JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

Sometimes kids are just being kids (Part 1)

It's interesting being ten years removed from any semblance of adolescence. As I near 30, I have to admit that sometimes, it bugs me that teenagers...bug me so much. I've become one of the "grown-ups," one of the onlookers who only see dunce caps whenever teens are around. I even whisper to myself sometimes, "these ignorant ass little..." But, as usual, life has a way of slapping me around, and teaching me some valuable lessons in humility, and fairness.

I was on the A train heading uptown. When I got on, there were five young boys, all sitting down. One happened to be sitting next to an old latina woman, reading scripture. He was the joker of the bunch, of course. He blew the old lady kisses, and pretended he was making out with her, and at one point even put his arm around her. The whole time, all of his cronies are laughing hysterically, but the elder woman never flinches. She pretends he doesn't exist. She's probably nervous, and a bit annoyed, but the New York City thing to do, is pretend to disappear.

Now, I'm seeing all this go down. The egging on. The teasing. And all the "grown-ups" around me see it too, and are clearly just as agitated, but wont say a word to any of the kids (which is another problem, I admit.) You could almost see all of us adults writing them off as ignorant.

And then life pulls out its pimp hand.

An old man begging for change comes on to the train. He gives his spiel about how he needs money for his wife and child, and if anyone has any change or food, yadda yadda yadda. Needless to say, I wrote him off too. New York City.

I watched, waiting for the kids to start joking, tearing him apart, snap for snap.

But they didn't. They actually listened. No smiles. No giggles. No jokes.

Then, the one who was sitting next to the old lady, dug into his pocket and pulled out a dollar. All of his boys did the same, dropping their crumbled bills into his cup. I was secretly embarrassed, ashamed of myself.

Have I forgotten that I was once a teenager, cursing loudly on the train? That was me. Was I ignorant, though? Well...no. I wasn't. I was 16, and ultimately a good kid.Just immature.

There is definitely a difference, and they, like us, deserve for that differentiation to be made.