I have been feeling good for the past couple of weeks. I even mentioned awhile ago that I felt like I had half of my life in front of me rather than just 10-20 years. In the space of five minutes in the car today with my fifteen year-old daughter, I was relegated to the status of the bewildered 80 year-old grandparent wondering how I was going to navigate the rest of my life in the linguistic chaos of the world.
I have noticed before that I felt out of step with the larvae of our species. I lost interest in youth culture about the time hip-hop came in, but never before have I had so many difficulties all at once as I did today. We were listening to the radio on the way home from school and the dj said something about Taylor Swift's latest song. Jessie commented that the video was really funny as she (Taylor) ?????? ????? ??? ????. First problem: I couldn't hear what she said--my hearing is not what it used to be. So I asked her to repeat it. She instead defined what she said for me, "It's like mocking someone, but it's not." We entered the Marx Brothers portion of the dialogue with me asking , "What was?". She said, "Shade."
At this point I was completely mystified and not a little frustrated. Enunciating carefully and slowly, I asked her to use "shade" in a sentence for me so I could understand it by context. She replied, "Taylor threw shade at Kimye." (The entity formerly known as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.) I not only had never heard this phrase, but I would have had no idea what it meant had J not told me. Tonight I Googled Taylor Swift throwing shade at Kanye and I got a whole page of results. I was instantly thrown back to my youth when I looked with pity at the old fogies who were out of step with life and the current generation. How did I wake up as the old fogey? When did this happen? I listen to current music. (Sometimes. When Jessie switches the car radio from the 80's channel or Classic Rewind to Hits.) I see the latest movies and would have said that I am au courant with the world and its people (though not its fashions--I sacrificed form for function long ago). But this afternoon I was cut adrift.
Vampires go through time the same age and having to move from identity to identity to keep people from suspecting that they never grow old or die. How do they do it? With a few minor tweaks (like my hearing) I still feel inside like I did when I was 27. Unlike a vampire I have aged and I may not look 27 anymore, but I still have (almost) the same joie de vivre and spirit of adventure. But here I am getting caught by someone "throwing shade" at a Westashian. If I with my very limited life span can't keep up with language's fluidity, how do vampires who can live for hundreds of years manage it? It's a mystery.