Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When the lights go out in the city.....

Mini and PC head to the movies! Yup, a rare Tuesday night movie opportunity arose last night when our entire village lost power. NStar trucks had been seen in the area and well, c'mon... when you see an NStar truck, don't you get nervous?? I know I do. A phone call to the "customer service" line (which closes at 4pm) and being transferred to the "emergency customer service" personnel... a very bored rep told me "umm.. it'll be on at 9:30?"

Which leads to me to something that is bothering the CRAP out of me right now. My generation said "like" every other word growing up. "like, totally" and "like, I like him." But, I have been encountering a whole new crop of language issues lately. And, today (b/c the camera and the computer aren't playing nice): we'll discuss them.

1. Phrasing everything as a question.

C'mon teachers.. chime in here! Not one person under the age of 24 seems capable of making a simple declarative statement. The grocery store clerk who says "that'll be $40?" makes me wonder... is there an option for negotiation here? Should I start bartering with this person? If I say "$35?" will she take less for my dinner party groceries?

What is driving me even more crazy is that I am encountering this in PROFESSIONAL situations! A young recruiter who called me this morning said "I can find you a job?" I don't know... Can he? Or the receptionist where I went to interview who said "oh, he'll be with you in a few minutes?" But, will he? And she followed up with "he's on the phone internationally?" I don't know... I don't know who he's talking to.

PC says I am getting old and crotchety when it comes to these things, but speech pattern is something that can make or break you. Phone interviews are a new, cheap, efficient way to weed out applicants. If you sound like you can't make a single declarative sentence... would I hire you? And, on the flip side, when I have worked with people of this "generational speech", I am often asked "are you asking me that?" which leads me to think: you can't tell a command from a question.

I have a theory. The whole "everyone wins a trophy" and allowing children to have "options available" is a parenting thing that started after my mom was raising children. We were given sandwiches for lunch. No options. If you lost the t-ball game, well, you learned to wipe the tears, shake hands with the winners and try harder next game. I learned to say what I mean and mean what I say. I was taught that ambivalence was the equivalent of lying... if you have a statement, make it! Are we teaching our kids ambivalence?

2) "IM" speak.

"WTF?" I overheard at the gym. I looked up and it was a young girl looking at the *broken* treadmill. Huh. She didn't say "what the fuck", she said "W.T.F." I heard her later, talking to the front desk and she said "I was all like OMG, the treadmill is DOA and I said WTF!" I get what she was saying, but it's a little over the top.

What's wrong with using words? I like words. I like reading words, I like speaking words... and I respect words. Words can hurt, calm, cure, pacify, cut, shred, and project.

So, what do YOU think about this current speech phenom? I know a lot of you (Carole, Ruth, Julie) have kids about this age... and I wonder what you guys think/see/ feel about this. Will it pass? Is it a phase? Colleges are struggling with this as well. Will the next generation in the workforce be an "inquisitive" bunch without a single (non-IM) "declaration"?

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