21st Century Kid

As We Go On, We Remember: Graduation (And Malls)

Mickey was in the car, driving with my mother and a friend to the theatre where they both work (and where my mother and siblings have worked for the past twelve years while living in Augusta). They were holding auditions for a new show and Mickey was tagging along to help out.

“School is out for the year.”

“I hadn’t even thought about that. I mean, late May for me just means it is almost time for me to put my body into a pool.”

“Well, it’s all about graduations now,” she mentions over my mom’s talking. Her school had just held graduation a few days ago and that, along with graduation parties, had been ruling her life.

“How are graduations such a big deal to you? I mean, you just finished Freshman year.”

“I guess I’m very talkative and met a lot of older kids from an advanced Spanish class I took.”

That reminds me of a fact I often forget: she and I are both half Puerto Rican and our mother insisted we take advanced Spanish classes. That’s why I had Senior friends as a high school freshman, too.

“Graduation was long and boring.”

“Oh, I assure you: they only get longer and boring-er.”

She enjoyed the related parties–even though she was the only Freshman.

“It was nice to stop by and say hey and get food. At one of them, there was drinking. But, Mom and Dad were with me. I was offered a couple of shots of tequila. But, I said no.”

I paused, thinking, “Oh my word: are kids today lushes??” Thankfully, she assured she didn’t even have a desire to drink with the older kids, regardless of my semi-strick parent’s presence. She mentioned there was a Cool Mom and Dad, a high school archetype that is the direct opposite of our own parentals: “[One of the graduate’s] parents were very encouraging of him. He was doing a lot of drinking.”

“Some things really don’t change. Where are these kids going to school?”

“Lots are staying in state and going to the local college, [Augusta State]. They’re going to save money and then transfer out in a few years.”

“Oh, that’s smart. I feel like no one did that in my graduating class. What are they studying?”

“Many of the kids are going to study Communication or Pre-Med. A couple are dancers and are going to study dance.”

I don’t think I knew a single pre-doctor or pre-dancer when I was in school.

“The biggest name school is UGA, which is disappointing. One person auditioned for Juilliard,” she said a little disheartened, echoing her own desire to escape the city and state for a more exotic location.

“What are your friend’s who are graduating doing?”

“A lot of are going to get started with summer classes already or move into dorms early.”

Mickey didn’t suggest she was going to be left alone, but – along with her peers planning to get started on school -it was obvious that all these kids have a drive to become adults (or, perhaps, get to college to start the party). She also didn’t mention anyone not going to college. Perhaps it is the nature of her school or the nature of her friends, but I was very impressed with their drive.

“What do you kids do for fun, anyway?”

“Well, when we do hang out, we go to this new yogurt place called Tutti Frutti, then to the movies, and then do photo shoots in Target or Hobby Lobby.”

“What’s ‘Tutti Fruitti’?”

“Tutti Frutti is basically Pinkberry. But no one had ever seen a Pinkberry here so people are going crazy.”

“Look at you being all better-than-everyone-else.”

She giggles.

“That’s it? Just movies and photo shoots and yogurt?”

“We hangout a lot at that Starbucks.”

The Starbucks in the middle of a parking lot?”


“That is the silliest thing I have ever heard in my life.”

“But, it’s the best place! There’s that and the Starbucks in the mall.”

“Wait: the mall now has a Starbucks?”

Mind you, when I lived in Augusta last in 2004, there wasn’t no Starbucks nowhere.

“Yeah, there are two different ones in the mall now.”



What else is in the mall now????

“Well, we have a Forever 21. We usually go in there and mess with the mannequins. Like, we’ll pants them. A lot of times we’ll go into Hollister and yell about how we need a flashlight because it’s so dark. We also complain about how bad it smells in there. That’s what people who like Hollister buy, I guess. I don’t get how you dont have a headache working there.”

Mind you, Mickey mentioned a lot of her friends work at Hollister. Hence, why she drops in there.

“There’s also a J.Crew and an Apple Store.”


I about pooped my pants. J.Crew and Apple: two things I practically have tattooed on my soul, which only existed 150 miles away in Atlanta or in the possession of the town’s art teachers. I was in shock: Augusta had arrived and Bobby and I now have shopping spots when we visit the AUG!

“My favorite store is Journey’s, the shoe store.”

“Do you guys have an Urban Outfitters or an American Apparel?”

“No, we don’t. There’s one in Columbia [South Carolina], but we usually go to the Urban in Atlanta–in Lenox Mall.”

“Do you make mom just drive the 2.5 hours to take you there? That’s absurd.”

She giggles.

“No, no: whenever we’re up there, I ask mom if we can go. We usually do. Last time I went, there wasn’t anything good, though.”

“What else are you up to now?”

“My friend and I are going to try to play Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep.’ She plays the piano and I play the guitar so that should be fun, even though I haven’t heard her play before and she hasn’t heard me play either.”

“I don’t know this song. Do I need to Google it?”

“Yes. It’s great.”

Yes, it is great. I guess my months long avoidance of that song can come to an end because–duh–the song is amazing.

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