I can hold my own against any Gen Xer or Gen Yer. Put an Aught in my way and I'll meet, even beat, that person at my professional game – which, by the way, is now called content provider instead of writer.
But the Millennials got me.
A test for an online magazine asked me to write something relating to an AF room. The publication is aimed at Millennial women, and, like every generation, Millennials have their own lingo. I couldn't figure this one out.
I tried to think about the definition rationally. Back in the day, women often had sewing rooms. Is an AF room like that, only for other hands-on endeavors? Maybe the A stands for Arts, the F for ... stumped. Young women today might not make their own clothes (my grandmother), knot together macrame belts (me at a certain age) or create over-the-top scrapbooks (my peers as mothers of young kids; I abstained, horrified), but surely these 20-odd-year-olds go gung-ho over some craft or art forms. My own kids are Millennials, but they're of the male variety and they create software, not apparel or accessories or memory tomes.
I googled, to no avail. Search results sent me to website pages about the U.S. Air Force.
Relating this roadblock to my husband, I decided to ask the nearest Millennial woman. She happened to be the super-friendly cashier-slash-server at a casual Orlando-area seafood restaurant called Something Fishy. She was game for a question, until I posed the query. She froze. She darted away. She never returned.
"Is it something SEXUAL?" I hollered after her. She zoomed back to the kitchen. That poor, earnest, kind woman. She may never recover.
I had business to do, so I resorted to by fallback position: I hit up my sons for answers. I sent a joint text to them worded as follows.
The 21-year-old responded immediately, clearly unenthused and requesting solid background info.
And so, between bites of salmon tacos and buffalo-flavored fried cauliflower bites, I searched through my emails for the specific assignment. Here is the crux of it; I cut out the rest so as not to ruin future writing tests for the website's editors.
My son was not amused. Well, yes he was.
Now I had to know, immediately.
He answered. Cleanly, because, unlike his foul-mouthed mother, this wonderful young man is clean-cut.
Oops. It's not an AF room. That's not a type of room. It's a messy room. A really messy room. A room so disheveled, so ridiculously full of unorganized stuff, that it's as Messy As F___.
I clarified. I got it now. Not only was this kid amused, so was the older one, piping in from his apartment.
Bested, by my own offspring's generation. It was bound to happen. And it makes me laugh, crazy-hard, every time I recall the scenario. And laughing, not surprisingly, makes me happy as f_. (I wonder if that's the correct usage. I'm afraid to ask.)
One final word from our Millennial-speak maven.