Why Does a High School Kid Cross the Road?One of my morning duties is taking the Poobette to school. It's a big school and there are kids converging on the place like ants drawn to a picnic. Some have blue hair, many have enough piercings to make them whistle in a stiff breeze, and all are completely oblivious to the world around them.
Now this isn't unusual. Kids have been oblivious since Pebbles asked to borrow Fred's Rockmobile. They have heads full of who's dating whom, how they're going to scam money to buy that hot car they have their eyes on, or what's going to happen when they get to class and have to explain Fido ate the homework...again.
I know these kids are clueless not from their clothes or rolling carnival boom box cars. I know they're clueless because they don't know how to cross the street.
Apparently, teaching kids how to cross the street is much like the lost art of writing letters longhand (and with standard spelling and punctuation). Or, maybe it's medical. Doctors say adolescents can't do things like clean their rooms and do the dishes because their immature brains aren't up to the massive intuitive power needed for those technologically challenging tasks. With my 50 years of experience - much of it in actual street crossing which I list on my resume immediately after door key operation - it seems pretty easy. Ergo it must be well-nigh impossible for your average teenager.
In the two years I've hauled the Poobette to school, not a single kid has stopped and looked one way, much less two, before crossing the street. They walk blithely along, jingling with piercings, and towing the solar system in their wake like any center of the universe would. The screeching tires and blaring horns don't alarm them. Their ears are bleeding from frequent encounters with their ear-splitting iPods. I can understand. It's hard to hear through that much blood. Some even stop mid-crosswalk to take that cell phone call that just couldn't wait until they reached the other side of the street. Others stop to tie their shoes, and we all know how hard it is to re-lace that 86 eyelet pair of Doc Martens Black Leather, Platform Heel, Nazi-Style Hiking Boots.
Why does a high school kid cross the road? Why to piss off adults, that's why.
And it works.
However, I had quite the revelation this morning. What if the problem isn't the teenagers' inability to cross the street without causing a 27-car pile up? What if the problem is that adults don't understand that people will act like that when they believe the sun rises and sets only over their acne-pocked dominions?
Look at the Adolescent-in-Chief. He repeatedly does dangerous and stupid things and we all wonder what the hell's up with him.
I've never seen him try to cross a street, but I have seen him choke on pretzels, crash his bike, and fall off a Segway. What if it turned out that all along it was just because his brain never advanced past what it was back at Crawford High? What if he's just a teenager - a particularly slow and geeky teenager - who can't use his brain for those higher order tasks like figuring out which door to use when you're on a diplomatic trip to China?
Well duh! I finally understand. I guess the problem has been me all along.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, May 08, 2006