Curfews & Whiskers

Week of March 6, 2002

Acne alone cannot define it. This week, Street Talk invites commentary on that nebulous line between adolescent and grownup, asking, "What is the difference between teenagers and adults?"

Between mouthfuls of calamari at the Olympia Taverna and Kebob House on McCausland, freelance illustrator Joe Keylon, 22, mutters: "It's freedom and ability to do anything versus reality and constraints. And I'm right at that age where all my fun just ended."

Nora Case, 15, a sophomore at Metro High School, doesn't mince words: "Oh, teenagers have more fun and don't have the responsibilities of adults. They're more free because they're not tied down to a job or a family. They can just float around, do whatever pleases them. Adults are gray and wrinkly. Most of them are so boring they just sit home on the weekends and watch the news. It's like they forget how to have fun after they have kids or something.

"Singer/songwriter Celia Shacklett, 26, types herself as a folkie yet says her signature song is "Cabaret." On a Sunday afternoon, Shacklett appears not-so-fresh from a late-night gig at the Studio Café, on Washington Avenue, and chuckles at the question of the moment:

"Facial hair and curfews. That's what first pops out. But adolescence is a frame of mind. I know lots of people in their twenties who are still teenagers. Me, I'm clinging to my teenage years."

"Teens are totally unappreciated in society, and adults -- adults mistake age for wisdom," remarks Ron Scharff, 45. The physical therapist is among spectators at the Missouri Independent State Meet, recently held at the St. Louis Gymnastic Centre. Fourteen competing teams of girls, ranging in age from 7 to 12, are readying themselves for the event, performing graceful gyrations on balance beams and pommel horses, their springs wound tight.

At a gala celebrating the newly opened addition to the Famous Bar on Chippewa Street, complimentary drinks are flowing and Swing Set is playing the tunes.

Among the revelers is Steve Smith, 29: "Teenagers tend to look forward to life and living, while too many adults just tend to deal with life. They learn how to adapt instead of try to change things. They feel they're being realistic when in fact they're just being complacent."

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