I sit in the student commons, listening to snippets of conversation as they float to my ears unfiltered, tuning each voice in and out like so many static-filled radio stations. It’s gonna go 60 no matter what you do… I’m hungry… Julian! Take these… Somewhere a password… The vocal jumble combines with musical noise coming from the overhead speakers, lyrics indecipherable, muted sound against the backtrack of the baristas’ continual steaming.
“How does anyone think like this?” wars with “Was I ever that young?” for contemplative space in my head, and I am struck by the wealth of contradiction and the poverty of critical thinking in this room.
And I realize…
I am – I have become – a snob.
A life experience snob. An intellectual snob. A snob of independence, one of the “older” set, a My-life-was-much-different-at-your-age (meaning, of course, that my challenges were greater, that I worked harder, that somehow being part of a past generation makes me better/different/MORE ~ more knowledgable, more realistic, more invested, more in tune with The Important Things, mo’ bettah) snob.
The aging intellectual.
At least I’ve got the aging part right.
And what the hell do I know?
Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
So maybe this snobbery is envy in disguise. Because, as I look at these baby faces surrounding me, and the self-assured smugness on their countenances, I wonder what it must be like to be young, to be carefree, and to know everything.
I never was, and I never did.