Recently I had friends convince me to attend a concert. Not a concert for a headline act, and not a concert from a group I listen to. Really, it wasn’t even a concert, but a show. For a cover band. A Sublime cover band.
I’m not sure why I agreed either. But the fullness of my ineptitude came over me just prior to leaving for the show, when my wife looked at the tickets and noted that it was for “16 and up with I.D.”
In my mind I saw a dingy bar converted into a concert hall with the addition of a stage and some house lights. And of course, teenagers everywhere. I couldn’t have been more correct.
We pulled into the parking lot, the noise–not music–of the opening act playing and I noticed the line of teens. I was surprised that such a band would draw a crowd large enough to necessitate a line. Then I saw the pat-downs in process.
My wife and I joined the queue and watched phones examined, wallets opened, bags turned out, handbags rifled through and pockets and waistbands patted and searched. I know the guards were looking for drugs and alcohol, possibly weapons. I’m not that thick. Yet I simply was not prepared, or had forgotten this part of being a teen. The mistrust.
Now, as an adult, I see the invasion as necessary. As a teen I don’t think I did. Neither did the kids around us, complaining to deaf ears about their personal property. I was taken aback, because this is part of the teen experience I haven’t really touched on. And it’s not just shows where this invasion occurs. Teens are scrutinized on field trips, traveling with teams or clubs, at any event where they will not be under a watchful eye 100% of the time. This was true to a degree when I was a teen, but not to this extreme. It’s a point I’ve been mulling ever since.
As is the condition our security guard found my wife and I in.
She had to explain my glucose meter and inhaler, as well as her prescription antacids. I needed to verify that what was attached to my hip was, indeed, just an insulin pump.
Once through and inside, we met our friends and tried to blend with the crowd. We were not the eldest, but I certainly felt old. But at the same time I was glad to be forced into an element and situation my characters may inhabit, because for all my time with teens in a school setting, I hadn’t felt this, hadn’t understood it.
It was unnerving, and is nothing that antacids or an inhaler can cure.