John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Get off my lawn

Earlier today I received notification of a spam comment on an entry from 2005, an art post depicting a Chinese ink box from the collection of the Portland Museum of Art. When I went to delete the spam, I saw that the entry posed a question about a certain YA novel set in Portland I had read some years earlier. That had the effect of reminding me that I had eventually tracked down the novel in question on Google Books, so I set to work on a post that answered the question, as if anyone other than me had ever cared. I had gotten as far as explaining how I had looked it up on Google Books, when suddenly I was struck with a certain sense of déjà vu. I pulled up my database of LiveJournal posts, did a search on the title of the book, and sure enough, I had already posted an entry very much like the one I was in the middle of writing, back in 2010. That's the problem with having maintained this journal for so long, and with growing older in general: not only do you tend to start repeating yourself, you don't even notice yourself doing it.

Speaking of growing older, events have recently conspired to make me keenly aware of my advancing age. My oldest nephew, whom I clearly remember visiting in the hospital the day after he was born, turned 17 ten days ago. And today, my niece Libby turned eleven; that's not so bad in and of itself, but it reminded me that on the day she was born, I picked up her older sister, Hannah, from school and baby-sat her until her folks got home with the new baby. That older niece was five at the time; now, of course, she's 16, and has just returned from a trip to New Orleans for a college visit to Tulane. And for whatever reason, the change from kindergartner to almost-college-student strikes me as a much more dramatic change than from infant to fifth-grader, and makes me even more keenly aware of the passage of time.

But nothing makes me feel older more regularly and more keenly than hanging out on Twitter. A great many of the people I follow and regularly interact with over there are considerably younger than me—in some cases, as much as twenty years younger. And they're all the time talking about things they remember from their childhoods—TV shows, songs, movies—that I remember from my late twenties and early thirties. The other day, jennynoname said she was having trouble accepting that she would soon be turning 23. misssara11 replied, "you younguns' are so cute," as if she herself were not a wee babe in arms. Actually, she's not really that much younger than me, just ten years, but I learned of our exact age difference when she observed that westwingwolf and lapacifidora were younger when Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air than she had been when it premiered: 18. So now she's fixed in my head as someone who was still in high school when I was six years out of college. That whole Buffy conversation Buffy prompted this calm and reasoned response:


The thing that really freaks me out is that since Internet fandom tends to attract younger fans, there will come a point, not too very many years from now, when I will have been involved in online fandom longer than some of my fellow fans have been alive. I know there are people who fall into that category right now—fox1013 was only 16 when I met her, I think—but as yet I am not personally acquainted with them. (My corner of Community fandom doesn't seems to have attracted many younger teens, for some reason.) But I know it's coming, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Tags: omphaloskepsis, reading: books, social media: lj, social media: twitter

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