Sunday, October 7, 2007

the tssk and huffy

I have been assaulted, as of late, by roving bands of angry children. They are every where I look, wilding through the super market and loitering with their gangs in the once quiet and idyllic neighborhood streets. Oh, they look innocent enough in their Abercrombie jeans and cropped hoodies and rolling wheelie shoes. But they are far from innocent. They are deliberate in their actions. And they are effective.

What is it that makes these prepubescent people so nasty, you ask? It is simply this: They are black belts at the tssk and huffy. They roll their eyes and stomp their feet and shed the aura of general disdain that rolls like thick Irish fog through crowds of unexpecting strangers, stopping the ones that love them the most in their tracks.

And I'm not going to take it any more.

Understand this: the tssk and huffy sends me over the edge of reason when it is my own children. Strangers bring on homicidal thoughts. Seriously.

Picture this:
I am at our neighborhood grocery store casually skipping through the produce section, filling my basket with organic goodies to take to grandma who is sick in bed. The musak is blaring and the florescent lights are flickering - it's like a scene from Disney. Then, from the end of the spice aisle, I hear it.

Note the change in movie genre. Hear the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? Good. You're in the right place.

I hear this prepubescent child let go of one giant tsssk followed by an enormous sigh and huffy.

and then, S I L E N C E.

Nobody moves. The fear is palpable. What will this almost-human child-thing do next?

From the frozen section, I hear old Mr.Cranston crush a frozen pie crust in his arthritic hands. (He is picking up the pie crust for his wife of 54 years. They've just returned from the apple orchard, and she is at home peeling and coring their luscious apple bounty...)

Someone in the cereal aisle gasps. Over in the paper and snack aisle, a sweet naive toddler begins to babble, but is quickly silenced by his loving mother's cold hand that clamps tightly over his little mouth so as not to give the tssker any clue as to their where abouts.

No one moves. No one breathes. We all wait. And then,

The stomping.

The terrible stomping. We stand absolutely still - afraid to set down the extra tomatoes or instant potato flakes as we listen to the terrible teenage stomping. Silently, we track her - spice aisle to salad dressing through the flower area and finally, the little, friendly ding of the door as it's motion-detecting eye triggers it's movement. The stomping continues into the parking lot. The end is signaled by the violent slamming of the passenger side door of the Honda Odyssey Mini-Van. And finally, the little, friendly ding of the automatic door as it closes us all inside the safety of the grocery store.

The entire populace of the neighborhood grocery store lets out one collective sigh of relief.

And now, I ask you, why do we - the neighbors and hapless bystanders - have to be the audience for such an horrific display of disrespect?

Note the change in theme one more time: Think Les Miserables. I am standing on a heaping pile of bodies in the grocery store, waving a white flag fashioned from the butcher's apron. Hear the swelling musak in the background? Good. Let us continue.

I say, we don't have to take it any more. Join me as we rally to stop the terrific tssk and huffy. It starts at home, friends. With our own children. Yes, it's true. Our children are tssk and huffers, and they will continue down this dangerous road until we stop them. And stop them we must. Then, we take our cause to the streets. To the post office and the shopping mall and to our idyllic neighborhood grocery stores.

Why? You ask.

Because. Because somebody has to take a stand. And we must do it now, before bad manners and rude behaviors run amok in our world. Go Green and Get Nice! That's my new slogan.

Go Green and Get Nice!

I know, I know... a slogan simply isn't enough to make a change, is it? Cute little bumper sticker slogans are a nice break from road rage, but they don't really make a difference. So. Here's my plan.

Give the old tssk and huffy right back to 'em.

We've all done it at one point in our lives. Heck, we were tssk and huffy masters.

Imagine if you will, the same grocery store. The same almost-human child-thing lets go of a giant tssk and an amazing huffy. This time, instead of crumbling in fear, old Mr. Cranston sends one right back at her. The gasper in the cereal aisle follows suit, the toddle catches on and begins tssking and huffing right along with the crowd. Pretty soon, the whole store is tssking and huffing back at the offender, who is wildly embarrassed that her assault has had no effect. She then, shapes up and is respectful to her mother once again.

I don't know if a dose of their own medicine will have any affect on their wildly self-centered selves, but it would sure make me feel a whole lot better.


angelawd said...

Oh, if only we could all band together to stop this nasty behavior in its tracks. A few years down the road, those tssk and huffers have infected their entire age population, and frightened bands of moms are cowering under the assault. I know. I've got the teenagers to prove it.

P.S. Were you ever a friend of a Joe in Mankato? My husband tells me great stories of his friend Ahna. I don't know, maybe Ahna is a common name in Minnesota?

Rose said...

Trust me, as a teacher of 8th graders, I hear you. It's often referred to as "sucking your teeth", which may be a southern expression? Let me know how the campaign works, eh?

Also, love all the new stuff on your page!

ahna said...

If the stories were really funny and not terribly embarassing, then, yes I know Joe. If they were simply rotten, then I have no idea who this Joe is. ;-)
Seriously, tell me more. I knew a couple of guys names Joe - one from High School in Northern Minnestoa, and one from school in NE Iowa.
Thanks for noticing. I think I changed the look of my blog for the same reason I change my hair. Because it gives me control of something when I feel like I'm losing control of everything.

Sue said...

Bwa ha ha ha ha I hate tweens and teenagers. Hate them, always have. I think I may need to send mine off to some kind of reeducation camp when they hit the huffy stage, because I will NOT be able to deal with them.

kalurah said...

you have such an engaging way of writing, Ahna!
what a wonderful story teller.
and yes, I did this as a teen, as well. but I am proof that you eventually grow up and come to love your mother and respect her.
have a great Monday!

Shandy said...

yes they can be huffy! I can't remember how I broke through those moods as a teacher, but I know I didn't put up with it unless it was best just to let them brood. Tough times, those teenage years. There's a lot going on in there. I have such a soft spot in my heart for that age group that I tend to embrace all the good they can offer. And I promise, there is good. There must be, otherwise I don't think I could look back at seven years of teaching high school with such fondness.

BTW: love the new look on the blog! It fits your lovely style!

Patti said...

i just shake my old lady hand in the air and try not to spit...accidentally of course.

angelawd said...

Ahna, it's all good stories! Joe Duea worked in Mankato back in the 90s and had a friend named Ahna. Sound familiar? If not, there's more than one witty, kind, goodhearted Ahna in Minnesota!

lisa {milkshake} said...

Oh, no. How I dread those huffy teenage years.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

It drives me crazy too. My problem is that, even though I know I've never encouraged it, the behavior still shows up in my life from time to time, especially with The Teenager.

Make it stop. I volunteer my house for you to use to perfect your technique.

Nonna said...

My tssk & huffy gal moved to college this fall and the one that's left behind...well...tssk and huffy isn't really her style. She's the most agreeable teenager I've ever known! But, there's still time, she's not quite 16 yet!

AB - You're going to have your hands full over the next decade or two... :)

by Johanna Brandvik said...

After many long years of practicing one might consider me a pro at the tssk and huffy. Certainly not an amateur. Once in a while I feel the need to take out the ol' tssk and huffy for a little go-round, usually to brush up my skills or add a new twist. If I'm lucky, once in a while the tssk and huffy takes on enough grace to resemble a dance. I'm hoping that with the coming years the tssk and huffy will begin to turn and whirl and float even more. Enough stomping already.

Anonymous said...

The tssssk and huffy does not work on me so well since I am part troll and half grumpilifuculs. Having long since developed the look and posture of, "Not only will I consume you, but I will take greating joy in rending your bones and sucking on your marrow." Youth may start to tssk, but my tusks and talons come out. Suddenly, they try their behavior somewhere else.

-Big E.

Bethany said...

Good heavens! I had to think hard and make sure Gillian hasn't been to the store with you lately...

Tiffany said...

As a former teacher, I am all too familiar with the tsk and huffers. I had a rule against it.

No disrespect with gestures.

We practiced tsking and huffing so they knew exactly what I was talking about. Role play it out. They see how ridiculous it is.

Pass that apple pie.

Galadriel Thompson said...

Mmm hmm, I hear that! Go on! Preach it Sister Lavender Taffy!
Momma don't abide by no disrespecting pubescence.

Adolescence is so hard. I don't want to be around them, but I feel for them.

Love the new do.

Galadriel Thompson said...

Hi again. I just can't stay away from you! By the way, I have so missed reading your site. Big hug.

Thanks for your candid comment on my bug guts and Cadillac post. Dude, I am soooooo the same way. I need help! Lots and lots. A great big ol' heaping Freudian truckload.

Thanks for the love and support. Swampy is a good way to describe things right now. Swampy but good.

hugs and bug guts

hiccupp said...

oh, this GETS ME. I can just feel my shoulders cringe up to my ears when I hear it.

There was actually a time at the store when I had to pull EVERY RESERVE I had to keep myself from marching over to this kid (10 or 12?) and tell her she should be so lucky she's not my child, because her attitude was unbelieveable, she should be embarrassed for the way she was acting, and she owed her mom and grandma an appology PRONTO!

I mean, this girl was RIDICULOUS! I've had my sassy moments, but this was over the top.

..but...then I'd have been on the news ;)