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You know you’re old when…

February 2, 2012

…the writing of Helen Fielding ceases to be merely mildly amusing pulp and becomes relatable. I’m officially getting old. Properly grown-up, not fake studenty grown-up, despite the fact that I live with my parents. That’s borderline socially acceptable anyway because I did move out for 6 years and I only came back to save up for the impending adventure. At least that’s what I tell myself. You begin to be old when people who deliver pizzas are systematically younger than you.  Anyway; what got me pondering particularly about the perils of discovering yourself to be closer to 30 than 20 is the fact that i-to-i (the company that’s organising my Thai teaching internship) has set up an online forum for everyone to chat on; share excitement, anxieties, TEFL tips, that sort of jazz. This has now expanded into a facebook group, which is obviously a thinly-veiled opportunity to stalk and judge your new ready-made friendship group before getting to meet them face-to-face. What I have discovered from this is that I am definitely the Grandma of the group. The rest are shiny new graduates; as yet not embittered by dead-end jobs, student loan repayments and council tax.

There are certain elements of social history that my precise age-range was amongst the very last to enjoy due to the phenomenally rapid rise of mobile phones, iTunes and the internet which happened in the latter half of my teens to early 20s. I remember the days when if you wanted to speak to a friend, or even worse, a boy, you had to pick up your landline phone (preferably when your parents weren’t around) and call their parents, whilst all the while fiddling nervously with the curly wire which you would always eventually manage to kink and then get in trouble for. You’d then have to be super-polite whilst you ask to speak to your friend, or worse, you think it is your friend and say something like “whaaaaasssupppp mother-fucker!” only to find out it is actually their parent, older sibling etcetera. Teenagers today don’t know how lucky they are getting to side-step all that. There is also of course the curve-ball; that one friend known universally as Jonesey or Hampster or Bug or whatever the hell else it might be, and its only whilst their mother is politely asking who you’d like to speak to down the Bakelite that you realise you have absolutely no idea what their real name is. Then you finally do get to speak to your friend only to have your dad pick up the phone in another room and start bashing buttons and saying “hello? hello?” confusedly into your conversation until you have to bellow furiously out the door. It all sounds so archaic now; like when your parents talk about shillings and how scary the first ever Doctor Who was. Even though it really wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things the other interns will probably have dodged that, hell their parents probably don’t even talk about shillings and Morris Minors either.

The first single I ever bought (I’m too ashamed to tell you what it was) was on cassette tape from Woolworths and cost 99p. That right there was a historical sentence for the grandkids; “what’s 99p grandma?” Making a playlist consisted of spending hours on a Sunday afternoon listening to Mark Goodier playing the week’s top-40 and pressing play+record at the exact right moment on a tape recorder the size of a breeze block until it got snagged up and you had to get a pencil to wind it all back in again. Me being the grandma of the group is also highlighted by the fact that I’ve reached an age where I hate pretty much any music that a teenager of now might like. My childhood sounded like Seal, Garbage and Ace of Base; it’s just wrong that someone born in 1994 can legally drink. Urgh.

Anyway, rant over. 85 sleeps!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 12:10 am

    Amazing read lol! My mum always bangs on about the first Dr Who. Always. What the HECK was your first cassette? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours hahahaha x

    • February 3, 2012 12:17 am

      haha, ok, I’d just like to reiterate that I’m really not proud of this! It is, *gulp*, Aqua’s Barbiegirl. Oh yeah, I went there. Now tell me that’s not the most shaming first single ever! xx

  2. February 3, 2012 12:33 pm

    Well, that was certainly an entertaining read.
    Don’t worry though, aging comes to us all and it never gets any better. You have not really got to the I used to be able to do that stage.
    Perhaps your fellow interns will see you as the wise old elder. A source of knowledge and experience. However, given our culture they probably won’t. Just enjoy your youth whilst you have got it.
    Don’t forget that Jean said the 30s were the best years and I probably agree with her, so you have still got great times ahead! I wonder if you might take the advice of an ancient. Maybe not. It’s a cultural thing.

  3. Paul Spencer permalink
    February 6, 2012 1:08 pm

    Hi Eira,

    Kerry keeps talking about getting older these days and I’m a couple of years older than her! It’s silly really when we’re still in our 20s. I think there’s just this culture shock when one grows up a little and realises they have to work and the 9-5 routine kicks in.

    I think my first cassette tape was a rave compilation – I can be proud of that one! However, first CD was Apollo 440’s Lost in Space, not so cool.

    It’s great that you’ll be leaving posts here whilst you’re away. It will be nice to hear what fun you’re having whilst I’m busy working and studying in the UK.


    • February 7, 2012 6:31 pm

      I loved that Apollo 440 song! Much less shameful than Barbie-girl anyway. Is it mildly redeeming that the first album I bought was Aerosmith’s Young Lust? Or not much…

  4. lovelizard permalink
    February 7, 2012 12:52 pm

    Getting older is a scary notion. Emily is having to go through a similar situation, she’s two weeks younger than you and back at uni surrounded by 18 and 19 year olds.

    Recently I told her that Bill and Ted are coming back for a third movie. She passed this info on to her class mates who just looked confused until one of them said, ‘what, the flower pot men?’

    Doesn’t that just make you die a little inside.

    I had to bite my lip when a young man at a festival took a look at my thundercats tshirt yelled, “Thunderbirds, yeah!” in place of “Thundercats, HO!” What do they teach in schools these days. In other news, the shirt itself is now bloody nearly a decade old.

    The important thing to remember is that these kids might not know all they should about 80s and 90s pop culture, they may well be a lot more clued up in terms of technology and whatnot.. but the IMPORTANT thing is that they can’t drink for shit.


    A life time of healthy living propaganda (washed down with turkey twislers and a coke) has led to a generation of kids that genuinely don’t know how to party. Us 90s kids will always have that on them.

    (caution, this could just be drama students)

    • February 7, 2012 6:36 pm

      Flower-Pot Men!!! I’m outraged! Also slightly worried as I spent the day making posters for the student union housing fair today which featured The Young Ones – will the nippers get my reference or will I have to spend the whole day scowling and explaining tomorrow?

      And they don’t know how to party, 90s kids rock – not just the luvvies. 🙂

    • Eggs permalink
      February 8, 2012 2:32 pm

      You did not tell me about Bill & Ted! The radio did! You are not fulfilling your title of Unhealthy Bill & Ted Obsessive that Never Moved On. x

      But he’s right, they are all ignorant, spoilt brats who listen to terrible music and don’t know how to drink.

      At least if your munchkins are traveling, there is hope that they’ll at least be aware of the world around them. The lot I’m stuck with had no idea that Chilean miners were trapped underground for weeks. Or where the National Theatre is, despite being theatre students living in halls just a short walk away.

      My advice is to develop a tolerance to Glee and always carry lots of Haribo.

      • February 8, 2012 6:06 pm

        I know where the National Theatre is and I’m not a luvvie and I live in ‘Ampshire! Disgraceful.

        I am upset though – I went to Winchester SU housing fair today (in my City Council 9-5 guise) with my lovely posters (scenes from the Young Ones with captions like “Student Housing – it doesn’t have to be this way!”) and none of them understood at all. It was really depressing. Stupid yoofs. You can tell they’re easily led because my Young Ones stall didn’t get a fraction of the attention that the other ones got because I wasn’t giving out free Mars bars and bottle openers. Its a funny old world when you have to bribe people to help themselves!

      • Eggs permalink
        February 8, 2012 6:16 pm

        I know! Bloody depressing isn’t it? What a difference six years makes. Clearly they started putting something in the water after or year of incredibly cultured, driven babies.

        I also see you’re looking to sofa surf. You should try Servas. You have to register and be vetted and stuff, but at least you, (the other Morgan-Joneses) might feel you’re a bit safer if hosts have to pass a test. It may also just offer you more sofa options and keep you in coinage longer.

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