I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fancy Coffee & Too Much Blood

Here's another repost from my last blog. I have a handful of posts from that blog that I want to repost here—not so much because they were good, but because they meant something to me.


I like to think of myself as a person who follows trends in culture. I watch the news. I listen to talk radio. I read magazines, newspapers, websites, and books. I do the coffee shop thing. I hang out in bookstores. I interview people from all walks of life for newspaper and magazine articles I write. But sometimes I see the most insignificant event and wonder, how did that one sneak by me?

I dropped my niece off at her high school this morning. As I pulled out of the parking lot, two students walked by with gourmet coffee cups—as if it were the most natural thing in the world to them. It probably is and there's nothing wrong with it. But I'm 38, so it's been a long time since I've been in high school. Twenty years in fact. When I was in high school, coffee was something my parents drank. I can't imagine one student ever showing up for class when I was in high school with a cup of Joe from Starbucks, can you? And I can't imagine students in my day having the $3.25 to plop down for it either. But disposable income is probably higher than it once was.

This coffee incident made me think about something deeper than just kids drinking coffee. I might be reading too much into this, but doesn't it seem to you that children today are attempting to enter adulthood faster than they used to? High school students have always wanted to grow up and make their own decisions. Who among us couldn’t wait for our first job, our first car, and our first taste of freedom?

We wanted all those things, but most of us weren't really forced to deal with real life until at least the college years. Even if our parents didn't have it all together when we were in high school, they tried to make it look like they did. Sometimes their baggage became more public than they preferred, but it was dealt with quickly and not spoken about again—at least until the next time.

I wonder if we have bled too much in front the next generation. Shouting matches with our spouses, too much information about financial or personal struggles, and too much yearning for the good ol' days. I'm not advocating a return to the days when parents were so emotionally distant from their children that their kids never really knew them. But maybe we've gone too far the other way. We bleed so much in front of the next generation that we force them to deal with things they shouldn't need to.

I know. This is a big stretch after simply observing two high school students drinking fancy coffee. But I'm always trying to figure out what makes people tick. And when I see something that looks different than my own experiences, I feel like I've got to figure out why. Funny thing is, I very seldom do. I just file the experience in my mind as something new I need to remember so I can find a way to relate to people I know very little about.


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