Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: I Was 27 I Was Sure I Was Growing Pains Like Lead in my Feet

Firstly, doesn't my brother look just like Michael Cera? I saw this article about Cera in the times today and it reminded me of this important thought, one of many important thoughts I have in my head every single day:
Anyhow, onto the Sunday Top Ten on the topic of aging. During my oft-discussed tenure at the Olive Garden Times Square I dated an older man. I was 18 -- a young spry maiden in the fresh poppy fields of her youth -- and he was 27; a freshly divorced law student. I've never been so acutely aware of what it meant to be my age as I was then -- "18" was imposed upon me like a personality trait, and it was the focal point of many relationship discussions with Mr. 27. Consequently 27 has become, in my mind, the age at which one becomes "older." 27 is the age at which I arbitrarily decided people became old enough to have their shit together.

18 was a good age to be. Ripe and on the cusp of something grown-up and fabulous but still charming. Now I'm 27, when youth loses its charm and becomes an old old song in need of a DJ Carlytron Mega-mix. Have I gotten my shit together? Obvs no, I was closer to having my shit together in 2003. But today I spent four hours in high heels, fishnets, gold-hot pants, a corset, and a giant blonde wig and insane drag queen makeup for a sex blogger calendar shoot. I mean who would've guessed? That's way better than a mortgage [which I just had to look up as I don't know how to spell it], which I hear aren't good investments these days anyhow. I'm gonna be whatever month Hedwig and the Angry Inch copulated with Celene Dion and birthed a spry shimmery Mousekeeter named autowin. So that's something.

See I progressed at a highly abnormal rate most of my life. Reading before kindergarten, writing novels before the invention of computers as I was born in the land before time. I started researching colleges and taking myself seriously as a professional something before I even went through puberty. I tried to get into college a year early but my Mom was like "No way, Josè." Basically I was on a fast-track and was convinced that if I didn't go straight to Manhattan at 18 and make it STAT, I'd let the best years of my life pass me by. I slowed down a little bit after that.
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Sunday Top Ten: When I'm 27



[stephen nibbot ]
10. Married!
I figured, at 18, that I had about 10 years of effortless sveltehood and charm left. My high school sweetheart had praised me for making him feel "like a boy again," and my 27-year-old paramour said I was "immature" and "SO 18." I wanted to keep that up.

See -- obvs I intended to spend my Cialis years in a perpetual never-never land of processed snack foods, vodka, carrot cake, anachronistic footwear and My So-Called Life marathons, so I knew I'd have to get married before I began that phase of my life so that I'd be settled in with my fried chicken babies and therefore rendered unleave-able at the precise moment I'd become unbearable and plump. I'd sit on the couch with my nuggets of children, reading great literature out loud like everything was a fairy tale and my husband would be like "I'd divorce that bitch, but she won't get off the couch," and then I'd be like, "go eat a apple pie!"

Instead I just went gay.1 Marriage is illegal and "letting yourself go" is de rigeour, so I'm good to go.
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9. Live in an unbearably cute apartment on a cute tree-lined block.

I think I've been over this a few times already.
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8. Be a fabulously successful writer, associate editor at New York Magazine, the next new thing prize-winning young novelist, news journalist a la Lois Lane or have started my own magazine, which is still my number one dream, although it's now starting my own online magazine, obvs.
Reality: 2nd Place in the Hot Blogger Calendar Contest, 2nd place in the Lesbian Blog of the Year, 2nd place in the 50-yard dash 1990.
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7. Have a savings account with actual money in it
I think I'm going to start one before I turn 28.
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6. Enter a fabulous job market, flash my diploma all the way to the top.

When I was applying for schools in '98-'99, the future wasn't just bright, it was blinding. Kids like me -- smart, well-read, completely pretentious asshats from academically inclined families -- believed the world was totally our Oyster 2.0 and we were gonna grab it by the horns and make sweet love to it, call it performance art, and collect our big fat checks. Within two years of matriculation, the world became a very different place. Also there's just a lot of us now. Like, by the numbers? A lot of kids in the city who want the same things.

My best friends were entering schools to study the following trades: acting, art history, directing theater, piano, set design, poetry, filmmaking, violin, modern dance, women's studies, etc.

When I transferred to University of Michigan to get a B.A. in English Literature, I thought I was being really fucking responsible, 'cause I'd left Sarah Lawrence where I'd planned to shell out $160,000 to get a degree in "Liberal Arts." In retrospect I should've learned a trade I could stick my hands in like they had in the Olden Days before the economy was invented, like basket-weaving or glassblowing.
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5. Some version, however abstract, of the [Artist]'s American Dream. Warhol-ish. Obama-ish
And maybe that's what I like about Obama. That he seems to believe in the dream we were sold -- the dream of a meritocracy. But our government for the past 8 years hasn't been a meritocracy, it's been some bizarre combination of theocracy and aristocracy. Bush wasn't even elected, but his arm weilded its power and the people fell in line.
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4. Have massive amounts of ass-kicking fun/adventures!

You know what I just fully wholly 100% realized just now is that in the mess of things that so many things have become over the years, there's also the other things, as in, all the things I never ever thought I'd have the chance to do in a million trillion years that I've done in the time between then and now, like some of the purest funnest fucking fun I've ever had like ever. So much fun, seriously, so much fun. Crazy fun. A dream world for everyone involved so much of the time, but maybe that's what makes it feel like so much magic, laughable magic ... that so many times, if you closed your eyes and tapped your shoes it could be a dream world that beat the hell out of any other dream worlds I've known. Years of memories of adventures burning way too bright to last the night, but believing every time that it would was half the fun.
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3. Watch Amèlie
I bought Ameliè in like 2002 I think, 'cause I thought I would watch it on my laptop on our way home from Ohio one Thanksgiving. Unfortunately my boyfriend was being an asshole and said it would be rude for me to do that when I could just be awake listening to him annoy me with assholery. Now I'll never watch it, 'cause it has subtitles and that means I'll be doing two things at once, which makes it hard to do yet another thing, like write my blog or clean my room , while I "watch" the movie.
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2. Get a six-pack

I think I want more apple strudel.
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1. Have health insurance

SCORE! Howevs, if I ever accomplish any of the other things on my list, I'll stop qualifying for my health insurance. You win some, you auto-lose some. Vote Obama! Then we'll all get health insurance!

1 I still identify as bisexual but often play with facts for the purpose of a good sentence. Even for a mediocre sentence. The point is that we're all queers, labels are for pineapples that have labels on them. Cans of pineapple.

18 comments:

Crystal said...

I too have had Amelie in my possession for many years and have never watched it. And similarly, it's the subtitles that prevent me from pressing Play every time.

Also, damn your government and their disregard for citizens' health. Australia has free health insurance for all. Just reason #100 why you should relocate here one day, fyi, etc.

Mercury said...

Don't confuse Obama with Hilary.

I notice you say you went gay and I think up until this point you were defending your continued status as bisexual despite the fact that you haven't divulged anything related to dating a man since you started the blog... up until... like... right now...

Also 27 I think is a fab age because you're far enough into your 20s to not be Stupid anymore but far enough away from 30 to not have to be 30 or think that "if I want kids I have to have them NOW like yesterday", while your friends who had kids when they were 20, those kids are 10, and you think they'll make excellent babysitters.

And I'm serious about the stupid part. young people are really stupid. I'd boycott or something but I can't... for another maybe 10 years.

That line was hysterical, I laughed and I might have cried from laughing, or maybe I imagined that part: When I was applying for schools in '98-'99, the future wasn't just bright, it was blinding. Kids like me -- smart, well-read, completely pretentious asshats from academically inclined families -- believed the world was totally our Oyster 2.0 and we were gonna grab it by the horns and make sweet love to it, call it performance art, and collect our big fat checks.

That one. See, I wasn't one of those kids, even though my dad really wanted me to be, I was seriously like "Fuck that shit, that's not gonna get me anywhere," because My mother had told me, "Rachel, fuck that shit, it won't get you anywhere," because she tried it, and it didn't, and nobody was more intelligent or more determined than my mother.

She spared me some pain, I think.

I love how you talk about being 18, too. Quite accurately, almost like it was less than almost a decade ago.

The worst part is when people who are your friends who are 20 turn 21. This keeps happening to me, like I trade out 21-year-old friends for more 20-year-old friends, until they expire too. and by expire I obviously mean are old enough to have better things to do than hang out with me.

anyways, awesome post as always,
send my love to tinkerbell

stef said...

hello, i wish i could leave comments as some sort of stuffed animal but the only stuffed animals i have are my giant microbes and i think it would be weird if i left a comment like 'hello marie, this is ebola.'

anyway we have discussed previously our feelings about how we were totally promised these kick-ass successful adulthoods and look at us now - under employed and floatin' around, but obviously very wise and interesting and otherwise exciting. 27 is a good year, it's the year a lot of rock stars die at the height of awesomeness/heroin addiction. if there's one thing i can recommend for you, it's to not pick up a heroin addiction this year (if at all possible).

i think you'd like amelie. you sort of forget you're watching subtitles within five minutes of watching it.

Oo Lynnie oO said...

this coming friday: when i turn 20

anything you wanted to do at 20 but didnt? i could do some for ya. or even before 20. I've got a few days left.

for the record, i think 27 is a very attractive number, as far as numbers go

Anonymous said...

I personally think that winning 2nd place in the lesbian blog of the year contest (and winning an award from the International Hyperhydrosis Society, for that matter!) is much, much sassier than working for new york magazine. Just sayin’
xx
-natalie

autumn m said...

i thought i would be in school and working towards a great career at age 21, but im not, and i seem to work and drink way to much. life is totally not what i expected, someone lied to me and gave me a false impression of what it should be. they should be shot for it. false hope sucks.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Amelie is a happy movie. And the rare one that can draw a spit take while discussing crack and abortions.

I think Riese at 27 is kinda awesome, for what that's worth.

Also, Like O, Like H in your guttttttttttt.

burningsteady said...

I had a roommate my senior year of undergrad who was twenty-seven and did a series of perpetual-loser things. As much as the drama of living with her sucked, it's been nice to have that place-marker. Don't suck. Don't suck. Don't suck. I have a year and a half to prove my non-suckatude and worthwhile-ness, lest I wind up like the roommate.

riese said...

crystal: Maybe if we turned up the music really loud and put on Amelie, we could pretend it was a music video about a charming little french girl. I think we're the only civilized country with no health insurance and illegal prostitution. Holler America, the Christian Country.

mercury: Well, Obama will have a plan to get health insurance to everyone, it just won't be free. It'll be better than the current system I imagine. I think I say I'm gay or a homo all the time, actually ... though I added a footnote for clarification. I guess I should use the word "queer" but saying "i went gay" instead of "i am gay" i think might be different -- I use " I went gay" to imply chosing that lifestyle, rather than "i am gay" as a label to identify myself or something.

If my friends start having kids, I'm gonna totally freak out. You are wise beyond your years and therefore you are 27 in the body of a young spry maiden.

I have a late birthday too, so for me the worst part was when I was 15 and everoyne else was getting to drive. I somehow managed to exist in an ageless time warp by the time I turned 21, since I'd transferred my friends in college were a grade below me mostly, and therefore my birthday being later meant that we were all turning 21 at approximately the same time. Also there was this housewife thing I did. 20 is boring, 21 is way more fun.

tinkerbell sends her love in return: "hi rachel. this is tinkerbell. here is my love."

stef: I should've added your proactive degree in Music Management to the list of productive majors my friends studied. I dont' think I can afford heroin, and I'm not a rockstar yet. I don't know if I could get through the first five minutes. Did Kurt Cobain die at 27? I want to be Francis Bean or Piper Palin.

ooo lynnie ooo: I spent my year of 20-hood basically married in the suburbs like a 27-year-old. Clearly that was a mistake, I would suggest sleeping around and drinking heavily.

natalie: omg, I almost forgot to include the sweat drop award. thank you peaches. also i should've added that we've accomplished a lot of long-distance walking.

autumn: Yes it's all about managing expectations, though I find that the drinking helps. But hey! didn't you get a raise recently? And become a democrat?! Yah! You auto0win.

brooklyn boy: Like O like H is your favorite song by t&s, ain't it? I think of that when I listen to it now. I don't know why Amelie would do crack and have abortions, she has such a sweet face!

burningsteady: I will now repeat "don't suck" don't suck over and over to myself for weeks upon weeks. Hopefully this will lead me away from my current direction, which is heavily suck-oriented. 'Cause I don't wanna be anyone's roommate. Except Natalie's, I guess. Whee!

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Correct. And that makes me smile. Like this: =D

And because she's a deviant, clearly.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Also, I am sad my iPod is missing and I haven't been able to indulge in The Con for many moons. So Jealous just ain't the same. Though I luh-la-looove Walking with a Ghost.

Also also, I think I indulge my overall weirdness and eclecticism more in these comments than anywhere else in life. Thanks for making me comfortable.

stef said...

yes, and also jimi hendrix, jim morrison, janis joplin, others. i'm glad you can't afford heroin. crack is cheaper and you're so much more fun on it!

suze said...

after recently hitting the big 3-0 i realized i have spent a majority of my life second guessing myself. my goal for the next 30 is to be more confident in my decision making. i thoroughly enjoy the use of t&s lyrics sprinkled throughout your musing. will you ladies be seeing them this week? i can't wait for them to get out here so i can finally see them live. good luck in your 28th year.

autumn m said...

i did get a raise, and become a democrat, and i drink way to much, but that still doesnt make life not suck. just bearable. and i found out everyone who works for this company is voting republican. wanna know the reason why?? its gonna piss you off. the reason why is, this company specializes in defense, space, and medical power. so the government contracts them to make a certian part of certian "defense products" that is used to blow certian people up. since the US is invovled in ongoing conflicts, this company gets more contracts, and they make more money. therefor, if they vote for mccain, who will surely keep us at war, the products that are made will continue to be in popular demand. see, its all about the money. who cares if people are dying.... right?

Atherton Bartelby said...

I am so totally with you on the having massive amounts of ass-kicking fun / adventures thing. I've kind of nearly given up anything else, really (but PARTICULARLY on ever forcing myself to watch "Amèlie") especially since that whole "enter a fabulous job market / flash diploma all the way to the top" (oh! and "MARRIAGE!" hello!) thing didn't work out QUITE as I planned. Ha ha ha, weeping, etc.

Dave said...

I think it's weird that your mom called you Jose. I think that might've led to issues in identifying yourself and your sexuality.

Your brother looks like George Michael in that photo, but you never let anyone click on your pics so they get bigger so I can't say for sure.

I don't think we would've liked each other if we had met in high school. Heck, I know we wouldn't have liked each other. We would've had the same sexual tension that keeps our relationship spicy, that's for sure.

Now that I'm 30 and nearly 31, I realized that age in which you are no longer young is 26. Something about being closer to 30 than 20. You start just being happy you have a 2- as your first number in your age.

I think if you just stick with it you'll get famous someday. You're talented enough, but you're not one of those talented uggos that are out there. Talent + cuteness = success, just stick with it and good things will happen.

Or maybe you'll find you have cancer tomorrow. Life can be an asshole sometimes. What do I know?

riese said...

brooklyn boy: You'd really la-la-love Haviland singing Walking with a Ghost, it's the only t&s song on her playlist of songs she can sing off the cuff. And no problem, re: making you comfortable., as you know I am all about making everyone feel less alone in their total dorkdom.

stef: See, I think that feeds into my theory. Like that's when people with the energizing spirit of children realize that they aren't children anymore and get sad and off theselves. the problem with crack is it's so addictive, i'm reading an addiction memoir so.

suze: I will not be seeing them this week, I think part of being 27 is attempting some semblence of financial responsibility, or something ... though I'm sure the cartoon recap would've been priceless. 30 is my next milestone.

autumn m: somehow i find that pisses me off less than other reason -- voting mccain 'cause they want to make money at their jobs, which though it's morally wrong -- cause people are dying i guess at least that's a clear cause and effect within the limits of the law and government's reach. whereas people who are voting mccain for religious reasons or 'cause of "big government" say they don't want government to control schools and health care but they are totally cool with government making everyone in the country follow a very specific and often incorrect reading of the bible, e.g., being pro-life and anti gay marraige, etc., which is like hypocritical and wrong. I don't know if that makes sense. Everything happening on the news today is baffling!

atherton: I'm glad that no one I presently communicate with has seen Amelie. I feel like when it came out everyone had seen it but me and everyone was like, omg, you have to read it. I like to hear stories of other liberal arts grads not feeling their diploma worked as planned too. I think I need to go to ITT Tech.

dave: You're right, I also developed a bad gambling problem and was kicked out of the major leagues on account of there being no crying in baseball. Thank you for voting on the issue of my brother and george michael I am disappointed more people did not chime in on this very important issue. That sounds like a stellar formula, I am really good at solving for X so I think I just need to plug some things into some other things and then I think I will be good to go, plugging on past 30.

a;ex said...

But... but! you are married - I thought Facebook was real life! wtf!