Today, as is my wont, now that I am a FTW (an acronym created by my dad for Full Time Writer, which just so happens to be a totally FTW career), I spent some time on my little pink netbook writing in cafes. I didn’t remember that it was the last day of school today. I should have. My mum and dad have been looking forward to this day for months.
I did notice, vaguely, at about midday, that the cafe I was writing in did seem to be filling up with people of the teenage variety. I did notice that the cafe got a bit louder. I didn’t mind. It was a nice, jolly sort of hubbub. After awhile, I did find myself looking up on occasion and giggling at a particularly exuberant squeal or chorus of raucous laughter. “What fun they’re having,” I thought. “What awesome kids.”
After awhile, I twigged that these kids had just finished school, some for the year, some forever. I found myself giving them little congratulatory smiles as they walked past me. They probably thought I was a weird, lonely old lady, but I didn’t mind. They were making me happy and I wanted to share the happiness.
As I looked around the cafe, I noticed that the other adults didn’t seem to be as happy as I was. Ladies lunching were scowling and tutting. Businessmen grabbing lattes were grumbling and exchanging looks of disgust with their workmates. Everybody else but me seemed to view the happy teenagers with disdain and disgruntlement.
This made me crabby.
I mean, seriously, these kids had just arrived at a major milestone in their lives. They had made it through another year of – probably tough – schooling. They were excited and relieved and happy and just bloody ENJOYING themselves and the beginning of a summer of freedom. And the flipping nasty old berks in the cafe begrudged them that. The kids were invading their ADULT space with their noisiness and their enthusiasm and their joie de vivre.
These were the same adults who, tonight, or tomorrow night, would probably go to their work Christmas party and drink far too much cheap plonk, sing bad karaoke and try and touch up their boss’ wife. Much more acceptable way to celebrate that is.
I love watching teenagers interact. They are so open and unselfconscious. They don’t wear the myriad masks that adults wear in their daily life. Life is an adventure to them. When they are excited about something, they are excited LOUD. And good on ’em.
To all the grumpy dongheads in the cafe I was in today, your macchiatos and croissants were ruined because you let them be so. Teenagers deserve to have fun, particularly when they’ve just achieved something enormous. It’s a cliche, but kids are our future and, looking at the kids I saw today, our future is going to be fun and exciting. Well done to all the students who finished up at school today. You’ve done an awesome job. Have fun. You deserve it.