“Sometimes I look up and it’s 3 a.m. and I’m watching a video of a giraffe eating a steak…and I wonder, ‘How did I get here?’” These are the words of 15-year-old Owen Lanahan from a New York Times article on the “new teenage trend” called “Vamping.”
#Vamping (typically paired with a hashtag, just like everything else these days) is a term these crazy kids have come up with to promote the fact that they are — please make sure you’re sitting down; what I’m about to say is shocking — STAYING UP LATE TO DO SHIT.
“She’ll go to bed and I’ll check on her an hour later and she’ll have her phone,” said one aghast mother. The Times is both concerned and fascinated with this phenomenon. I think it’s important to note that “phenomenon” is their word, not mine, however, because #vamping — again, staying up late to do unproductive shit — has been around longer than frogs. Raise your hand if you haven’t found yourself googling carnivorous giraffes at 4 AM. Now look around the classroom; all your hands are flat on the desk, aren’t they?
Though the article’s focus is on these teens’ inability to unplug (Snapchatting until 3 AM is apparently more disruptive and stressful than sneaking in a few extra chapters of Harry Potter per the days of my wild youth), what should have been celebrated is their exceptional reality-escaping abilities. They are learning, from a young age, how to best combat their Sunday Scaries — something I don’t think we were adequately prepared for back in my day.
By staying up all night to send selfies and flirt awkwardly with emojis, these kids are becoming severely sleep deprived, yes. But they are living by the motto that if you don’t go to sleep, tomorrow never really comes, which means MONDAY MORNING (aka, reality post-vacation) could be rendered completely obsolete for them in the future.
It’s actually sort of genius. They are like rock stars, but with cell phones. Scientists, but with braces.
Of course I worry for the youth. I worry that they will have to combat dark circles much earlier and will become a stunted generation height-wise due to extremely young coffee habits. But they will be fine — they will adapt. They are on their way to beginning the first human-marsupial community and will soon flourish in a reality-free life, whereas the rest of us who merely snuck book chapters-by-flashlight in our teens will be eternally rocking back and forth on our butt bones come the end of every vacation.
And so I ask: vamping, ramping, weirdo rubber stamping: HOW DO YOU AVOID REALITY? Because it’s halfway into Monday and I’m still crouched under my desk in fear.
— Amelia Diamond