Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Michael is right: the Woodstock generation needs to get over itself. He’s been saying that for a while (Gen X is so bored with Boomers), and I got religion last weekend when I joined the parade of my generation to Max Yasgur’s farm for the fortieth anniversary.
I wouldn’t have made the pilgrimage but for a sister who has a summer cabin nearby. I wasn’t at Woodstock ’69, but I’ve paid homage at the shrine there before. I was there in ’89 for the twentieth anniversary, when I bought a T-shirt for ten bucks from a guy selling them from the back of a van.
This year’s visit left two warring factions inside my head.
The folks returning now are grayer and pudgier, but some of them seem still stuck in the ‘60s. Beads, beards and tie-dye. Freak flags flying. Decorated vans. Peace symbols. It was all there.
One guy urged the “Class of ‘69” to gather for a photo around the Woodstock monument that overlooks the rolling fields. Another fellow asked me, “Does he mean college or high school? Does he mean you were here in ‘69?” I said, “Does it matter?” But even though I graduated college in ’69, I shied away from joining in, not really wanting to belong there. Instead, I took the photo.
Now switch gears to the corporatization of Woodstock, a $100 million complex built about five years ago with a Woodstock museum, performance pavilion, and gift shop (where T-shirts were selling for $25). The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is lovely, but it seemed garish there at Woodstock, and the part of my heart that belonged in the photo with the Class of ’69 rebelled a little.
So I was uncomfortable with the Woodstock hangers-on, but I was also put off by the fancy digs. I wanted it both ways: the Woodstock generation should move on, but does it need to get so swanky?
Michael tells me those two viewpoints aren’t necessarily at odds. Look at how you’ve lived your life, he tells me. You never totally embraced the whole Woodstock thing. But you never wanted to drive a Lexus, either. You’ve chosen what works for you no matter where your generation is headed.
Look who you married, he says.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Our argument wasn’t about much – whether I’d pruned a thorny bush with careful forethought or massacred it in a passive-aggressive pique. Hanging in the balance was the bush’s twin, also needing a trim.
“You weren’t thinking,” she accused, sounding like a school marm.
“Fine,” I said, and, like a brat, tossed the clipper onto the grass. “You do the other one.”
Which she did.
Each of us, suddenly, had stepped into roles that fit our ages. Sheri’s accusation that I had thoughtlessly pruned sounded to me like a do-it-right-next-time lecture from a boss or teacher or parent. And I reacted as would a sullen teen accused unjustly. Thus, our strange circle stayed unbroken: she confessed later that when I tossed the clippers she felt like a scold. “And I hate hate hate that,” she said.
Do couples close in age play out similar roles in their arguments? We worried in the aftermath that our age difference changed – and perhaps changes – the dynamics of our spats and fights. I imagine we’re both troubled by what the unguarded moment suggests – that our age difference matters in ways that are fundamental to how we relate, that our adult relationship is somehow a careful construction. I never want to feel or act like a child before my wife. Nor does she want to treat me like a child and have to feel so old.
But that’s what happened. And for a moment we wondered – and perhaps still do -- whether that’s who we really are.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
HimPlus17 recently took a road trip and meant to post from some Wi-Fi truck stop outside Naubinway, Michigan but ...