Age Gaps

Are not just for parents anymore! My friends have almost always been pretty much the same age as I. You know, children of the big haired, glossy lipped ’80s who all partied to Chaka Khan and Madonna records and who did NOT grow up with computers. Hell, many of us still remember AM radio and the advent of cassette tapes (barely). The music industry threw just as big of a hissy fit over cassettes as they did about CDs a decade later, by the way.

Anyway, these days I find myself with a few friends who are significantly (10 years or more) younger than I am. Hmmm, what to do? For the most part, I don’t really think about it and it’s no biggie, but occasionally I am forced to acknowledge my seniority (just to myself). It is really strange.

For instance, I went to DragonCon this year with my SO and one of our younger friends got a bunch of passes to go to the WhiteWolf party. Well, “YAY”, I think, “I can dress all Gothic Slut and no one will notice!!” So I do and off we go to the open bar party. We are all having a good time, when the youngest of the group, a 20 year old self-proclaimed wild child, became puking drunk. No more good time. Suddenly, I am the old, wise woman to this very naive 20 year old who is puking in a box!! Whoa, what a reality check!

Now, I am blessed with a cast iron stomach, so even in my wild youth I was not often the puker of the party. I didn’t really identify with this girl in that way, but all the sudden I was tossed back to the clubbing days, when I was usually the one taking care of the pukers. But now, I see it as “omigod what an idiot” rather than, “bummer, get me a beer while she pukes!”.

All this reminiscing is brought about by my SO’s 30th birthday this Sunday, AND one of my younger friends’ 23rd birthday (also on Sunday). I’m not often reminded of our age difference, except, like, my appreciating Led Zeppelin, hair bands and REAL tight jeans and her giggling at me for it. We go to 80s night at our fave dance club (where it is chock full of kids who were eating pablum in the 80s) and dance our asses off and we talk about web stuff. The truly weird thing is that she is sort of a mentor to me, despite our disparate ages! Funny!

I can’t help but think that things are SO different now than when I was 20…Technology has totally changed the way everything works and the way all of us interact. It causes a gap between people who are not separated by a generation, but by only a few years. I missed the beginnings of desktop computing–the Apple “1984” commercial totally missed me– and I would not be in computers today if not for the headhunter that jerked me out of radio and pushed me into a support job in 1995/96!

I’m damn glad that I got into technology, cuz I’d be clueless now (like AOLers and HR people) and I’d still be doing stupid boring jobs like I was before. AND I wouldn’t have met some of the fabulous younger people that I now know thanks to the web and my techie jobs! And it has helped significantly with my relationship to my SO. He DID catch the wave in the early 80s (Apple//, baybee!) and my learning about computers has given us something in common aside from, ummm, well, ummm, whatever it was we had in common in the first freakin place!! [sidebar: did you know that ‘foreskin’ is the first word on the list of replacements for ‘freakin’ in the DreamWeaver spellcheck?]

I’m happy to say that I truly appreciate my age and the perspective that I’ve gained, however, I really really like it when I get carded and people consistently guess my age at 8-10 years less than it is!! It’s like having the chance to sneak back 10 years and live it all over again–but with all the knowledge I’ve accrued. Be afraid, be very afraid! Or, as my favorite hacker would say: Ph34r M3!!