The Aging Process

by Andy Hanauer | 11/12/01 6:00am

I'd like to tell you about an epiphany I had last weekend while eating rice pilaf at the Hop; I believe it has changed my life (the epiphany, not the rice pilaf). See, I was minding my own business, eating my dinner, when I noticed a guy in an Abercrombie and Fitch sweater drop the entire contents of his tray into the "Plastic and Trash" container, without sorting out the food and paper! All the while he was talking to a girl who looked like she was probably in the Abercrombie catalogue about a pong game he had played three weeks ago.

Perhaps I am exaggerating for effect, and perhaps I just made up that story, but let me simply explain my epiphany. Recently I've noticed that a lot of people at Dartmouth annoy me, and suddenly it became clear: I'm becoming an old person! I knew this was going to happen one day, but it sure seems a bit soon. Worst of all, I can't control it. I'll walk outside of my dorm having resolved not to be annoyed by those Dartmouth whippersnappers, and then I'll take two steps and nearly get run over by a girl on a bike drinking a latte and reading an Anthropology textbook and I'll lose it. "Watch where you're going, young lady!" I'll yell, waving the walking stick that I kept from my D.O.C. trip freshman year. Yes, I'm getting old.

Yet, I still find it difficult to blame myself for this transformation. After all, let's be honest, Dartmouth students do some really annoying things. How about saying "wicked sketchy" for starters. Is that English? When I was a kid, we said normal things like "hella scandalous" and "hella cool." Our vocabulary was limited, but at least it made sense.

But lingo aside, Dartmouth students really get on my nerves. I can't walk near the Hinman boxes without having to squeeze by clusters of students reading their mail together in that little alleyway near the exit. Since when did reading one's mail become a group activity? And what is so exciting about the mail anyway? Most of it isn't even addressed to you, sonny. It's addressed either "Dear '04" or "Dear Emily Fenwick," who was the girl who had your Hinman box before she graduated. Well, actually she had my Hinman box, but that's not important. All that matters is that I get her Newsweek subscription for free.

And then I go to get food, and one look at the lines nearly causes my bifocals to fall off. Listen up, '05s: you don't all have to eat at Food Court at 6:30! Eat later! Eat sooner! Don't eat! I really don't give a hoot, as long as I can get my tapioca pudding without having to wait 15 minutes. And even if I get my food, I can't get any water at Food Court because there's always someone ahead of me filling up three different glasses and a Nalgene bottle. What are you, a thru-hiker? This isn't the Sahara desert, and you aren't a fish; fill up your glass and move along!

You see what I mean? I'm getting so worked up just writing this that I have to take a break and take my medicine. (A "chill pill" is what I believe you young people call it.) Besides, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of things that irk me at this filthy, green campus. How about when I'm crossing the street and some big fraternity brothers come driving along in their truck with their Massachusetts license plate playing that hip-hop music and speeding past me without regard for my safety? Apparently they are attempting to compensate for the rest of the driving population of New Hampshire, many of whom are probably afraid of their own shadow. Then again, considering the number of New Hampshire pedestrians who are packing heat, I don't blame them.

But when I get in my '94 Buick, my frustration with the younger generation reaches its apex. See, I don't mind stopping for pedestrians when necessary, but please, for the love of God, walk faster! Is it truly that difficult to increase the velocity of one's feet? I would think that after drinking all that water at Food Court, Dartmouth students would be running to the bathroom and not walking as if the crosswalk was made of newborn babies. Gee whiz.

Yep, I'm getting old, and I'm getting old fast. I even just got a bumper sticker (no lie) that reads: "When seniors vote, everybody wins." I'm even thinking of joining the Franconia Region Old-people's Group (FROG). I hear they have bingo every Friday night, which beats going to a smelly house and having someone throw up (no, not "boot") all over me. That's supposed to be fun? If I wanted to have someone vomit on me, I'd take my grandson to Disneyland and go on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It is a shame that the creativity of a college full of bright youngsters is reduced each weekend to a mindless inebriation festival. Or, to quote the film "Planet of the Apes," "Alas, it is true that youth is wasted on the young." I couldn't have said it better myself, ape boy.

Now, if you will excuse me, "Matlock" is on.