Monday, July 24, 2006

During Lunch in Mid-Walk

"This doesn't feel anything like a nipple" and other observations....

Journal Entry, July 3, 2006

Two boys, approximately 15 years old. The one in the Boston Red Sox World Series Champions 2004 baseball cap and dark blue, Goth-print, Southpole T-shirt sucks on an orange pacifier. The other boy, in plain navy blue baseball cap and robin's egg blue, knee-length jersey imprinted with the number 704 sucks on a deep blue pacifier. He also wears a fake diamond earring, gold chains, and a blue bandanna around his neck.

Both boys sport large, droopy shorts, calf-length. Orange pacifier wears blue sneakers. Blue pacifier wears sturdy work boots.

I had leftovers from my salad: one packet of Greek dressing and three small packages of crackers. Blue pacifier asks if he could have them. Sure, I say -- I was going to return them to the counter anyway.

Blue pacifier sucks, takes the plastic out of his mouth and says to his friend, "This doesn't feel anything like a nipple." His face is pockmarked with acne. I don't envy him.

The boys haven't bought anything but have gotten water cups from the counter at Hungry Howie's. Orange pacifier dips one cracker and then a second in the water before he eats them. Blue pacifier drops his pacifier in the water before putting it back in his mouth.

He goes back to the soda dispenser for ice, drops a cube onto his friend's arm for effect. They agree it's cold. Blue pacifier remarks that mixing the Greek dressing with water was not a good idea.

They make a mess on the table, which blue pacifier cleans up the first time. He also returns one of the cracker packages to me. I offer that they can have it for later, since I'm not keeping it.

Blue asks orange if he wants it. Orange pacifier says no. The crackers stay on my table.

I wait until they're outside, smoking on a bench, before I whip out my notebook and pen. I had nursed my Diet Pepsi, observing, restraining myself from writing in front of them.

I wonder about the pacifiers. Are they a fad, or have these boys innovated their post-toddler application? Does blue pacifier compare his unfavorably to a nipple because he's sucked on any lately? Or does he draw on a pre-verbal memory? Or is he imagining what a nipple would feel like?

At first I was somewhat heartened. One can do worse than suck on a pacifier as a form of adolescent rebellion. It could have been booze instead. It could still be booze, especially since the boys are smokers. The pacifier as supplement, not substitution.

The first cleaning of his table, the returned crackers, seem to me to point in general to a good kid at heart. Through the window, blue pacifier sucks thoughtfully after making a call on his cell phone.

Postscript

A member of my writing group had commented she thought the pacifiers had something to do with drugs, so I did a little Web research. I found the following on Parents. The Anti-Drug:
High energy, all-night dance parties and clubs known as "raves," which feature dance music with a fast, pounding beat and choreographed laser programs, have become increasingly popular over the last decade, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Beginning as an underground movement in Europe, raves have evolved into a highly organized, commercialized, worldwide party culture. Rave parties and clubs are now found throughout the United States and in countries around the world. Raves are held either in permanent dance clubs or at temporary venues set up for a single weekend event in abandoned warehouses, open fields, or empty buildings....

Moreover, many club owners and promoters appear to promote the use of drugs-especially MDMA. They provide bottled water and sports drinks to manage hyperthermia and dehydration; pacifiers to prevent involuntary teeth clenching; and menthol nasal inhalers, chemical lights, and neon glow sticks to enhance the effects of MDMA. In addition, rave promoters often print flyers featuring prominent and repeated use of the letters "E" and "X" (E and X are MDMA street names) or the word "rollin" (refers to an MDMA high), surreptitiously promoting MDMA use along with the rave.
Unrelated Post-Postscript

I've been spending the past few days preparing submissions -- including (a) my first photo submissions and (b) a large book proposal for the trilogy. Tomorrow I'll mail everything out, whereupon (once again) the little girl inside me will start rocking back and forth, going Please please please please please in a very whiny voice.

My inverter has arrived, though the studio is not yet ready for 'puter surgery (see paragraph above). For now, I can still convince my old computer's backlight to come on by keeping it shaken, not stirred.


2 Comments:

Blogger Brenda said...

Raves and MDA and pacifiers have been around awhile - I remember talking at great length with a PhD student who was really into Raves about 10 years ago and was going to write a book on his experiences, don't think he ever did though.

When my daughter was about 7, I had to get her a pacifier to wear around her neck because it was 'in' - everyone at school was wearing pacifiers. I asked her if they sucked them too, and she said, "Eww, no." But she said some of the boys did for a joke.

It's some kind of fad for sure that goes in and out of fashion in the kid population. Probably some Rave stars sport pacifiers.

And it may well be a safety device at real Raves where the kids are on real drugs that are really dangerous.

Love the way you wrote this!

Good luck on those submissions!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

It seems to be a metaphor to me. Have you noticed that teen boys are also combing thier hair with a little tuft of hair in the middle, like our mothers did to their baby boys in the 50s before they got their pictures taken?

Best wishes for submissions!

11:49 PM  

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