Worlds Away

I may be only about ten years older than the majority of high school students right now, but I feel generations apart.  Has being a teenager changed that dramatically in the last decade or am I just an exceptional person who was immune to many of the things that teenagers do?  I feel like it is the former.  I hope that this is not a product of some vain sense of superiority on my part, but I don’t think so.

Most of the young people I’ve been interacting with over the last few months seem to be from an elite privileged group.  I even notice it on the bus to and from downtown; they talk loudly on their cell phones and to each other as they listen to iPods and flaunt the latest in designer fashion.  They talk about how they “like just have to” get the newest this or that or how so-and-so is “like so” this or that…  They seem to think they know everything about this celebrity or that band but are clueless as to the more important things in life.  Like how to boil water. Seriously, I’ve been asked.  Some have been everywhere at mommy or daddy’s expense but haven’t experienced anything other than the shopping and five star hotels in those places.  Others haven’t been outside of their city but are equally clueless about life.  The world we live in today is such a global village that to be uninformed about life outside of your small bubble seems a crime.  We live in a period when we have the unique ability to go anywhere and do anything.  Why squander it with ignorance?
One of the most frequent things I hear on the boat is “this is the best food I’ve ever eaten” or “you are an amazing cook,” and sometimes “will you come home with me and cook all the time, I never eat like this at home.”  Again, ego would suggest otherwise, but I really don’t think I am that incredible or the food I make is that wonderfully unique.  I just make things like what I grew up on: random bits of pork cooked with a glaze, potatoes, spaghetti, pasta casseroles, rice dishes…  Part of it is the outdoor environment.  Everyone is hungrier when they spend all day outside and when you are hungry, anything tastes good.  I have another theory about why everyone thinks boat food is so good.  I think it has to do with the food they are accustomed to eating.  (This also goes back to the “How do you boil water?” comment.)  Many of them come from busy working families where parents just don’t have the time to cook a real meal.  This generation has grown up on instant.  Not only do they want everything now, they are not used to anything that cannot be microwaved in less than ten minutes.  No wonder boat food tastes good!  When you are used to over-processed, reheated food, anything made with real fresh ingredients tastes good.  It is saddening to think of what people are missing.
None of this is meant as a broad-brush generalization, painting in all of the young people in our society.  I just feel that it is an overwhelming majority of those with whom I have observed in recent months since returning home from Offshore.  I hope it is just a case of the squeaky wheel being the one taken note of.
Does a rant like this officially classify me as “old fart”?

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