There’s a rap song that I heard on the radio recently, hopefully not on my new favorite Disney station, which chants something along the line of… “You don’t know where your daughter is…she’s in the backseat of my car…smoking…” Then comes the rapper’s unmistakable long inhale of what we know cannot possibly be a Marlboro.
Can our kid’s music actually get any worse than this?
So let me begin at the beginning. We were at the mall. I was looking for column ideas. It wasn’t hard to put it together when I saw a nubile youth slip out of the backseat of a fast car when it braked suddenly in front of T.G.I. Friday. I’ll give her date credit: He did get out of the front seat to let her, and a billow of sweet-smelling smoke out of the back seat before riding off into the SCV sunset.
I watched her slow dissent for a moment; my attention was called away by the muffled whispers and stares from the other high-school aged witnesses. “I know that guy…why is he…she looks…”. Anyhoo, it didn’t take me long to insert the blanks and wonder how close she had cut the time between when she was dropped off at the mall by her boyfriend and when she had arranged for her parents to pick her up. It only took just another moment to surmise that I could be completely daft. But that would make everyone else’s assumptions around me the like.
I then recalled that a few weeks ago, when the family was heading back from our weekend in Redondo Beach, we stopped off at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. It took five minutes before I was asked for change as usual. Although this was the first time that I was queried by a teenager in clean designer clothing. Again, the people around me were voicing the same thoughts that had run gamut through my mind. The one directed to me was, “What kind of trouble do you think she got into at home?”
So now let’s get back to Town Center right here in Valencia. After witnessing that exchange and before I even entered the mall I passed a minimum of six scantily clad, Saugus dance team not-with-standing, young women. Dresses thats long stitches proved to be hemmed by hand, shorter than any designer’s intent, crossed my path. Ed had no comment. Too busy saving mental notes I gathered. At that point I did say something, in a stage whisper, “I must have missed the memo that it was ‘short skirt night’ tonight”.
That’s when a young women, approximately the same age as those around me said, “Don’t worry, I miss that memo all the time. It’s just this neighborhood. YOU’LL GET USED TO IT.” Please, don’t bag on me for using poetic license here, I swear those were her words. I was left feeling that she was incredibly bright. I wanted her for a daughter. And wondered how damn right she was. If nothing else it was a distinct, voiced, premonition of my future fears.
I turned a blind eye to the bellies hanging over the low-rise jeans that even my sixteen-year-old nephew admits not finding in the least bit attractive. I can get by without making a derogative comment when I find it difficult to understand ANYONE wearing a tongue ring. But the future of SCV hanging in the balance? I simply cannot JUST DO IT!
On the other hand, I know that there are lovely teenaged girls, like the one I met at the mall that aren’t buying into peer pressure. To mention a few others that I am including but not limited too: neighbors Heather and Janelle (future babysitters), dance, swim, soccer and basketball players (Keep those kids in team sports!), babysitters at Santa Clarita Health Club and all of the young ladies at Sunshine. I am betting that they are all “towing the right line”. Then again, maybe I am just making a futile attempt to cover all of my bases here.
When I was a disco queen many moons ago there were many songs that I loved to dance to that I had no clue what the heck was being said. I remember Eddie enlightening me to what a song about the “white line…” meant. He thought it funny that so many of us just danced to these songs without listening to the words. I can only hope that our children are just as dense.
But then I can only hope that they are not. Not clueless enough to not realize that what they wear and where they park their derrieres matters. It all matters. Just hopefully they will realize it before they end up panhandling in a city not their own.