Hey, You Kids! Get Off My Lawn! / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Last weekend I helped my sister celebrate her (first annual) 29th birthday. It was a tasteful affair, about 30 people lounging in the reserved section of a restaurant, munching on appetizers, indulging in cake, drinking moderately, and chatting for about four hours. 

Afterward, I went out with my sister and four of her friends to a local downtown bar. It was packed to the brim with hordes of drunken twenty-somethings gyrating to conversation-drowning club music. Oh, and smoking. Did I mention I was in South Dakota?

Long story short . . . I have never felt older in my life.

There is a very limited window in which a person can happily stand (because there is no place to sit) in a crowd of scantily-clad girls selling suckers and draped in penis paraphernalia (because that bachelorette is getting MARRIED, bitches, so whooooo-hooooo let's get a few more shots in before we have to help her paint her new house and throw a baby shower and then support her through the divorce). 

This is the window in which young men, in varying states of boredom and over-zealousness, either brood or swagger their way between potential conquests while shouting about sports stats and calling each other gay.

This window has firmly shut for me. Not that I ever stared through it for too long -- I may have peeked over the sill once or twice, but I can't remember the last time I "partied" that wasn't beers at happy hour or cocktails after the theater.

I know what you're thinking ... "What is she, 80?" No, but the careless expenditure of energy I witnessed last Saturday just exhausted me entirely. My first thought: "I want to give every girl in here a jacket and a ride home." My second thought: "The only guy who's going to hit on me will probably be picking up his daughter."

I think it was about the time when I looked out on the dance floor and saw the blow-up doll hoisted in the air and bobbing to the techno beat that I realized I was officially done. My inner 80-year-old was yelling, "Close that window, you're letting in a draft!" 

Indeed, grandma. Indeed.