Monday, January 3, 2011

23 Going On 65

I think I have reached the point in my life where I can be classified as old. I am not sure how I got here in my short 23 years of life. Is it possible I woke up one morning and instead of singing in the shower to the latest pop tune, I just turned on CNN and eagerly watched the news, without even noticing? I guess it has all been downhill since the 6th grade when I became obsessed with Readers’ Digest. While all my friends read 17 and Teen People, I read financial tips for heading into retirement and health pointers for pre-menopausal women – both staples for Readers’ Digest. What am I supposed to read while I retire? I guess there is always the large font edition – what a treat!

I am also beginning to display the characteristic signs of technology-pobia. For example, the new application for iPhones, HeyTell, I just can’t seem to figure out. So far it has been described to me as an audio text message or a walkie-talkie. First of all, doesn’t and audio text defeat the purpose of text messaging? As for the walkie-talkie description, do people actually use them still? I have yet to hear a sensible reason for jumping on the bandwagon. As I continue to push back against the forward momentum of technology I am reminded of how much I sound like my mom and her adamant claim that text messages wouldn’t catch on. While on the subject of text messaging another trend I don’t understand is the use of an excessive amount of pictures accompanying a message. Is it supposed to be cute or actually add to the message? When a response of “see you soon” is accompanied by a myriad of symbols like a smiley face (or what I can only assume is a combination of a smiling, laughing and possibly gagging animated character), a car and a building, am I to assume you are happy about meeting me at a building which you will get to via car? There are too many options, and not enough time or energy to read between the lines, or pictures, to figure it out.

Finally, I am ashamed to admit this; I have resorted to wearing sensible shoes. Gasp! Gone are the days where I dreamed about walking down the marble halls in Christian Louboutin’s or Jimmy Choo’s. Those dreams vanished after I fell down the stairs not once, but twice. I have become the queen of flats and shoes with good arch support. The only thing I have left to look forward to are Dr. Scholl’s insoles and the solid black shoes with the Velcro on top. Bring on the Aerosoles and socks that stick out awkwardly above the top of the shoe.

Since it appears to be 9:45pm it is time for me to go to bed and put on my night cream, flannel nightgown, matching slippers and silently curse the youngins next door who play their guitar late into the night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trend-less in New York

I have never been cool. I wore Limited Too until I was in 9th grade. I once showed up to cheerleading practice in my band uniform. I fall down the stairs at work. Heck, I envied all kids with glasses and braces – yes, at the same time – while I was growing up.

This past weekend two of my best friends and I went to New York City to soak up the Christmas spirit until it was oozing from our pores. Saturday night, after seeing the Rockettes, we had dinner reservations at a trendy New York eatery – Tao. The 10:30pm reservations were past my bedtime - a surefire sign I was not cool enough for the crowd I was about to encounter. Yawning, I walk into the restaurant and am immediately aware of how out of place I was.

People were everywhere, music was blaring and there was some man walking around playing the bongo drum. I wasn’t completely sure if he worked for the restaurant or it was a new trend like small purses with puppies in them or adopting children from exotic foreign countries.

Everyone in the room was lacking a good amount of clothing. Most girls were wearing less clothing than I wear to the beach. Apparently, dressing for the below freezing temperatures was not the trendy thing to do. Once again, missed that memo. In the sea of sparkles and stilettos, in I came with multiple pairs of tights on, socks, boots, a corduroy skirt and my Michelin man North Face jacket. I think I wore a very similar outfit in my kindergarten school picture. You would have been hard pressed to find any section of bare skin on me.

After finally settling into a tiny couch with one of those tiny tables, which is an illusion to make all the tiny entrees and tiny drinks look bigger, the waitress came over to take our order. I am used to being asked to see my ID. I know I look like I am 18 years old. Obviously, the waitress did not believe me, and in the dimly lit restaurant decided to first light a candle, then hold it up to my face to thoroughly examine if I was who I claimed to be - effectively causing the whole restaurant to look over. Awesome.

I have felt uncool in many situations in my life. I have showed up to parties in costume when it was not a costume party. I commonly spill food on myself. Unfortunately, those past experiences pale in comparison to my dinner at Tao. I am not cut out to be trendy, coat-less in the cold and decked out head to toe (or just more in strategic locations) in sparkles. Looks like you never outgrow your uncoolness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Metro Maddness

Riding the metro for an hour each day has taught me one thing: we need a book on metro etiquette. Like people in their cars who forget you can see them at a red light picking their nose, people on the metro seem to forget the other riders in the car can see them and all their weird personal habits. If it isn’t enough to dodge pesky tourists who clog the doors, weave through the crowd of zombied individuals to make it onto the correct train, then slide around people to secure a seat (facing forward for me since I seem to get a tad metro-sick), now I have to put up with “Miss I Overslept” putting on her make-up or “Little Miss Ashy” slathering on some violet smelling lotion. For those considerate enough to finish their personal hygiene rituals at home, other forms of passing the time are just as apropos.

To all the readers out there who take their morning commute to pick up a book or newspaper, I am quite jealous since I get a little motion sick. By now I could have probably mastered a foreign language, learned to knit or solved world hunger in all my free reading time. However, to the readers out there who choose to read some racy Harlequin romance, I can see you and I am laughing at you. These are the people who think by keeping their book close to their chest no one can see what is in it. Well last time I checked, all the covers of Mark Twain’s books had the characters fully clothed. You aren’t tricking anyone.

Finally, under no condition is there any reason for any display of PDA. The last thing I want to do when headed home from a long day of work is get stuck behind two high school lovers making out in the seat in front of me. I don’t care if in the movies it is cute to kiss underground. Newsflash: it is not cute – and not helping my motion sickness – to watch you macking the whole way home. The other form is the twenty-something couple who can’t keep their hands off each other while standing in the aisle. Just a thought honey, maybe you could stop falling at every lurch of the car if you took your hands out of his back pocket.

Riding the metro is a contact sport requiring mental preparation and physical agility. In order to secure the seat, avoid the making out tweens, miss the guy carrying the Indian takeout and circumvent the tourists with the matching t-shirts and fanny packs, you must be prepared.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What's On Your Mind...

Facebook has become the equivalent of the psychiatrist’s couch. Forget the doctor patient confidentiality, which is only a legal barrier preventing outsiders from commenting or “liking” what you are going though. This social networking site circumvents this potential lawsuit and brings your sorrows, complaints and joy to the forefront of the World Wide Web. It broadcasts your thoughts, fears and accomplishments, all neatly tied up with an emoticon at the end of the normally over-punctuated, run-on sentence.

The reasoning behind this self-deprecating behavior escapes me. Obviously if you are lamenting about a boyfriend with a Beyonce inspired rhetoric, you aren’t doing it for the cathartic release; you are doing it to be comforted by your cyber buddies. Each comment expressing an ‘OMG’ or ‘WTH’ mends one’s online persona, and ticks off another one of the elements in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

This new trend of public full disclosure has gotten a little extreme. I mean when do you stop? It is obviously socially acceptable to detail intimate details on your status updates. My favorite updates include personal struggles that you have overcome and couldn’t do it without the support of your friends XOXO (insert winky face here), or how you should have never taken back your deadbeat, low life, cheating boyfriend, even though you are still “facebook official” (insert angry face here).

However, there is also a contingency of facebook-ers, which deliberately write with the intention to lead the reader on. If you are going to hint at the disastrous details of your life in 140 characters, forget about it. You aren’t going to entice me to pick up the phone and cry with you, or drop by your house with a pint of ice cream. Instead, your short hand glimpse of your psyche is only begging others to comment asking “what?!” or “call me.” No! There is no such thing as a half-hearted, soul bearing post. You are either all in or completely out. Anything less will result in me stalking you, your friends, your friends friends, and all related blogs to find out what you are whining about. Your ambivalent attitude toward life has turns me from a normally curious girl into a Google master, able to uncover the obscure details of your publically posted hint at a miserable life.

So, if we have gone this far in the facebook world – the point of no return in my opinion – we should just go all the way with what we tell to our closest 1451 friends plus all those in our network. If you are willing to share your intimate emotional details, then buck up and bare it all. For example, before your next colonoscopy no one cares about the fluff updates stating you are “so scared” and “want happy thoughts sent your way ;).” I want the in the weeds, dirty details. Inappropriate you say, I say you parading your feelings all over my newsfeed is inappropriate and as equally disgusting as the side effects of that nasty drink they make you gulp down.

Listen up all you facebook junkies: Lay off the computer and invest in a person, shrink, pet or imaginary friend. I am tired of dissecting your over punctuated, smiley face laden posts dripping in comment begging wording. Until you are ready to describe every facet of your next root canal then you better be ready to quit pounding out pathetic updates.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tiaras, Tears and Awesome TV

I dream of sparkles, lace and diamonds, hairspray wafting though the air and the chaotic frenzy of a team of doting women stressing over hair, make-up and nails. I want the full glitz and the fake teeth; I want to be on Toddlers and Tiaras!

TLC seems to have run out of already obscure ideas for television shows. You would think after a line-up of shows focused on families with an obscene amount of children, the creation of cakes, cupcakes or chocolate, those of short stature, or any combination thereof, there could not be any worse programming. Alas, they have done it by airing a show focusing on delusional mothers living vicariously through their young children parading around in feathers, sparkles and a spray on tan only the cast of Jersey Shore would be proud of.

These pageants are held in back rooms of hotels that make the Waco La Quinta look like a four start resort. With dark lighting, a small stage and a backdrop that looks like it was painted by drunk elves, its no wonder the crowd it brings out has the grammatical accuracy of a third grader – and I am talking about the moms, not the children. These contestants range in age from 10 months to adult, yes adult. The day always seems to start with the mom stressing out about the “glitz” range of the event. Is it low glitz – or over made up flower girl? Is it medium glitz – reminiscent of a young, under developed Dolly Parton? Or - my favorite - full glitz? To be able to compete in full glitz, you better be ready to bust out the fake teeth, weave of curls and a dress that makes a Vegas dancer swoon.

Behind every little pageant girl is an over obsessive, competitive and ridiculously intrusive stage mom. They choreograph their child’s act, dance behind the judging panel to remind their daughter of the Brittney Spears inspired dance moves or don their own floor length formal dress to compete along side her youngster in the attempt to fulfill her wildest dreams. They congregate in groups and gossip about the other competitors’ mistakes, and bring complete “beauty teams” to cover up their five year old's facial flaws. They grasp hands with other mothers and cry tears of joy when their daughter manages to walk 5 yards across a stage dressed a dollar store Barbie. They do all this in the pursuit of a crown and a title or maybe the possibility of landing their kid a spot on a future season of Celebrity Rehab.

Speaking of the crown and title, the awards ceremony is the dumbest part of this ostentatious money trap of a hobby. Somehow everyone manages to walk away with some gaudy, rein stone encrusted crown or title. I sure pity the girl who wins best hair, I mean come on, its probably not even real and most time it looks like they stuck their finger in a socket. Another personal favorite: “Best Personality” for the 8-12 month age division. This seems like an obscure category to judge. How can personality be judged on sleeping, slobbering or pooping?

These pageants are not for the girls, they are for the moms who dream of being able to fit in single digit sized dresses and not have to mask their natural hair color with drug store quality dye. So to all the mothers out there parading their children around in rainbow sherbet inspired balls of tulle, I give you the award of “Most Likely to be Raising a Future Playboy Bunny.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yoga is Stressing Me Out

Today a good friend convinced me to go to a yoga class. I have heard the benefits and read the testimonials, and heck I am practically an expert after taking a semester of it at Baylor – or excuse me, taking a semester of rest and relaxation at Baylor.

I was pretty confident going into today’s class. I would consider myself more flexible than most people my age and ready to show off. My ego was quickly burst when I showed up and realized I was the only one not properly outfitted in spandex and lycra. There was so much spandex in that room it would make a volleyball team jealous. My Nike shorts and lime green shirt stood out, and apparently tennis shoes were frowned upon as well.

I knew I was going to regret doing this when the teacher who had about .4% body fat, wildly black hair, and such a strong Russian accent, which could put Putin to shame, waltzed into the room.

She started out by leading us in breathing exercise. I pride myself in being a very efficient breather, but her KGB-esque commands made me doubt my skills. The calm breathing was stressing me out. I found myself holding my breath just so I didn’t breathe out of rhythm with rest of the breathing experts.

Next, we went on to poses. I am sorry, but congratulating me for standing on one leg is a bit unnecessary. I used to get a high by standing on one leg, on a 4 inch wide beam, 5 ft in the air while throwing myself backwards – her words of affirmation were a tad insulting. While twisting and contorting myself I also realized I am way too competitive for yoga. Supposedly, you are supposed to look inward, center your chi and relax. I, on the other had, enjoyed secretly competing with the other people around me. I made sure to notice if my leg was straighter than the others or I was able to raise myself off the ground higher than everyone else. I only wish yoga had some sort of scoring system so I could be certain I dominated everyone in the downward dog or inverted triangle.

Finally, we did some “cool down” (why, I don’t know since its not like we ever broke a sweat) poses while lying down. This presented a problem since I could no longer see her and follow along Simon-says style mimicking her movements. At this point, I was relatively certain she was actually speaking Russian. It was a disaster.

The class concluded with the infamous “conscientious relaxation.” This makes me very uncomfortable because no one has explicitly said what to do. Do you lay with your eyes open or closed? Where do your hands go? Do you have to lay on your back? Instead of relaxing in the last 5 minutes I end up worrying about if I am lying correctly. Then I turn into an ADD child. I notice the red blinking light on the ceiling. Why is it blinking? What if there is an emergency? We are two stories underground, do the sirens work down here? I wonder what the people in the rest of the gym are doing. Why is the teacher walking over in my direction? What is she doing pushing people’s shoulders down? Ahh, here she comes to me. Eyes open or closed? Have I plucked my eyebrows? Do I hold my breath? Phew, she is gone.

I feel like I have been violated by an 85-pound Russian, and now I more stressed than when I arrived. I quickly slink out of the dance room, and try to dodge the conversation of all the other participants on how refreshed they feel. At this point I am not even sure we were in the same class. Wearily I trudge out the door, back to ground level and into a world where you can breathe at your own speed and not be chastised.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We are Millennials

Hello, my name is Rebekah, and I am a millennial. We are a unique generation. We were pushed, encouraged, and coddled. We were told not to just join clubs, teams and organizations, but to run them, lead them, and change them. We grew to expect A’s on assignments, trophies for participation, and pats on the back for a good job – we love gratification. We were told we could be whatever we wanted to be when we grew up.

Now that I am grown up, I feel gypped.

All the parenting 101 books that lectured parents to bring their children up in this manner should be burned. This mantra did not stimulate us - it stifled us. To be whatever we wanted subliminally meant to also be better, smarter and more successful than others in our class. Instead of broadening our horizons it shrunk them, made us afraid of failure and encouraged us to choose professions that were not too difficult or had a small chance of flat out disaster.

In first grade our class was given a huge piece of butcher paper and told to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote I wanted to be president. (Side note: I actually wanted to write ballerina, but I couldn’t spell it – fear of failure from an early age- and chose an easier to spell profession.) The words littering the page ranged from astronauts to doctors to professional football players. In first grade we had already drank the ‘be all you can be ‘ kool-aid. We didn’t know as first graders how difficult to achieve and how unlikely are dreams actually were.

So instead of stretching our imaginations we set ourselves up for failure. To overcome that feeling, we pushed ourselves harder or tailored our dreams to make them more achievable. Not to discredit the professions we “downgraded” to, but as we grew older, our dreams shrank. The astronauts became pilots, doctors became nurses and Presidential hopefuls, well, we just realized it was a little beyond reach.

As a person who has just achieved the rank of “grown up” I think we, as a generation, are disoriented. We are still looking for the ‘A’ to prove we are successful, or a ribbon to prove we are number one. The high standards that were set for us now seem unattainable from the bottom. As our dreams shrink so does our future, and that is scary.

We are used to being the best. We are scared of failure. We are uncomfortable. We are lost. We are millennials.