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Archive for June, 2010

Janet and the Marina Sunset

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

This will hopefully replace the pic of the stupid stuffed animals that keeps plaguing all my posts.

A Conversation With My Ten-Year-Old Self

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Today, I’ll be traveling back through time to visit my ten-year-old self. I’m interested to know what has surprised her about the future and her future self.

Adult Janet: Hi, kid. How goes it?

Child Janet: This is weird. You’re old now. I mean, I’m old now.

Adult: Yes, I am. And I’ve got a job to do, so let’s get to it.

Child: I thought I’d be working in corporation or teaching. And where are my kids?

Adult: Sorry. Forgot.

Child: I do think it’s pretty cool that I get to play make-believe everyday. I love reading. But I didn’t see myself being an author. I like that. So what happened to the kids?

Adult: I told you, Frank and I forgot. Now onto more serious matters. Give me the number one thing that’s surprised you the most about the last forty years.

Child: Well, I expected to be dead by the time I reached ten. I thought I’d be killed by a nuclear bomb. The school scares us a few times a year with air raid drills. The siren goes off and we have to get under our desks. But kids aren’t stupid. We know hiding under our desks won’t stop us from getting vaporized. But I’m really glad the Russians didn’t kill us.

Adult:  Me, too. What else has surprised you?

Child: I thought I’d be vacationing on the moon by 2010. Why can’t we travel to other planets?

Adult: Turns out it’s harder and costs more money than we have.

Child: And where are the flying cars? And why aren’t fully functioning robots cooking and cleaning for people? I expected life to be like the Jetson’s. At least you have big plasma TVs and cable television. I’ve got five channels of TV, you’ve got hundreds. I would kill for Cartoon Network. And speaking of cartoons, your generation really improved them. They were terrible in the late sixties and early seventies. Characters barely moved. Sometimes just their mouths moved.

Adult: Yeah, you could hardly call it animation when the characters ran by only moving their feet, not their bodies, like in the Flintstones.

Child: I thought adults would kill off cartoons.

Adult: Well, if we had any real adults around, they might have.

Child: Yeah, adults your age are more like kids. Here in 1970, my parents aren’t like me at all. They listen to stupid music like Perry Como and smoke and drink cocktails and talk about important things. They don’t like rock and roll and they don’t watch cartoons or play games. In your time, adults listen to the same music as their kids, wear the same clothes, and guys are staying home with their parents until they’re thirty instead of growing up and having kids themselves. Why don’t the adults in your time want to be adults?

Adult: Good question.

Child: I expected rock and roll to die by the mid-70s. It’s still new in my time. All the other forms of music have come and gone. Mick Jagger looks so old. I thought all the rock stars would grow out of rock and roll and be playing old people music.

Adult: Yeah, old people music now is rock ‘n roll. What else surprises you?

Child: I can’t believe girls get to play sports and race cars and do all that boy stuff I’m not allowed to do. It’s so cool that women are running corporations and flying planes. They tell us we can’t do any of that. All we’re supposed to do is get married and have kids. I’m glad that girls growing up in your time can be anything they want.

Adult: Me, too. What upsets you the most about my time?

Child: That the government is so full of bad people. The people in charge only care about being in charge. All they want to do is get rich. They don’t care about the schools or the future of America or anybody but their friends. And they keep starting wars. I hate that. They tell us in school that the President and the government are great. But when they lie and hurt people, how can we consider them great?

Adult: Agreed.

Child: And why are we still polluting the Earth? In the sixties, everyone knew we were hurting the planet and that it was a bad thing. But nothing’s changed and everything’s gotten worse, except for the air. The moon in my time looks orange from all the pollution. If they can fix the air, why can’t they fix everything else?

Adult: Good question, kid.

Child: And why did they change the formula of Cracker Jacks? I liked them with more molasses. And what happened to the cool prizes? Now all you get is a dumb sticker.

Adult: You can thank lawyers for that. What are you happiest about?

Child: I really like computers. I wish I had one now.

Adult: What about me personally? What are you happiest about?

Child: That you get to write cool stories, you have tons of neat toys and Frank is great. It’s weird you living in Nana Periat’s house, though. I never thought Nana and Papa Periat would die. Or Aunt Jacquie and Nana Sahm. I don’t like that at all. But I’m glad Mom and Dad will still be there when I’m fifty.

Adult: Me, too. So if you had a choice, would you be my age or yours?

Child: Yours. Hardly anyone tells you what to do and you get to drive a car and eat before meals if you want to. And you don’t have to go to school anymore. Or church.

Adult: Anything you think I should improve about myself?

Child: Yeah, you should have more fun and not be so mean to yourself. You try to do too much stuff and forget to stop and enjoy life. You need to play more.

Adult: Sage advice from a ten-year-old.

©2010, Janet Periat

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