On Friday I facilitated a program entitled, “Generations and Beyond,” for Out and Equal, which explored the intersections of generations, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. During my presentation I talked about the fact that a lot of what we hear about each generation are stereotypes and that there are people in their 70’s who are techies and that there are people in their 20s who know nothing about computers.
After all that I met two people who defied my anti-stereotype proclamation-
On my way back to my office, I ran into someone I had known for years who was in her 60’s. We talked about movies and television shows. I told her she had to watch “The Daily Show’, at which point she told me she never had cable. OK! I thought,I know young people who don’t have cable and get news and info from the internet.
“You can watch those shows on the internet any time,” I said. She replied by telling me that she had no computer and no email address.
I left her thinking of how she fit that senior person stereotype about technology, but I know people in their late 80’s who correspond with friends and family by video using Skype.
An hour later I’m sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. There is a big sign on the wall that says no cell phones in the waiting room. I hear a loud voice across the room. I look over and there is this guy who appeared to be around 24 talking on his cell phone about LInked In. Several of us are on all sides of him and he just keeps up the conversation. We all look at each other and laugh. I meet his eyes and he says “sorry” but keeps talking. I say to him “Interesting conversation, I couldn’t help but over hear,”
Two minute later, the nurse comes to get him. As he gets up, his pants start falling down and he has to grab them and hold them up.
I think to myself “This is weird. Two extreme stereotypical people, and I just laugh at the irony of the whole situation.
That evening, my fourteen year old son sees me listening and dancing to some music by “the Sugar Hill Gang,” from the 1980’s. He tells me I can’t dance. When I respond my saying everyone else says I’m a good dancer,” he exclaims, ” Of course Mom. because they’re all old, what do you expect?’
What a day for the generation mix.