This afternoon, we took advantage of the lovely weather and walked to a nearby park. My intention was to swing on the swings but all the swings were taken when we arrived. Oddly, they were not taken by children. They were full of junior high school kids. I could tell they were junior high school kids because the girls were all about a foot taller than the boys. The girls were also clearly more developed than the boys. It reminded me of that difficult time of growing up.
Since we couldn't use the swings, we sat down at a nearby picnic table. As I sat there watching these young teenagers, I was transported back to my own difficult junior high school years. I watched the interaction between these kids - the girls in their layered tank tops and short-shorts, texting each other on their cell phones. As the boys teased them, the girls pretended to be annoyed while putting on more and more lip gloss. The girls were outrageously flirting with the boys, although the boys had no idea what to do in response. The boys were still in their grade school forms - either still carrying their babyfat, or painfully thin and gangly. As they yelled to each other across the swings, their voices cracked and squeaked. The boys were all riding dirt bikes; the girls were all carrying new purses.
I smiled at the interations but realized how glad I was not to be living my junior high years. Those years were so painful and uncertain. Things are much more settled now. I know what I am going to be when I grow up. I've already decided what college to go to. I know who my friends are and know they aren't likely to stop speaking to me because I smiled at the wrong guy in math class. I know where I am going to live for the next 10 years and I like it. Life is so much better as an adult. Thank god those junior high days are behind me.
Just as I was in my little reverie, another boy rode up on his bicycle and exclaimed, "Hey! The Cubs are in the playoffs!! YEAH!" A couple of the other boys cheered as well. The girls smacked their gum and rolled their eyes. However, one boy (wearing a Cardinals T-Shirt) said, "Yeah, whatever. The Cubs are gonna lose. They always do." The first boy said, "Oh, yeah? The Cardinals SUCK!" He began taunting the Cardinal boy by saying, "Cardinals suck. Cardinals suck." I half expected him to add "na na na boo boo" at the end. The Cardinal boy responded, "OH YEAH. SUCK IT! THE CUBS SUCK IT! THE CUBS SUCK IT!!!!"
As I was walking away, I thought to myself - maybe things aren't so different when you get older. I bet at the exact same moment, there was a 35 year old guy sitting in a bar saying, "Cardinals suck." And another 35 year old guy responding, "Oh yeah? The Cubs SUCK IT!" Some things never change.
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