Much has been made of the twenty-somethings and what’s happening with this Gen-Y/millennial group. It’s been said that we are entitled, narcissistic, worldly, jobless, educated, overqualified, and under-motivated. We’re growing up later, putting off financial independence - and perhaps independence in general – living with mom and dad, traveling, and not marrying. Sociologists have suggested a new growth stage, emerging adolescence, to be respected and recognized for today’s twenty-somethings. The millennial generation is not the baby boomer generation.
I am a millennial and it was never more evident than in a recent DVD fiasco.
About one month ago I rented a movie, The Informant! This is a boring movie and a waste of Matt Damon’s talent and your time. Don’t bother. The film is irrelevant to this generational tale.
I’d rented the movie on a Friday evening from Le Video on 9th Avenue and Lincoln. I do not have a NetFlix account. Post-watching, I wasn’t sure whether to return the DVD to its case or leave it in the player. I awkwardly opened the DVD player, took out the DVD, then put it back into the what-I-assumed-to-be-functioning-player; a strange sequence, yes, but a safe holding place. Or so I thought.
I drove Rose, my movie accompanying friend, home and thought nothing of the movie until Tuesday when I rented more movies. I wanted to return The Informant! and pickup some better flicks. But, The Informant! was nowhere to be found. For the next six days – as the due date came and went – I searched high-and-low for that damn DVD. It wasn’t even a good movie and because I rented it from a local and indie movie house, I was on the hook for an arm and a leg if I couldn’t find it. I even resorted to passively accusing Rose of theft. For that Rose, I apologize.
But seriously, where could that DVD have gone?
Finally, in a flurry of desperation and as a half-joke, I grabbed a screwdriver, dramatically unplugged the DVD player and performed open player surgery. With the parts and screws of the DVD player tossed about my living room, I slowly slid the top of the player off the device, fearful of what I might find. Low and behold, pinned under an I-don’t-know-what, sat The Informant! Son-of-a-bitch.
You might be thinking to yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with millenials or emerging adolescence? It’s a god damn DVD Adam. Get a grip.”
NetFlix is the ultimate millennial tool. It is Gen-Y. It’s non-commital, cheap, internet based, completely personalized, and on-demand. It’s created for us except one fatal flaw: a permanent address. I do not have a NetFlix account because I’ve known the address of only one of seven places I have lived in over the last three years. No complaints. It’s just my path; but because of this path I have not been able to reap the sweet fruit of the NetFlix tree: streaming video, queues, prepaid postage, and no late fees.
No late fees.
How much money in late fees have we transient millenials accumulated? Likely upwards of one-gabillion dollars but I won’t venture to speculate. It’s a lot. But as any given one of us – millennial or otherwise – works to make his or her mark in this ginormous, beautiful, fucked-up, wonderful world, may we strive to find harmonious balance in a little red envelope.
So now, with a façade of stability and a permanent address I can call my own (I even have it memorized), I will be getting my own NetFlix account. It’s exhilarating and terrifying, mind-blowing and simplistic.
Such is growing up.