New neighbor’s slight says ‘I loathe the ’80s’
Updated: July 13, 2012 6:08PM
After the weekly garbage pickup, as I brought in the recyclable bins from the edge of our drive, I glanced over at the vacant house next door. Young men were unloading furniture from a white van.
Great, wonderful to have neighbors again, I thought. A young woman stepped out onto the porch, slim in shorts and a pink tube top, motioning the men inside.
Waving, attempting a friendly greeting, I then stopped. She was ignoring me.
Perhaps I am imagining
things, but it seems there is a youth snobbery today, where younger people will not associate with old fogies because they fear an instant aging contagion. Sometimes I long to brush against a sneering 20-something’s arm, and chide, “Gotcha! Geezer cooties!”
Our culture’s nutty youth fixation started with the Baby Boom and has worsened with every subsequent Pepsi generation. When I was a teenager, I looked up to my folks and enjoyed their music, TV and movies. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, James Garner and Audrey Hepburn were cool.
Now younger folks ridicule 1980s music and trends on VH1’s “I Love the 80’s” and everything we liked, as though the 1990s and 2000s ushered in a pinnacle of sophistication with Adam Sandler and “Jersey Shore.”
OK, so we had our Flock of Seagulls hairdos and wore shoulder pads the size of heliports. We worked out in our striped “Where’s Waldo?” leg warmers and flaunted atomic-bomb perms. I owned a pair of “gasoline heels,” pumps the color of a gasoline puddle, and no, I’m not making that up.
Nineteen-eighties entertainment offered a cornucopia of cringe-worthy movies: “Howard the Duck,” “Ishtar,” Bo Derek’s “Bolero” and Stallone’s “Cobra” with the tagline: “Crime is the disease. Meet the cure.”
So, no, I can’t make assumptions about this young woman whose waist has never done elastic. She could be judging my Ethel Mertz girth and fear I’ll launch a dawn raid of her refrigerator.
Later that night, my husband arrives home from work. He tugs off his tie and loosens the collar of his white business shirt.
“Hey you,” he says. “What’s up?”
“Katherine Heigl moved in next door.”
He lifts his eyebrows. “Time for me to do some yard work.”