My only first-hand experience with Martians was “My Favorite Martian” which was a TV sitcom that aired from 1963-1966. Uncle Martin had special powers like the ability to disappear and levitate objects. While not quite as talented as Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie”, he was nonetheless my closest encounter with a Martian up to the dawn of the millennial age.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Millennials. They are quirky, funny, and tribal. To call them weird would minimize their importance to the price of Bitcoin, and our society’s hope for an unconventional future.
Take Out Was Pretty Challenging
My first interaction with Millennials was a highly recommended sandwich shop in Damariscotta, Maine. My wife and I entered the shop and dutifully moved under a sign that said “Place Your Order Here”. We’ve been around long enough to know that you order under the sign, then you pay at the cashier and they bring the sandwich to your table, or package it for takeout. But that was not the business model at Fernald’s Country Store. We were the only people in line, but noted a beehive of activity among the sandwich makers, the cashier, the table servers and a few floaters who never seemed to be doing anything but circulating from the kitchen to the table space, but never with any sandwiches, or drinks: no sign of any table clearing either.
We are old and have no patience, so after about three minutes of just standing there I joked to one of the floaters, “Do we have to stand here and text our order to you?” She responded in all seriousness that “It would be a lot faster if you just made your order online.” We were kidding, but she was serious. It then occurred to me that the sign might be just some memorabilia from the lost century that went with all the posters on the walls. Luckily, the cashier who was obviously the owner, was also old enough to know about My Favorite Martian, and she understood we actually wanted a face to face experience. Our order was taken. The money was paid. Millennials are from Mars.
Half Caffeinated Coffee Was Worse
Thinking this was an isolated incident, I found my next millennial experience even stranger. I was at a coffee house in Tremont called “The Loop”. Tremont is a trendy downtown Cleveland neighborhood and a gathering place for the Millennial Nation. I ordered a small, “half-caf” dark roast and the millennial coffee barista looked at me like “I” was from Mars. I said “You know, half decaf and half hi-test!” She blinked once, and then again and asked with doe like sincerity, “What is hi-test?” I was stunned, but recovered quickly and explained that hi-test means fully caffeinated, just like premium gasoline. She was enthralled, but let me know that she has never pumped gasoline so she really did not know what I was talking about.
Business As Usual Was Unusual
The coffee incident was nothing compared to the seating area. There were hundreds of vinyl records on display and a turn table, I was just about to search for the lava lamp and Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” when I heard what sounded like a cross between Leonard Cohen and Boy George waft from the speakers (might have been my old Harman Kardons). Like an Alice in Wonderland cartoon, things got “curiouser and curiouser!”. As I scanned the room full of millennial patrons, there were tats everywhere and, even though there was business being conducted, it looked like the people at the tables were texting each other rather than talking face to face.
The patrons were also checking us out because we were wearing sport coats, penny loafers and at least one of the guys was taking photos of a building site out of his briefcase. I think the Millennials thought we were probably going to take phone pictures of our photos and text them to each other, but I secretly know they were thinking we were a sub species and wanted to demand “Earthlings Take Us To Your Leader”.
I wish I had more experiences with Millennials. I want to learn about Tatoos, their interesting hair styles, their music (I think it was music), and their fascination with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Most of all, however, I want to find out whether Millennials play golf.