Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where's My Generation?

One of my favorite Far Side drawings features a city street in the midst of a huge emergency--possibly an alien invasion, I can't remember, but certainly something just that intense. In the midst of widespread panic and confusion a dog looks out a car window at another dog on the street. Both contentedly wag their tails in recognition and approval.
There's that sort of instant recognition and attraction between kids. Orion ignores babies now, and mostly any human taller than four feet, but any kid in his range wears the invisible badge of membership. "You're in the club, " it says, "and you know what I know."
The membership gets more complex by degrees, with age. The acknowledgements become more subtle. But still, teens still carry unspoken agreements that vary upon the situation. At school, they're divided into their own social groups, but outside, there's still a hint of "us" (all teens) vs "them" (all adults and all sprats). Same with twenty -somethings. Though by then, certain value systems, whether individual or imposed by fad, fashion, MTV or peers, kick in, instantly ranking and subdividing within the age group.
But by the thirties, the age identity is virtually gone. For one thing, it's awfully hard to tell who is when. We adults can find comrades via other criteria; economic, education, interests. We can be somewhat general, as in the loose bonding with attendees at a concert, a bit more specific e.g. attending genre conventions, or we can send out very specific signals. For example, I could show up in a shirt that proclaims "Silk for Calde!" Chances are, very few would respond. However, those few connections would be instantly powerful possibly because the 'club' would be so exclusive.
Still, this isn't the same as connecting with people purely by birthdate. We who are born in or near the same year have some pretty basic things in common. Of course there are exceptions where geographies and cultures separate us. But, within those parameters, there are things shared only with people our own ages. I have friends in their twenties, and in their sixties, and all ages between, but sometimes it just feels good to converse with someone my age, who grew up on the same toys, cartoons and sit cons, wore the same sort of clothes, saw the same movies and now, confront the same sorts of issues that only people our ages, and practically everyone our ages, do. I enjoy comparing notes with others who may have smoked weed at a Deep Purple concert, or saw Star Wars when it was brand new. Those conversations are fun and, heh, sort of like time travel. ( got you again, with the time travel...)
Interesting to think about changes in how we identify ourselves with others. Funny, the stuff you can learn from watching wee ones.

To Carl V: Obviously I'm re-visiting the Long Sun series. This time I'm paying attention. The thing that is most clear in every page is Gene's fascination with and appreciation of languages.

Apparently, I'm going to be at the Neil signing at DreamHaven Books, Comics and Art on Dec 3. If you're going to that one, I'd love to meet and chat with you.

And this, if you haven't seen it, regarding congrats to Harlan Ellison, who will be Grand Master for Nebula AwardsĂ‚® Weekend 2006

I'm off to the studio, while Orion hones his skills as Ratchett (with Clank, of course)...



ravyn said...

"..... hope I die before I grow old..."


Carl V. Anderson said...

I recently finished The Knight and The Wizard, my first foray into Wolfe, and really loved both of them. I plan on adding his classic New Sun series to my reading pile in the coming year.

I love it how kids can often instantly bond with one another. Wish it was that easy as an adult. I think that is one of the interesting things about going to places like comic or sci fi conventions as I see people acting in almost the same way as kids in their ability to quickly and easily start interacting with each other over their shared interests.

Lisa, Ravyn...have a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving!

K said...

I feel sad reading this, because I was never able to bond easily with other children. I don't mean to sound pathetic... but I was the one who always ended up talking to their parents.

Oh well. I know what you mean, overall.

Happy thanksgiving!

Alys Sterling said...

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I don't have kids, but I visited London Zoo with a friend and her six-year-old this summer - we were looking at the emus, when I noticed her son and another kid had, totally without conversation, started up a game of chasing each other around a tree, pretending to be different animals. The other boy's parents eventually called him over to go, in some Eastern European language. When do we lose the non-verbal instant communication thing?

Derek Ash said...

I just wanted to take a moment to do something wholly out of character and wish everyone who stop in here a happy Belated Thanksgiving.

We had a power outage here from 2-10 pm, which preempted any kind of turkey-and-other-fattening-foots kind of celebration, so that has been postponed for tonight (after the Christmas Shopping Wars) but we had a nice time playing board games by candle-light, and being a family, so it was a nice Thanksgiving, and I was indeed thankful.

Thanks to everyone here, and especially to Lisa. I take a lot away from this blog, whether it be from the talented Ms. Snellings-Clark herself, or from her many intellegent and well-spoken, thoughtful commentators. So thanks to you all.

Derek Ash said...

Fattening foots? Gross. I meant foods, actually. King Typo strikes again in a richly poetic fashion.

K said...

Now I want to play board games by candlelight. Trivial Pursuit, for preference!

That is the best attitude to a powercut I have ever encountered, RRNN. And I'd like to echo your sentiments regarding this blog...

Derek Ash said...

Oh believe me, I was royally pissed at no turkey.

But the knowledge that literally dozens upon dozens of other families also had their turkey dinners ruined... well it just warmed by icy, pitch-black heart to no end. Had a nice Black Friday, shopping 'til we dropped, and THEN ate tukey, and dressing, and mashed potatoes, as we ought to have yesterday. So win-win, I say.

Plus, I cleaned up at UNO. Of course, I came in third place at Candy Land. Damn that molasses swamp.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Sorry to hear about your Turkey-less Thanksgiving RRNN! Sounds like you all did your best to overcome and press on.

If you haven't tried it, The Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD game is wonderful. A cool mix of trivial pursuit and Scene-It that covers such a wide range of pop culture that virtually anyone can play without feeling stupid. Even my 13 year old knows alot of the answers (that's probably not a good thing though...too much exposure to pop culture???) :)