Thursday, December 08, 2005

Neverland Regained 

I have good news and bad news, I begin today, and sure enough, they are comfortable enough here and now to respond without pause: Save a bunch on your car insurance, Mr. F?

A shock, at first, that we still share the same buzzphrases. And the oldmind, the analytical mind, says "proof that the mediaworld is evercollapsing still? Evidence of the sheer longevity of the catchphrase in our modern culture? Perhaps the trope just resonates; perhaps the new Coke slogan contains the old?"

And that is true, I suppose, though it's been a while since I swam in the deep end of the analytical mindset.

But also true, I think to myself in the shared laughter: maybe as long as most of us still spend our hours in front of the nowscreen the culture is saturated enough for me to be both mediaphile and unparticipant, both them and not-them.

If so -- and I believe all this and more to be true, a plethora of meaning in a moment -- then it is a sign that I am of them. That I fit into their worlds, and them in mine.

We have arrived, I think. Accept, and be gladdened, and on to the lesson we go.

* * * * *

It took a while for me to adapt to the middle school mind. For months, they were little, both like and not-quite-yet the overbright high school kids I've been working with as peer and patron, guide and fellow since way back before the mind kicked into adult mode.

They can't believe I don't have television. But we can chat about music, since the names have stayed the same since I was a clubhopper wannabe in my own adolescence, hitting the Esplanade for Green Day, moshing to U2 before they went pop. We share the secrets of cyberspeech, and the gamer's delight.

It feels good to have hit my stride, and theirs; good, though it makes the teetering balance between kid-cred and peer respect among the faculty harder to have reached it; good, to look back at the day at day's end, and count the high fives, the evoked giggles, and find among them a hundred epiphanies and lessons learned for all of us, as it should be.

I tell them I still watch shows in series when they come out on DVD, choose not to let on that the real test of adulthood is having them yet not even flipping the switch for weeks, what with the wood to stack and the kids to tuck and cuddle. But here, in the classroom, we laugh, and smile knowingly, as we learn from each other.

This, too, is balance. This, too, is the wandering life. This, too, is home.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:55 PM |

Dude. I was at that Green Day show. Left early to go folkdancing in Belmont and missed the riots, though.
Uh... it seems that recent events involving the KOP (King of Pop) make it unwise to associate "Neverland" with middleschool-aged children. Not suggesting anything, but I'm just sayin...
Bah, humbug, anon.

True adulthood embraces its inner child. It needs neither mistake childsih for childlike nor try to garner inner childhood through actual children.

Those of us who truly believe in fairies know that MJ is but a soap bubble.

Peter Pan, on the other hand, is forever.
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