Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rebellions, Mid-Life and Otherwise

Over at Sandy's blog, she's writing about her draft-a-day project. Her postings make me want to write, especially when I'm at work with hours to go before the end of office hours.

Yesterday, feeling rebellious, I started writing at the office. Nothing makes the phones ring faster, the students come searching for someone or something, the forces of chaos assemble faster than me starting a poem. I try not to be superstitious.

I've been thinking about rebellion lately. We've been under strict orders not to do any streaming from the Internet at work. We're using too much bandwidth. Rather than restrict students, some of us have found access to our favorite websites cut off. Not the streaming capacity cut off, but no access to the website at all.

So, I can't access the Diane Rehm show but I can still stream videos from YouTube. Really? Which uses more bandwidth?

On the day I found my access to certain NPR sites restricted, I spent the afternoon streaming from YouTube. Sure, it was juvenile. Not much in the way of rebellion. But it made me feel better.

I streamed old punk videos, yes I did. Yes, I'm that woman, who sits in her office watching 25 year old vintage video of the Violent Femmes. I recognize the pathetic aspects of this portrait.

I'm sure my 70 year old self will shake her head with bemusement at the memory of this mid-life rebellion. I think back to high school days and shake my own head over youthful rebellion and the adult response to it.

I seem to recall that boys who wore eyeliner at school could get suspended or expelled. You may read that sentence and assume that I went to a school with a lot of self-assured gay boys, but it was the punk rockers who wanted to experiment with girl's make-up. No one else would have dared to have been that transgressive. I seem to recall that the Knoxville school board spent a lot of time discussing what should be done with boys who pierced their ears. And back then, it would have been just one ear.

Now students pierce parts of themselves that would have been unthinkable when I was in high school. Back in the early days of the Reagan administration, that kind of behavior would have gotten you sent away to a mental asylum (and yes, some people still used that term in the early 80's).

Now we have students who put rods and spikes through their faces but are grossed out by a bit of baby vomit (according to reports from colleagues of mine). Most intriguing.

Ah, transgressiveness and gender. I could write about this topic all day. But I must get to spin class and then on to the office, where I will slam dance with the copy machine and let the computer croon to me in the punk songs of my past. I shall remind myself of why I am too old to take scissors to my hair. I will eye the safety pins, but my fear of needles and sharp edges will keep me safe from that particular rebellion.

Maybe I'll just write a poem in the early hours, before the drama starts.


Sherry O'Keefe said...

enjoying your blog.

this reminds me of a friend who took her aging mother to hawaii. they shared a hotel room for a week. she understood her mother had so few choices left in her life, which was why her mother called the shots on when the lights were to be turned off each night. there was a bit of rebellion in her mother- my gosh, she would wait until everyone was settled in bed with all the lights on before she would say "ok, now you can turn the lights off." rebellion sparks us and nutures us. finding the balance is the trick.

Kristin said...

Thanks for that story and thanks for reading and commenting.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the mention, Kristin. One consequence of drafting every day is that my blog reading has slowed down. Sorry to be late replying to this post!

Loved the trip down memory lane. I think the Waterloo School Board had a lot of the same conversations as yours.