Damn Teenagers! Or, I mean, Damn Teenager!!

Okay, so I know I need to add the next post to my 642 Things, but I’d rather rant tonight. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re all desperately waiting for another entry (here is where I would enter in the word NOT, but I am not twelve years old anymore, but I will just hope you get the sarcasm instead), but I just gotta rage instead. Plus, what came up for this prompt ended up highly X-Rated and I can’t write it until I check into into wordpress’ rules on X-rated blogging. Maybe I should find an alternate site for the next post in the meantime….

But, I digress. What I wanted to do instead was bitch and complain about this little shit of a teller in Walmart. And yes, I’m calling some fifteen-year-old kid a little shit because he obviously stirred something up in me that I did not like. But let me start at the beginning….

I was on my way to through the till when I decided to pick up a treat for my children seeing as it’s spring break and they were all pouty that they had to go to karate (“It’s spring break! Why do we have to do anything!”). Originally, I had picked up mini eggs for them, but then thought to myself that maybe I shouldn’t always get them food as a reward. Maybe I should find other things so when they get older they do not use food to make themselves feel better. So, in light of this aha! moment, I picked up the only comic books I could find at the till; Sonic the Hedgehog for my son and Archie for my daughter (which I think could be just as damaging as food. I mean, really? Two girls fighting over one guy for decades? One is gorgeous and rich and the other is smart and a perfect homemaker? Are you fucking kidding me? Which desperate loser came up with this scenario while jerking off to Three’s Company? Oh, wait, Archie’s sold millions of copies for eons…I guess he’s not such a loser afterall…).

I throw the comic books down on the belt and this boy (I call him that cause he probably is, he can’t possibly have his driver’s license yet, not even his “L”) picks them up and says, “Archie and Sonic. Aren’t you a little old for them? Shouldn’t you be buying Sudoku instead?”

Now, I should have told him to keep his opinions to himself like a proper little puke, but of course, my ego jumped in, offended that he was either making a crack at my age or making assumptions about my hobbies, or both. Either way, I could not let him think I was some Sudoku-playing Archie and Sonic-reading grandma and so, in great defense, said, “God, no!” (Oh, that’s right. This shit got real. I called on God and everything!)

He was shocked. “Why don’t you like Sudoku?”

“Because I hate pointless problem solving,” I replied as he rang the rest of my purchases in through the little scanner thing (Oh yeah, brilliant, I know. If you ever need advice on witty comebacks, I’m your girl).

“Oh, so then, what DO you do?” He asked me, as if Sudoku and comics were pretty much the ONLY thing anyone could possibly do with their time (and, to add more of my judgment, he does work at Walmart. I’m assuming comics and Sudoku could easily be commonly purchased items there…oh, don’t get your panties all in a bunch. You’ve seen those Walmart shoppers pictures too, I know you have…).

So, to show off my superior intellect (as he’d already made one shot that cracked my ego, I needed to be super awesome to repair it) I said, “I read,” in the tone that suggested this fact should have been obvious just looking at me.

“Oh, I hate reading.” (As if that wasn’t incredibly obvious. Maybe if he read more and talked less he’d offend less people….oh, shit…who am I talking about here, him or me? Him. Right? It has to be him…).

Now comes in my father. Or, should I say, the gene that he passed down to me, the gene of lets-help-everyone-we-meet-even-if-they-are-just-strangers-by-making-helpful-suggestions-even-if-they-aren’t-wanted kicked into high gear here. Because my husband never used to read and then he found some good books and now he reads, often, and really, if it could help him couldn’t it also help this ignorant boy with verbal diarrhea? Of course it can because I decided it could!!!

“You just haven’t found the right book,” I said.

“I tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey,” he replied.

And herein lies the problem. Of course he hates reading, he tried the most poorly written book in the history of the written word! On came the chorus of angels! This boy could still be saved, people! Good thing I came along to rid him of his book reading ignorance!!!!

“That’s your problem,” I said. “That’s the worst book every written.”

“Says who?”

Uh, what? Was it not me who just, said? Let me scroll back up to double check…hmm…yes, I just told him that. I am the one who said it is the worst book ever. Now comes the indignation….He’s daring to question me? ME?! I fucking know books, people! Doesn’t he know that??? I laugh in the face of Sonic and Archie and Sudoku BECAUSE I KNOW BOOKS! I am literate and well read and knowledgeable about all things written!!!

I had a mind to drag him home, by the ear because us Sudoku-playing old ladies to that, and rub his face in my huge library of books and say, “You would dare question a comment I make about a book! May the good lord Zeus strike you down with one of his lightning bolts and may Poseidon drag you to the bottom of the sea to be eaten alive by sea urchins! How dare you ask, WHO SAYS, about something I said!!!!!”

But I didn’t say that. Instead I said, “Well, uh, anyone who knows anything about books and writing.”

To which he replied, “Well, there you go. I don’t write!”

What? Why must this child have some kind of reply ready to fire back at me! Does he not understand? He must respect me and honor me and listen to what I say! I am the customer! I am his elder (but not by too much, that we’ve already established)! I am the all-knowing book reader!

I was determined to bring this little shit around. Here I was, trying to better him, help him, offer him books to read in order to improve his life and he wasn’t taking it. How could he not take this? I would get through to him! Being a teenaged boy, I offered up Ex-Heroes, the book, “About superheroes fighting zombies.” Because, don’t all teenager boys love zombies and superheroes? I mean, sure, he just made some stereotypical assumption about me and Sudoku which seriously pissed me off, why shouldn’t I do the same to him? And of course, when I do it, it’s not stereotypical at all, only a wise elder offering up helpful suggestions about a stranger I’d never met before.

“I don’t like zombies.”

Uh…WHAAAAAAAAT? What the hell is wrong with this kid? Who doesn’t like zombies?! Oh man…I started to wonder if he really could be saved. But hadn’t the gods put him in my path in order to save him? Why else would he have made the Fifty Shades comment if he didn’t want better book advice? I mean, that is just a cry for help, isn’t it?

“What DO you like then?” (No, this is not some reversal of the first part of our conversation here. Remember, I know better than him. He was in the wrong. He was being the stupid shit making wild assumptions. Do not for one second should you think that I was doing the same thing….because I wasn’t…I swear….I’d never do that…I’m awesomer than him, remember?)

“Romance.”

Oh, well then. Romance. I should have seen that coming.

At this point I had finished paying but I had not finished with him. I would awaken him before I left this store, I would!

“What about John Green then? Have you read John Green?” I tried not to seem desperate and grasping. Because, of course, I wasn’t. I get teens and I get books. It was only a matter of time before he’d bow down before me, thanking me for saving his life and opening him up to the wide world of literature.

“I did watch The Fault In Our Stars.”

Cha-Ching! There you have it people. Something we had in common, I had my way in. I could get in through John Green, I knew it. Thank the lord, this boy could still be saved!

“See, and the book is so much better,” I told him as I took my bags and started to leave, the smile of victory twitching at the edges of my mouth. Here was another teen who could have been lost to the world of Sudoku and Fifty Shades, but I’d saved him with John Green.

“You’re really opinionated,” he called out to me.

Uh…what the fuck did he just say to me? I think he mis-said, “thank you, you amazing young woman for exposing me to the error of my ways and showing me how much I’d been missing in my life by not reading books.”

I’m opinionated?

Me?

Me???

I should have gone back. I should have shook him and yelled at him for being such a disrespectful shit. Called in the manager to say he insulted me by daring to suggest I’d do Sudoku and not taking my suggestions for what they were, the informed teachings of someone who could help him.

I was pissed off all the way home. Little fucker should be polite to the customers, right?

And then I realized, whose problem is this?

It couldn’t be mine, could it?

No, this was the product of a child raised in a generation with no respect. Right? I’m not opinionated. No, ha! What a funny kid! Calling me opinionated! Ha! Haha! Ha!

Oh, shit. It sucks when someone calls you on something and you know they’re right. But it sucks so, so, so much worse when it comes from some fifteen-year-old stranger after a 90-second encounter.

I really was trying to help, to have a conversation.

Actually, that’s not true. I was being an opinionated know-it-all because he had dared to make some frivolous assumption about me that I did not like. And who cares what this kid thought in the first place? Well, obviously I did, or I wouldn’t have tried so goddamn hard. I would have told him to watch himself the second he judged me and my purchases and left it at that. Actually, I would have taken it much farther than that, I wouldn’t have seen the judgement in the first place. I would have seen him for who he was; a fifteen-year-old kid who was making small talk as he was most likely told to do even if it was the thoughtless comments of a teenager who should have known better. I would have laughed it off knowing that whatever this kid said really didn’t matter because I had nothing to prove to him. I was who I was and whether or not the comics were for me or my kids or should have been Sudoku or not, really didn’t matter. Except that, they did. For they showed me that I have a long way to go in my own acceptance of self. Because if I really, truly accepted myself, no kid could throw me off like that, could send me screeching into the self-righteous fury of a threatened ego.

Maybe I am opinionated. Oh, that’s funny. I am opinionated like NPH is awesome (which, in case you didn’t know, is very. Awesome I mean. Neil Patrick Harris is the full package. He can sing, dance, act, make you laugh…oh wait, I lost the topic again…). Which means, I am very opinionated. But you know, I think he is too for making that comment in the first place. He had an opinion about me the moment I walked up to pay based on what lay on the conveyor belt. But instead of being the mature grown up who should have known better, I stooped down to his level because he made me feel like an awkward, insecure teenager again.

He made me feel stupid. And I let him.

So who’s the dumb one now?

Then again, I think the fact that it bothered me at all is what bothers me. Because I thought I was this self-evolved version of myself that was far beyond all of that. I guess we all regress every now and again, don’t we? Especially me (as in, I am a one step forward, two steps back kinda girl).

It must have been time for a pin to deflate my overinflated awakened self. So I guess I need to thank the little shit for being the one to step up to the task instead of getting mad at him for it. I just wish he didn’t seem to have enjoyed it so much!

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