Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Millennials and My Tranquility, not a good mix


Millennials, that group of people who were born during the 1990’s through the early 2000’s. I have fortunately not had to deal much with millennials since I am much older. Psychologist Jean Twenge, the author of the 2006 book Generation Me, considers millennials to be part of what she calls "Generation Me". Twenge attributes millennials with the traits of confidence but also describes a sense of entitlement and narcissism. Based on the fact that I am entering the age of a Grumpy Old Man, I can now transfer much of my irritation on a younger demographic. And this group has easily set themselves up for the blame. I usually like all people but my tolerance for stupid has worn a little thin with the years.

My birthday rolled around again this year, and in celebration of making it one more time through the calendar, my wife got tickets for the 50th anniversary tour of the rock group Kansas. What could go wrong? A classic rock concert whose fans are all in their 60’ and 70’s. My kind of folk. The State Theater in Minneapolis is a beautiful venue and we had seats in the fourth row from the stage slightly right of center.

We have a knack for attracting the worst concert goers ever though. We have a name for them. Drunk Dave. In honor of the guy at the Styx concert in Des Moines who thought he should dance in the aisle holding a beer and spilling it on anyone within the splash zone. They are loud and obnoxious and always very drunk. Somehow, they end up in seats next to us.

So, as we took our seats that evening the young guy behind us tried to start up a conversation with us. He was barely into his twenties, but he was hammered. No one should be that inebriated at 6:30pm on a Friday. I just looked at Ashley and said, we got drunk Dave again.” It was worse. Three young girls even more sloshed appeared and sat beside him. They talked loudly and kept getting up to buy more drinks. Each time climbing over the people already seated between them and the aisle. People who were their grandparent’s age. One time falling over onto my wife and hugging her from behind. The ushers kept motioning to her but she was oblivious to their commands.

So, the show starts and the one young blonde starts talking over the music. “Oh yeah, this was a hair band back then.” Rule # 1, don’t go to a show of a band you don’t know and act like you have something intelligent to say. She repeatedly shouted over the songs, argued with her boyfriend, cried, and kept leaving and returning with more drinks. At one point during her disruptive behavior she said, “The lead singer, he is pointing right at me.” She was right. She was so disruptive he was trying to shame her by singling her out from the stage. If you talk during the performance of “Dust in the Wind” you are a special kind of Cretin.

The ushers were not prepared for this childish behavior as the three girls ran up and down the aisle during the show. They tried helplessly to reprimand them, but to no avail. At one point we saw two of them flip off an usher as they ran by. It was like some two-year olds misbehaving at a restaurant. The guests who were trying to enjoy the show were getting more perturbed by the minute. Finally, the blonde girl decided to head for the exit by walking between each guest and the seat in front of them, all the way across the theater. There she passed out at the feet of the two ushers standing at the exit.

It is called concert etiquette, and you may have seen the news footage of a Miranda Lambert concert lately, where she stopped the show mid-song and told four young women to sit back down. I have seen people of all ages acting like idiots, but these took the prize. I never thought I would sound like my dad, but here I am. And I understand now how he felt.