Ephebiphobia- The fear of teenagers.
Latin, from Greek ephēbos, from epi- + hebe: youth, puberty.
The following is a true account.
APRIL 2013: ASTORIA PARK, QUEENS.
It’s one of the first nice days of the year and I take the day off from work to wander around my neighborhood on my bike; I need a day. It’s pushing 8 months at a miserable job, one I only took as a stopgap after being laid off from one I loved. I’m starting to feel trapped there. I find a nice hill right by the water and lie down in the grass, watching the water swirl around Hell Gate.
Some teens- brazen TRUANTS- are just on the other side of the hill, smoking weed. I look at the teens and they look back at me. One of teens says something and they all giggle, eye contact unwavering. They are probably right, whatever it is.
DECEMBER 2013: BARNARD COLLEGE, MANHATTAN.
The band that puts on my current favorite live music show on earth, Diarrhea Planet, is in town! They are playing a free show! Whoa!
It’s in the basement of Barnard College’s student union. Whoops!
I spend the whole show hiding in the back, arms frozen by my side. The teens are having a very nice time. Nobody seems to be drinking and they’re just happy to be there. They laugh and they sing and they dance around in a circle at one point like they are Celts and I’m stonehenge. Except nobody’s going to make a listening tour for my corpse.
JANUARY 2014: CHELSEA.
I have a new job, finally. I get to work on something creative, with my hands. I feel much better. The studio is next to a School of Visual Arts building. The building is a student gallery with big glass windows. My walk to work is lined with beautiful works of art. Every morning now, teens on a bench smoke cigarettes and look up from their phones at me. Hey, idiot. You should have done what you wanted and gone to art school. But I took some classes! Here, actually! After I figured out I wanted to draw comics instead of engineering? Yeah, night school. Creep.
FEBRUARY 2014: NEW JERSEY.
I am at a family function and a younger teen expresses her interest in science to me. Great! Something to actually talk about. I mention that Cosmos is going to be on the air soon, and the original was a pretty fun watch, I think it’s still on Netflix. Carl Sagan did it, you know, Carl Sagan? Who? Oh, right.
Time waits for nobody. Carl had a starship of the imagination, unbound by the laws of space and time. But Carl still died, and I’m going to die too.
Later, she tells me about a cool website to stream movies for free that I use constantly.
MARCH 2014: SOMEWHERE UNDER THE EAST RIVER.
I’m on my way to work and a teen elbows me in the face trying to take a selfie. Dang.