Disgruntled passage: the rebellion of youth

FTLComm, Tisdale - Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - by: Timothy W. Shire

of adulthood

Every one of us has to pass through that stage of life when our parents and all adults are simply "too much." The phrase that describes the out of synch experience varies with each and every generation but it is a universal event in the life of all people. Childhood is definitely in the past, the responsibilities of adulthood loom in the immediate future and everything seems to be crushing in on the awareness of self and the confusion of what everyone else is about.




This morning my peaceful existence was jolted to immediate awareness as the low pitch pounding blast of percussion from a car stereo melted the walls in my house, every room was burping relentless sound. This is not something I relish or enjoy as I have hearing loss and miss telephone calls, door bells and conversation, but the heavy low pitch decibels of that car stereo punctuated they place like artillery fire. I thought the sound would go away, it usually does, a loud car will pass down the street whacking its way through the neighbourhood but this did not happen. I soon discovered that the car was parked in a neighbour's driveway. The owner had left it running with the stereo thudding and gone into a house. For more than ten minutes earthquake shattering shock waves radiated through glass, insulation, drywall, trees and fences.



in the

We have all heard these sounds before and there was nothing specific about this event. I was soon on my way, dressed for my morning outing downtown for the mail and all the while the sound, well actually the vibration continued. I walked over that way to see just what was the source and the little empty Pontiac sat there quivering, exhaust pouring from its tailpipe and dynamite going off in its trunk. I took a couple of shots thinking how ironic it was to photograph something making that much noise then set about my business and made my way down town.




I did get a glimpse of the owner, a blond girl, perhaps mid twenties sucking on a cigarette as she drove her still firing howitzer down the street. Clearly, I needed to think this issue over. What was going on?




I combed my hair into an Elvis Prestley duck tail complete with sideburns, wore a trucker wallet with a chain and painted my bicycle pink. It seemed that everything I wanted to do was exactly the opposite of what my parents wanted me to do and I celebrated that part of my life as being bloody disagreeable. For me it was a relatively short period of time (well that's what I thought, many feel I'm still not over it) as a maturing and what I thought to be, a sophisticated college student at eighteen, my rebellion appeared to be over. Well, at least with my parents.




As I think about that phase change in the context of when it happened which was equally confusing. I was in college in the fall of 1962 with what seemed like thousands of other kids, there were to many of us to fit in the old Regina College building and some of my classes were in some old abandoned world war two buildings roughly where the Regina CBC building is now located. Daily protest marches, flower-power, hippy craze these were turbulent and almost revolutionary times. I was studying opera part time and wondering if becoming a lawyer was a good decision. In the end, my father couldn't afford my career in opera and I decided that presiding over an endless procession of divorces and will disputes was not what I had been put on this planet to achieve.



the loss
of childhood

As I watched that young woman drive by and the pounding sounds in the car must be her means to telling the world and perhaps herself, that this is her personal protest movement. For the most part, we all grow up, some faster than others. There are some people who adopt a permanent teenage mentality, for reasons that are poorly understood, they do not make the transition from child to adult, but advance to the pre-adulthood stage and remain there unable to move onward and of course forever regretting that they no longer are a child.



to advance

Music is the most direct access we have to emotionality, a conduit that lets feelings of others in and our own feelings out. Surprisingly, those feelings need not be out own but we can empathise with others and their pain, or joy without difficulty. This oddity of music needs to be explored because it might help us understand the way things work or sometimes fail to work. The first, or primary form of music is the drum, as all of us advance through life the music with repetitive rhythm is the first we latch onto, but everyone should move from AC-DC and move up the ladder of sophistication. When you see someone stuck in the head banger stage you should immediately recognise that they are having trouble in life, they are unable to make the adaptations that come with growing up.



to annoy

Playing music loud in a car is today's form or radicalism. The interesting thing about this process is that the length of the sound waves exceed the size of the car's interior and those very low pitched sounds that thunder from a car are not audible inside the car. The vibrations are there, but the actual sound can only occur outside the car, so the the noisy rebellious youth, tells everyone else his or her feelings, but inside the vehicle only the higher pitches are audible. The noisy car is designed only to annoy everyone else.




The importance of all this is that we have to be acutely aware of the process of growing up. Each of us has made the journey and knows full well that the young person is really yelling at the top of his or her lungs to be noticed and accommodated. Each individual wants to be accepted, yet needs rejection to develop self awareness. I often wonder when we politely ignore the obnoxious, knowing that if we ignore bad behaviour it will go away, perhaps we are being even nastier, because that noise is just crying out to be censored.




Being able to grow up safely, being able to acceptably demonstrate your rebellion is so much a part of normal life. About one in ten people will not be able to make the transition from child to adult in synch with their peers, but will see themselves experiencing antisocial behaviour well into their late twenties. "Don't trust anyone over thirty." Is a useful phrase because it is the upper time that one should expect adolescence to be still in affect. David Letterman is the perpetual teenager and it is his perceptual genius to realise that the things we all do are funny and the teenager can see that humour, so he exploits these foibles and entertains us in the process.



and love

For now we have to let the maturation process take its time since the progress one makes is definitely not something anyone can change or augment. Support and continued unconditional love will be the best treatment for the person suffering from delayed maturity.



Timothy W. Shire



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