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Jun 12, 2010 3:10:12 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Bridging The Generation Gap

I was thinking recently that the younger generation is similar to older pensioners in lots of ways. I know, “Come again?” you’re thinking. Well, let me prove this to you how basically they are a lot alike and maybe you’ll change your original opinion.

For example, both groups like to hang around in restaurants, cinemas and shopping malls. The generation in between has to work to earn a living, or run a home, so they can’t do this on a regular basis. Even if they do go out for a business lunch, it’s usually just to discuss something and then they rush back to office, either to report or act on the result of the meeting. In a restaurant, both groups take ages to decide what to eat and after dithering, finally place their orders.

They are never in a hurry to leave and after extended farewells, will leisurely stroll away. In most instances, the staff are waiting impatiently for them to push off and start doing things to hasten their departure, like turning off the air-conditioner or else they simply stand in a row and gaze at you threateningly until you decide to take the hint and depart. The generation in between would much rather get DVDs and watch them at home for convenience, but older people enjoy a trip to the cinema as an outing. The young ones also find this an excellent and reasonable place to take their dates.

This can be during the day, so that playing hookey from school or classes will go unnoticed. And malls of course are always nice to hang around, because they are teeming with people to observe and you can either go for a film, have a snack, shop or just “hang”. The in-between generation whiz in and out on a specific errand, no time for “chillin!”

Both groups walk in a peculiar manner, you know what I mean, the younger ones with their hands in their pockets, shoulders hunched over and the swagger. The older ones with their shuffle and some limps can rival them! They’re walkin’ the walk. Both groups seem to prefer baggy, huge clothes, the younger ones because it’s in fashion and the older ones for comfort. Another similarity is questionable facial hair! Straggly bits of hair on upper lips and chins of younger males trying vainly to maintain this sprouting bit of manhood, but in both sexes of older people! The eyesight of some of the poor dears maybe failing so they sport a few unnecessary hairs on their chinny-chin chins.

Actually, even I have to squint closely at the mirror to root out mine! Then there’s music, the parents of teenagers can never understand the kind of music they listen to and the kids of the older generation wonder what their parents are listening to. I must say I quite liked the music my parents listened to. There’s the question of volume too, both groups like it extremely loud! Both groups have really bad driving etiquette and deny it vigorously. They seem to encounter the oddest episodes when trying to park their vehicles. The females in both groups colour their hair in most peculiar shades and they have some weird hairstyles. Sometimes makeup is applied rather too generously.

The members of both groups have developed to a fine art the sense of “selective hearing.” You’ll find they ignore what they don’t want to hear or answer, but sometimes you try saying something really soft so they don’t overhear, and presto! They’ve got supersonic hearing powers. Another similarity is that they pretend they have forgotten lots of things; anything they want to avoid is just brushed aside with an over-casual apology. It could be genuine because the younger ones prioritize what they deem to be important first of all and the older ones genuinely have lapses of memory. This I’m guilty of too, although I don’t consider myself old!

Another characteristic common to both groups is that they laugh out loud at some of the dumbest things. It could be on television or in normal day to day life, but some of the things they find really hilarious are not so funny to the rest of us. Both of them develop their own private slang so as to confuse us, who are out of their age group. They delight in seeing the bewilderment on our faces. But both groups are essential and colourful parts of our life and I don’t think we could do without them. Vive les generations!

— Honky Tonk Woman