Thursday, January 18, 2007

Building a tolerace for fruitloops

I don’t think there exists a parent who has ever stood civilly in line at the grocery store who has not (at least) once sworn to abandon some obnoxious, not nearly as smart as he thinks he is, back-talking, self-conscious, can’t plan beyond lunch teenager while at the same time buying Fruitloops. Kick that lazy butt to the curb. Give up on the greedy, destructive self-centeredness. Why parents don’t give into these impulses is a mystery born less out of nobility than resign and exhaustion.

I think, the more one travels to visit the bedrocks of more established societies in places like Europe, China, Japan and the Middle East, one becomes more acutely aware that the USA is very much an adolescent society. We just can’t seem to get control of ourselves, voraciously hungry for more, more, more with no trained eye for where, where, where or how, how, how. Doesn’t matter. The world and its resources were made to serve us. We want what we want and we want it now. America is a spoiled brat that taunts anyone who is different than the Barbie Doll, G.I. Joe, J.D.Rockefeller ideals put in our heads as children.

When I was in treatment for my mother’s alcoholism, the woman who ran the center (whose initials were G.O.D. iconic-ally enough) said that “maturity is being able to accept that everyone is not like you.” In the U.S., we just aren’t there yet. And all these suspicions the collective harbors toward “others” appears to give us a justifiable excuse to bully them, warped as only the adolescent mind can twist reality, free of empathy and consequences. Here we too often see things in strictly black or white, not standing still long enough to see the truth hiding in the dusky shadows between.

But as the myths of adolescence prove to be untrue, so does the myth of “aged to perfection.” Forget it. Older societies are also imperfect. Why? Because they are made up of human beings who are in every way flawed. I have a line in a poem about adolescence that moans, “no one told us, who would settle, who would fly, and who, (and who?) would melt.” As a grandmother I still have not outgrown being annoyed by the fact that NO ONE TELLS US HOW THIS WILL ALL TURN OUT. Not at 15, 25, 35, 45, 55. How maddening is that? No wonder there’s road rage.

Way back when in ‘67, I thought I’d know by now. Surely, by 2007 I’d know. But I don’t. I don’t know which person or country will settle, fly or melt and to borrow from a more recognized and certainly more mature but no less self-centered poet, “it goads me like the goblin bee who will not state its sting.”

Ultimately, all we have is one another. Adolescents are obsessed with appearances; caught sitting next to the wrong person at lunch would be a horror worthy of an internal if not external chain saw massacre. Her table (team, gang, clique, school, town, nation) is the best and it is infuriating that the others exist at all and for SURE she can’t be caught associating with THEM.

But as we mature, knowing that there are other people and other ways doesn’t make us so angry. In fact, it’s pretty cool to travel independently and look through windows tasting of the nourishments prepared by others and then bringing home samples to share, clustered where we are most comfortable, with the ones we hold dear.

11 comments:

Tina J. said...

Hey Sara,
You are comming to our school tomorrow 1/23/07 and I hope to see you then
Tina

~laurian haha bet u cant pronounce that on the first try~ said...

hey sara
well i just wanted to let u know that u r visitin my school tomorrow [[at white knoll middle school]] my name is well none ya but u will find out when it says who wrote this bcuz i will put my name...i am babbling arnt i??
well peace out little kid book writer...!!

sara holbrook said...

Looking forward to my visit! I'm packing and leave for the airport in a couple of hours. See you soon!

Anonymous said...

hey sara...
my name is lauren and i wanted to say that your coming to my school tomorrow and i cant wait to see you i love your books too.
♥lauren

Anonymous said...

yo wat it is and waz up?

Anonymous said...

Hi im gary and im the coolest person in wkms

Anonymous said...

true dat u a good auther

Anonymous said...

hey Sara, I love your poems they are great. you are a great poemist.

Anonymous said...

yo whats up you are coming to my school tommorow!you seem pretty down to earth!i looking forward to seeing you tommorow!that person who said your children were ugly is disrespecful even if i didnt spell it right i really dont care i mean what i say! your freind ebh

Anonymous said...

hi sara!!! my name is sarah also, except i spell my name with an H [:
im soooooooo excited to see you tomorrow. i think it will be alot of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have read some of your poems and i really like them! [: ♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣aishiteru!!!!♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣♦♥♠♣

Anonymous said...

cmen i love your poems and barney but thats a different story. have you ever seen mission impposible 3 it was cool well goodbye


love
cmen,

p.s. go barney