At eighteen I have my new ‘adult license’ by means of law and tradition. That doesn’t mean that anyone treats me as an adult, and with a character flaw that makes patronization a grave offence, I find that this in-between age between non-adulthood and adulthood is quite frustrating.
It is thus that nobody owes me anything because I have neither done anything worthy of notice or achieved anything that grants some level of respect. Aside from concocting these sometimes ponderously contrived posts on a blog few has ever heard about, I appear so eager to try to fool some people into thinking that I’m so mature and wise beyond my years.
Oscar Wilde’s play, “The importance of being Earnest”, from which I borrowed this post’s title was described by Wilde himself as a play with the message “That we should treat all trivial things in life very seriously, and all serious things of life with a sincere and studied triviality”. So, when I get into a position where I feel the distinct junior, the term ‘patronization’ can become very wide and deep suddenly.
That happened today when I had a meeting to get that magazine thing going, and I sat there at a distinct disadvantage with this man who had a lot of acronyms attached to his name, of which one was ‘Sir’. Being the egalitarian Swede that I am, sometimes, the whole concept of nobility is quite alien. Here, in this country, it is respected and even admired. In Sweden, the nobility that exist, strive to appear as normal as possible, and the people who trumpet their status as counts and barons are thought to be quite silly.
The first thing that happened was that my big plan for a phone delivered magazine was shot down in pieces, and we are to go the traditional route with paper and distribution and whatnot. My whole analysis was not really paid attention to. It was dismissed out of hand, and not even referenced during our little chat.
I sat there more and more annoyed that he didn’t even mention what I had said when it dawned on me. Nobody has any reason to treat me as one of these adults, because I haven’t proven myself yet. The value of my words and my thoughts and my suggestions are not carried by previous successes or failures.
How easy it would be to ruin it all and fail at the start, and have to move up that hill of doubt to reach this new region of non-importance. So, I have the law on my side. I turned 18. I am supposed to be one. But nobody will recognise me as such yet. And the character flaw in me that tremble in rage at such dismissal is working overtime to convince me of the unfairness of it all. But in the end, nobody owes me any respect or voice or importance.
Maybe I should follow Wilde’s example from the play and treat this adulthood as trivial, and treat non-adulthood as serious. Maybe then I will find a voice. And why do I want to find a voice? Is it that I want to feel important? Smart? More than others? Do I want to lead the pack, and not be a part of it? Am I an alpha male in arty geeky clothing?
Or am I just disappointed, and look for rationalisations, about why my magazine project was shot down to be just another typical student magazine that few will read because it has the weight of ‘authority’ trying to speak to the kids? My first step on the journalistic path was a fizzle rather than a crack.