I love radicals! I believe in protests! My son forgot that I was a radical decades before he was a gleam…
I burned down my high school store to protest the war in Vietnam. Okay, I just put a lit fire cracker in the store trash bin and handed out flyers to students demanding “ACTION” as the explosion triggered the fire alarm and they fled the school.
My principal could hardly expel me as most students counted this as a close simulation of a fire drill (and went home as soon as escaping the building).
But it was indeed a PROTEST! And almost a “march,” as students were at points running in unison. And even (inadvertently) almost “violent,” as the firecracker ruined the trash bin, and the resulting smoke could have affected students’ lungs almost as much as the cigarettes they inhaled during lunch break.
At Times Like These
My adult children are now telling me how to spend my money because I “haven’t been through a time like this.” Sure, like I wasn’t there for 9/11? Well, I wasn’t really THERE, but I watched it on TV.
I also panicked during the Y2K Scare because some tech genius programmed all computers with just 2 spaces for the year, turning “2000” into “00.” Why? In those little two spaces they had wiped out the ENTIRE century of my birth!
I’ve weathered The Great Recession… The Housing Bubble… And the Second Tech Bubble. I even lived through Dick Cheney (who would win in a contest for Satan against Mitch McConnell).
We keep talking about the ascendance of the next generation. So OK, this Boomer is done. Take over the world, next gen up. I hope you can make it a lot better, as I tried my darnedest.
After all, I never expected to live this long anyway. To quote The Who…
People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby