Some wise person once floated the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m more toeing the Bob Dylan line on this one; the more things change… the more they change.
Nothing makes you feel as out of touch with the modern world as having a teenager. My daughter told me not long ago, as I was getting down with my bad self to a Duran Duran L.P, that I was, and I quote, “culturally irrelevant”. I was stunned. What? Me? “But I’m cool, I’m dancing to The Reflex,” I spluttered back, incredulous. Her dead pan visage suggested that perhaps I was mistaken in my initial diagnosis. At first, I thought that maybe this was a parent/child thing; surely even someone truly cool like Lenny Kravitz (vetted for authenticity by afore-mentioned daughter) must get the odd eye-roll and the occasional, “do you really think those leather pants go with everything, Dad?” from his children (the answer is yes, Lenny, yes, they do go with everything). But reality is a cruel mistress and when I ponder it, my rotten, ungrateful, offspring may be onto something. I am, very unsure as to how the dynamic works these days.
So many things that I have always taken for granted seem so different. Even speaking, something people have been asking me to do less of since 1973, can make you feel like a stranger in a strange land. I have recently started spending time with intermediate-age children, and I literally understand every third word they speak to me. Sometimes, I nod, like I think a cool person trying not to look cool nods, whilst I simultaneously remind myself to look up most of our exchange in the Urban Dictionary as soon as no one is looking. Language has changed, did you know that you can look “extra” or “basic”? And that both of these are bad? The addition of something as simple as a sweatshirt is all it takes to go from one vestiary extreme to the other. I still don’t really understand, but I think my look is probably extra-basic or basically-extra. Don’t start me on the hand signals, it’s metacarpal madness. My interpretation of them stopped at jazz hands, now I’m never sure if that 12-year-old girl is raising her hand to ask a question or signalling she’s just joined the Mongrel Mob. There’s a niche in the market for a guide book for anyone born before the ‘80s, a kind of “Lonely Planet Young Folk” that helps you at least decipher some of the lexicon and flailing phalanges. Perhaps David Attenborough could look into making a documentary series. I’d buy the DVDs and the audio books.
That last sentence brings me to my next point, technology. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m rubbish at social media, I have Facebook, the end. I have no idea how to use Instagram or Snapchat, and in the interest of complete transparency, I have a reason that I know makes my daughter, at least a little bit right. I believe that somehow, I will: unwittingly upload a video or whatever they are called on the platform I am frightened of, and I will do it by accident, and I will have been day drinking and it will be of something no other eyes should ever see and it will herald a personal catastrophe to equal The End of Days. I can’t explain it, it is the Kellie 2018 version of blaming scientific advances on witchcraft. Anyone trying to tell me about a new app gets the same treatment, my eyes glaze over while I secretly imagine how well they would fare in a ducking stool situation circa 1378. I also don’t know which way to swipe if you like someone on Tinder, given my marital status, this has not been too much of an encumbrance, but my Step-son just set up an account for our German Shepherd and I’d like to take more of an active role in his dating life. In case you were wondering, given that he is a both neutered and a dog, he is going great and has more matches than my son. I just hope things don’t get awkward between them.
Along the same lines, I, like millions of others, use YouTube for the purpose it was intended. Namely:
- Watching re-runs of Dateline True Crime.
- In an attempt to save my makeup routine from rivalling the clown from It (I still have no idea what make-up baking is or how to use a highlighting powder without looking like a clumsy cocaine addict).
- And most importantly, to skip through BBC productions of Jane Austen adaptations to the bits that make me cry (Elizabeth rejects Darcy on the basis he has insulted her family; Elizabeth accepts Darcy on the basis that he has saved her family – also most of Persuasion, ooo-er Rupert Penry-Jones in breeches!)
However, the girl child has recently informed me of her new pastime, watching strangers eat on YouTube. Yes, you heard me. It’s a thing, she even has favourite people that she chooses to watch ingest their dinner. This confounds me as much as how to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner (spoiler alert, you can’t, not on both eyes simultaneously) and even more than contouring (think face like a beige zebra). Although it has given me an idea for a new income stream, I have decided to advertise tickets next time I am hungover and ordering pizza.
I may still be confused, but things are looking up in the cool stakes. I showed my husband how to use the poo emoji the other day (hours of fun, but I have to admit I wish I hadn’t. His texts have definitely devolved since his education) and last week, I refrained from describing Justin Timberlake as “that guy from *NSYNC”. At this rate by next month, I’ll go savage, get lit and know on the DL, I’m relevant AF.