This past weekend I had ten of my friends from back home come up to visit (I know - I was amazed I had ten friends as well). Most of our time was spent simply sitting at my apartment drinking and taking part in other redneck activities (putting down two handle bottles of Crown Royal and another bottle of Seagrams 7). Believe it or not - redneck parties are more than Skynyrd and sleeveless shirts - I ended up having some of the most intelligent and worthwhile conversations about religion, politics and life in general that I have had in a long, long time (after which I ripped off my sleeves and belted out ‘Sweet Home Alabama’).
After thinking about how awesome of a weekend I had I came to a realization. Does anyone else notice my generation as being painfully superficial and boring? I am blessed to have both grown up with and now work with some extremely intelligent (read as: insane) people that provide interesting, challenging conversation on a daily basis. In terms of the bar scene, however, I can count the number of worthwhile conversations I have had on one hand. (Side note - the number of conversations that made me want to kill myself outnumber the number of times a Clevelander has talked to me about the weather).
I realize that I normally hang out on W 6th, and there is about as much free-thinking on W 6th as there are videos on MTV. The crowd I am normally around is about as cookie-cutter as you get. In fact, like the mother of a 6 yr old, American Eagle puts together entire outfits and lays them out - all it takes is Daddy's credit card and a constant effort towards getting laid and BAM - you fit in. Where did the effort go? Has my entire generation given up on connecting on anything other than a completely superficial and physical way?
Now I am not acting like some great philosiphizer. Quite the opposite, I think of myself as fairly uneducated and naïve. But I don’t let that turn me into an Abercrombie Zombie (oh please tell me I just coined a phrase). Why has my generation turned off any sense of real, one-on-one communication? Where is the effort and the enthusiasm? Our parents grew up in the 70’s, fighting “the man” on every possible issue, and here we are, being herded like sheep by the word “gay”.
The word “gay” has morphed into simply meaning “different”. Anything you do that has not been widely accepted by the herd is now “gay”. I enjoy reading, going to museums, I have a favorite artist, I prefer ‘American Beauty’ to ‘Die Hard’ and sometimes I even listen to people when they talk. All of these things make me “gay”. Remaining completely unintelligent, uneducated, unchallenged and unconnected, however, is cool (there are variables such as how expensive your jeans are and how much gel you have in your hair - but this isn’t a math lesson).
So we wander the bars like zombies – feeding on phone numbers and one-night stands. The generation that brought you “Next” is going to be walking down the aisle of a Church in a few years. That is our idea of a relationship, 15 minutes of scripted dialogue and move on to the next model (Frat Boy 2.0 or Bleach Blonde – Now With Breast Implants!)
I understand I have had my panties in a bunch for the last 6 months, but this is still extremely frustrating. What is the point of walking through life with no challenge or meaningful engagement? How can living in the status quo be not only accepted, but expected? I feel like my entire generation is so jaded we just accept whatever we are told to do (how else could Nickleback sell all those records?). My friends are all incredible people who are not only willing to call my bullshit, but bring up new and challenging ideas of their own. As I try to carve my nook in this new city, however, I find it extremely difficult to find people of the same mind set. Am I just hanging out in the wrong scene? Or is my generation really as flaccid and uninspired as they appear?
Maybe I should just shut up and pop my collar, I mean, who thinks these days? How gay.
(I had written this and then read my much more intelligent (though not nearly as handsome) friend’s blog about the same topic. He does a much better job of relaying this thought without sounding like a whiney bitch. This blog actually started out as a funny take on the bar scene and ended in a rant (a not very well thought out rant at that). I apologize, I promise I will be funny next time.)