They were old and on a plane leaving Texas: A perfect place to reminisce about “the good old days” playing in creeks, eating too many things that were fried, walking down sidewalks without being afraid, and generally not having to talk about anybody named “Barack Obama.”
In retrospect, things were perfect back then, and they lamented the present day for being too complicated, too amoral, and too disconnected.
I spent my time in the airplane terminal sitting behind them, not knowing I’d also be sitting behind them on the flight. I wasn’t looking while we waited, but it was obvious that they were getting directions from a young’n about how to use their cell phone. A theme that seems to be common in airports. Or, really, in any place that old people come into contact with young people en masse.
The irony of the situation, of course, is their willingness to interact with the technology that’s ultimately responsible for their (perceived) Great Country’s demise. I mean, why engage with the very thing that enables new ideas, cultures, and thoughts to permeate yours? Dumb.
Anyway, back to the creek: I think they have a right to reminisce about this. The creek is was probably where they tried their first beer. Where they had their first sexual encounter. Where they found God. All of the above. Whatever the case, their parents didn’t know — nor did they care (unless word got back to them) — where they were as long as they were home by supper. Perceived safety.
In contrast, of course, is my generation. We can have our first sexual encounter, or find God without leaving the couch. We are always a few clicks away from “experiencing” whatever we want to experience. And, thanks to this, our parents always know where we are. But, really, they have no idea where we’ve been. Perceived control.
Problem is (and this is where I’d completely agree with these folks) that my generation is going to have a hard time actually experiencing things because it’s so easy to synthesize any given experience. Don’t go to the creek, play Creekville on Facebook. Don’t take a girl down to the creek, video chat. Don’t join a church, watch a podcast. We get “what we want” without the effort.
Of course, the couple on the plane was lamenting technology and liberalism for moral reasons — not practical ones. They despise my generation’s “loss of innocence.” Though, if what I’ve read on the Internet is true, the only difference between my generation and theirs is that we sin out in the open.
They sinned in private.