Translating Teenager

I had to meet with a client yesterday to discuss their debt restructuring. [singlepic id=180 w=320 h=240 float=right]This was a big clothing manufacturer and the meeting was in their offices downtown. Me and Kyle and our boss Bruce met them in their conference room and went over all the usual boring shit that I do all day long. But then during a break a cute high school chick came into the conference room. Turns out it was the owner’s daughter and she was interning after school.

He introduced her to everyone and I asked her where she went to school. She rolled her eyes and said, “Beverly.” (That’s Beverly Hills High School to those of you not in L.A.) I loved the eye roll because it said so much, like “Yeah, my Dad’s rich and I go to Beverly, what a cliché, but I’m not like that, it’s not like on the TV show, I’m real.”

I asked her where she wants to go to college and she said, “Dunno. I’m like a sophomore.” I love language and usage and I just loved that she added “like” before “sophomore.” Clearly it wasn’t meant to indicate imprecision. It said so much more. She was saying, “I’m only fifteen, dumb ass.” I smiled but quickly covered.

“Well, it’s never too early to start thinking about colleges. You want to work in the garment business one day?”

She said, “I don’t know. I mean, maybe like fashion merchandising or something but not retail and not lame old people’s clothes.” She had a point that this client did make mostly golf shirts and menswear. I thought I’d bond with her and said, “Yeah, your Dad’s stuff isn’t really the coolest stuff.”

She looked at me, confused. She said, “Uh, yeah.” But what she meant was, “You and my Dad are the same age in my eyes. You are wearing a suit. You are not cool. You are not connecting with me.”

I suddenly felt very self-conscious when it occurred to me that I was closer to her Dad’s age than hers. She could have been my daughter if a girl would have had sex with me in high school and I knocked her up (well almost). I realized that I was not part of her generation in any way and it was kind of sad.

I said to her, “Well, I’d better get back to work.” But what I meant was, “I don’t want your Dad to think I’m a pedophile.”