So, I chaperoned the prom last night, and I was struck by two things. First of all, this prom was like nothing else I'd ever seen or even imagined. It's not so much that it made me remember once more what a simple, shall we say not financially fortunate district I grew up in. It's more that it made me wonder just how much money was being spent on last night's party, and how much the idea of "prom" has morphed over the years. Because what I witnessed was not prom as I remembered it (i.e. teenagers dancing in a large, decorated assembly space). This was pretty much a carnival, the building full of various lounges and rooms the kids could go to and find various activities, elaborate food spreads, and painstakingly detailed decorations. I was shocked.
Outside in the parking lot, lest the kids get too warm in the buiding or dance hall, a number of other activities were made available, including a big-screen movie showing complete with all the candy and popcorn you could want, and In 'n Out Burger catering. I heard last year they even brought in a Ferris Wheel. I'm sorry, what? It was just so impressive that I found it challenging not to gawk. Or to be jealous of these hours they got to spend circulating in their fancy dresses among such stellar options. I was stuck manning the photo booth and only managed to grab a lunch-size bag of potato chips. I found myself sort of wanting to go to the prom.
Because the other thing that struck me about the evening was that it's been almost 20 years since my own prom. And isn't that kind of a long time? We spend the first half of our lives so unconcerned with our own mortality. I know I've never really concerned myself that much with age, because I know I'm still relatively young. That there are more people on this planet who are older than me than there are people who are younger than me. No matter how old I am, I'm still young. Except there's going to be a point where that's no longer true. And when you realize that your own age doubled is a number many people do not live to, it kind of makes you yearn for, well, the prom. Oh to be young.