Thought That I Was Young

Noisepop, an annual SF music festival, always reminds me of the very beginning of Mr. WholeHog and I’s relationship.

Mr. WholeHog was an experienced show-goer and I was not, so I learned a lot at Noisepop. I learned to wear comfortable shoes since we’d be standing for hours. I learned that the band we want to see comes on last and we’d be waiting through the many (often crummy) openers. I learned to line up early to have a chance of scoring a balcony seat at the Fillmore or the Great American Music Hall. I learned to put bits of bar napkins in my ears so they wouldn’t ring after the music stopped. I learned to ‘defend my space’ so I wouldn’t end up with a six foot tall jolly green giant blocking my view of the stage.

At last week’s, all-ages Noisepop show, I learned something new: I’m old.

Maybe old is a little dramatic, but in a sea of people dressed straight out of The Breakfast Club, it was clear that I was not young.

I should have known. There were obvious clues: I don’t understand the appeal of Myspace or Facebook. I can only text with one finger.

Getting older hadn’t bothered me much, maybe because being young never felt like much of an advantage. You couldn’t vote or drink, and people acted like you didn’t know anything because you were young. At my first job, a coworker crowed, “I’ve got shoes older than you!”

The benefit of being young was that you had no responsibilities, that you got to be carefree, but I like stability. I’m not a very carefree person. Getting older has its own benefits. I’m in better shape now than I was 10 years ago, physically and mentally. Growing up has mostly felt like progress.

But my twenties don’t feel that far away, and until the show, I hadn’t realized that a generational gap had developed as I’d been getting older. The kids around me wore clothes I’d seen at H&M but hadn’t known what to do with (Is it a top or a dress? Do you belt it or is the sack-look in?). I’d seen Like A Virgin-style lace unitards at American Apparel recently and thought to myself, “Who wears this stuff?” At the show, I had my answer.

I don’t want to be 22 again, and I certainly don’t want to wear 1980s clothes again. But it was strange to look around, as I defended my space next to my now-husband, and realize that I could be easily mistaken as a mom, while the woman in front of me looked like Ally Sheedy after Molly Ringwald gives her a make-over, bow in the hair and all.


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