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Were We Like That?
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This afternoon I drove past one of our mega high schools (are there any other kind?) just at dismissal time.

Hordes of teenagers streamed across the street, and, then like the Red Sea parting, one stream headed west, the other east along a major thoroughfare, small clumps stopping at the donut shop, Jack in the Box, other points of gastronomic interest.

The boys were in loose jeans, tees, hoodies, many with backpacks. The girls were in gauzy, sleeveless, low-cut tops, and skintight pants, leaving very little to the imagination. Shoes were sneakers for the boys and strappies for the girls. It was overcast, with a cold wind, and high humidity.

As the light changed, a microburst happened--sudden, pelting rain, soaking everything in a flash. The boys huddled down into their sweatshirts, pulled the hoods up over their heads. The girls just got wet and wetter.

Not one boy, as I inched through traffic, alongside the stream of hormonal humanity, offered his sweatshirt to a girl, even when clearly they were affectionate couples, arms wrapped around each other, causing burbles in the flow of pedestrians. And I guess the girls didn't ask, lest their newly-budded feminine charms be covered up.

We get a lot more practical as we get older, and, I think, more thoughtful of the other person's situation and possible discomfort. We discover that people like to be asked to help, and to offer assistance.

For the young, chivalry is dead; nothing seems to have replaced it. Or maybe we were like that, too, and I just don't remember it....

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