Monday, October 7, 2013

Vienna Waits

“Slow down you crazy child.  You’re so ambitious for a juvenile” It’s like Billy Joel knew what a hot mess we’d be by the year 2013, and he wanted to make sure there would be an epic song about it to provide future 20 somethings with some perspective.  Or, more likely, we’re the latest in a long line of generations hell bent on pissing their youth away, and not even one of the worlds greatest musicians can teach us to take a beat.

In the last couple of months I’ve read every numbered list about all the things I, as a 28 year old single woman in America, am doing wrong.  "7 things to make you happier at work", "21 things single women need to stop doing", "25 things single women need to start doing", "40 reasons my generation is terrible", "100 people in my generation who are ragingly more successful/happier/prettier/smarter/funnier than me".  I can’t stop myself from scanning these lists and suffering the exact opposite of their intended publication.  I don’t feel empowered or relaxed, or content.  I feel like a big fat failure.  But, when Mr. Joel kindly tells me I’m “doing fine”  somehow I get it, and the world is not such an overwhelming place.  So, please ignore the other lists and join me in acknowledging these simple truths:

  • You can't be everything you want to be before your time
  • Only fools are satisfied
  • Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true

And above all, before anything else, Vienna waits for you.

Lyrics from Billy Joel’s “Vienna”, 1977
Slow down, you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
You've got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day
But you know that when the truth is told..
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
Slow down, you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad but it's the life you lead
you're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong, you know
You can't always see when you're right. you're right
You've got your passion, you've got your pride
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
Slow down, you crazy child
and take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
it's all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize,..Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
that you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
Why don't you realize,. Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Come Fly With Me

Have you ever thought while at the airport “Wow this process is enjoyable, well organized, and reasonably executed!”?  Of course not.   I have a theory that what we know as modern day air travel was originally designed by the military as some form of psychological torture, the blueprints for which accidentally landed on someone’s desk at the department of transportation. Let’s address the current situation and my recommended adjustments, shall we? “Oh yes, let’s!”, you say and we hold hands and skip over to a picnic in the park*

The check-in counter: I don’t care where I’m going; Paris!  Rome! Sheboygan! How lovely it would be for the ticket agent to feign, for the briefest of moments, a shred of excitement.  “Oh Isn’t that nice, you’ll  have so much fun”! would be a pleasant way to start me on my journey but alas the robot behind the desk only offers a grunt and the briefest of gestures toward the gate.

The security line: Off to a not so great start, I next approach the security line.   The gate agents screaming instructions on loop seem not to have noticed that I am two feet away and fully prepared.  My shoes are removed! Do you not see the well organized 1 quart Zip-Loc bag in my hand?  If anyone out there associated with the TSA is reading this, please be informed that we are not all deaf. I don’t know how you got this impression.  Is there a morning meeting where you’re fed this lie?  “hey by the way, again today, every single person coming to this airport is deaf, every last one.  So, go ahead and continue to scream at them when they are directly in front of you”.  This is inaccurate and you should really check your sources.  

Oh but perhaps my theory is wrong.  Maybe the security agents are shouting so that, at some point during the 30 minute wait, even the least observant nitwit will realize that bottle of Fiji water is not making it through the checkpoint.  I’ve got a solution for that too.  Airports should start charging an idiot tax for anyone who’s unprepared by the time they reach the front of the line.  It could even be fun for the rest of us.  Picture it; once the non-compliant is standing on the yellow foot markers for the body scan, a voice announces their ineptitude over an intercom.  We fellow travelers waiting our turn can sing along to a catchy tune about the perils of burdening society as the belt-wearing, liquids-over-3-ounces carrying fool is directed to the idiot tax payment booth.  

Airport Food: I’m past security, my shoes are tied and the next thing that greets me is a great hall of neon signage and the wafting scent of meat by-products sizzling in vats of oil.  It’s a never ending sea of overpriced, refined starch, binge-inducing garbage calling my name. In the perfect world my solution would be to have Jillian Michaels standing in front of the Auntie Anne’s counter yelling “Don’t do it, you’re gonna regret it in like 5 minutes” and, when I buy that butter laden caloric endeavor anyway, running to the other end of the counter to  tackle me before I can take a bite. I realize that Jillian is only one woman and this is obviously not a scalable solution, which is why I propose installing Jillian Michaels life size plasma screens in front of every Auntie Anne’s.  

Strangely enough, missing from the menu of every airport I’ve ever been to, is coffee.  Airports don’t have coffee.  They have vats of hot dark swill that they pour into coffee cups but no actual liquid I’d define as the stuff.  I’m sorry but airport coffee is the Taco Bell ground beef of hot caffeinated beverages.  It’s disgusting, but we still consume it while lying to ourselves about what’s really inside, clinging to a thin veil of ignorance that’s just one 20/20 special away from being ripped to shreds.  My solution is to not watch that exposé when it comes out.  I just can’t risk a confined space for an extended amount of time with no caffeine.

On-board the aircraft: As for the experience once I’m actually on the plane, I think we could all spend the better part of the next decade commiserating, but that’s not a great use of anyone’s time. So, in rapid succession, just the actionable items that will contribute to the general sanity of travelers in society:

  • Leave the cologne/perfume out of your morning routine on travel day, I know you think it smells nice in a “subtle” way and people like it but it doesn’t, and we don’t.
  • Gentleman, I can say with scientific certainty that, whatever you may be carrying between your legs, it does not require you to spread your knees halfway into the seat to either side.  I paid for all of my seat, I expect to be able to use all of it.
  • I get that your sweet Johnny is a wee little one, and he’s not accustomed to confined spaces but perhaps you could refrain from allowing him to run up and down the aisles arms flailing.  The first five seconds of his menacingly gleeful squeal were cute but the twenty minutes following had me wondering whether my insurance would pay to get my tubes tied, and I’ve spent the last ten reminding myself that binding and gagging a toddler is simply not the Christian thing to do.

I think that about does it. I strongly encourage the forwarding of this information to any fellow travelers you may know, leaders in the aviation industry, or Kinkos for mass order lamination and distribution at your local airport.  Thanks for flying.

* yaaaa about that, there’s no picnic.  I’m not even sitting next to you...ya weirdo.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kids These Days: The early twenty-somethings

Let’s take some time to talk about what self obsessed, media guzzling mooches these little bastards are, and why I have no use for them.

First of all, kids in their early 20’s remind me I’m no longer in mine, which immediately makes them horrible little beasts.  Secondly they have essentially no knowledge of a world without internet which means they are not only disinclined, but more or less incapable of forming original thoughts or functioning without a constant stream of validation.  Still, I wouldn’t really mind them were it not for the societal burden these attention seeking, uber indulgent monsters force us to bear. You see, they’re not content living exclusively in their culturally void filth.  They frequently mingle with the rest of us in the most uncouth of ways.  They’ve derived a sub-language intended to reduce everyone’s IQ by a minimum of 20 points, and they openly carry on conversations with the rest of us, carlessely flinging these pollutants out at whim as casually as if they were saying hello.   I find this abhorrent.  

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s likely you yourself have recently exited your teens.  I’ve compiled a short list of examples for your education:

“Presh”: There is nothing precious about your idiocy.

“YOLO”: You’re going to live short if I hear you yell this one more time, particularly when paired with a sideways peace sign. That hipster garb came from Nordstrom, you’re fooling no one.

“Def”: I wish I was deaf so I could definitely avoid hearing you lazily shorten this word.

“Bestie”: As in your “bestie” is totally about to steal your boyfriend AND your favorite shoes AND never talk to you again, which you deserve.

“Totes”: If I had a tote full of rocks I would totally swing it at you right now.

Additionally, I’m sorry your company’s stock went down 10% but you’re 22, you barely know what stock is.  Really, what impact does this have on your life?  You’ll have to order the Bud Light instead of the microbrew?  This is not cause for concern.  And I’ve heard you singing those songs of self-praise given you’re a trilingual ivy league graduate, but I got that email you accidentally cc’ed EVERYONE YOU KNOW on, and I recall you not being able to figure out how to change the little light bulb in your refrigerator so I’m going to have to ask you to sit down and shut the hell up.

Yep, kids these days are horrible foolish dimwits.  They juice cleanse and then binge on Jack in the Box.  They post environmental rants via one of the 8 devices sucking electricity out of their wall. They whine and obsess and mope and complain, and they think the world owes them something.  Basically they’re me with faster metabolisms and better skin... and I hate them for it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Reasons I Didn’t Go to My Ten Year Reunion

Ah the high school reunion, a time when grown adults flock to their hometowns in a last ditch effort to relive glory days that weren’t really all that glorious, and reconnect with people they purposely lost touch with during college.   

Ten years ago, I walked across a stage and accepted a diploma from the state of New york, slightly perturbed the half-wit at the podium couldn’t pronounce my name, but otherwise pretty jazzed I’d made it through without any form of nervous breakdown, incarceration, pregnancy scare or regrettable piercing.  And every day of the last decade has more or less been a celebration of the closure of that chapter of my life. Still, when I got the invite to my ten year reunion, I considered going.  Maybe it would be nice to reconnect after all, perhaps I’d forgotten some glory days I was in need of remembering.  So, I hopped online to check airfare to good ‘ole hometown USA and, after wondering what one of my kidneys would fetch on the black market, decided it just wasn’t worth the holiday weekend airfare.  I did my due diligence though, and came up with as many reasons not to go, as there are years since I graduated.  Without further ado, I give you:

10 Reasons I Didn’t Go to My Ten Year Reunion

1.  I wasn’t really popular.  I didn’t run track or organize school dances or run for student body president. There weren’t an overwhelming number of people to reminisce with.

2.  I wasn’t really unpopular: I don’t have anything to prove.  I can’t recall a single person in whose face I’d like to rub my general success.  They’re probably out there, but I’ve long since forgotten them.  Which brings me to my next point.

3.  I don’t remember people:  Of my entire graduating class I think I can list 20 people.  Even if you put my yearbook in front of me I think I might be able to string a memory to a face with another 10.   Dear people I’ve forgotten:  It’s not that you’re forgettable per se, I have just forgotten you.  I doubt this fact impacts you in any meaningful way.  

4.  I hate pretending I do remember people. There are only so many times I can call people “hun” and glance at their nametag before someone catches on.  Which doesn’t matter anyway because after cocktail four I’d  just start telling people I had no idea who they were.  That’s not a good look for me.

5.  I don’t care about your kids:  This one is going to sting a little, but I don’t.  Please don’t misunderstand,  If we are currently friends, I care about your kids.  I’m not completely heartless, but if we were lab partners 12 years ago, I don’t care that little Johnny just took his first steps, I just don’t.  8 photos in I am not suddenly going to realize what a miracle he has been in your life.  

6.  I”m not a raging success:  I  won't lie to you, if I actually had invented Post-Its, hell yes I would be at that reunion because who doesn’t love a moment of celebrity?  As it stands I’m doing fairly well for myself. I’ve lost some weight, my credit score is in the pre-qualified-for-lots-of-stuff-I-don’t-need range , and I finally figured out what to do with my hair.  But none of these changes really qualifies for a FOX reality tv special.  If there aren’t going to be any spotlights or velvet curtains really, what’s the point?

7.  There are too many potential drinking games: “I can’t believe it’s been ten years” heard 20 or so times becomes necessarily acknowledged with tequila shots.  Strangers become friends, friends become enemies, someone calls the cops, and it’s all my fault for starting the whole damn thing.   I have made it 28 years without so much as a parking ticket.  I’d like to keep that streak going.  

8.  There’s no long lost love I was hoping to rekindle: No high school sweetheart, no unspoken crush, no “special friend” I was looking to go all Dawson’s Creek on.  Kids, if you’re reading this, the CW has been lying to you.  You have a better chance of getting hit by lightening than experiencing any of these scenarios.  

9.  I’m still a little afraid of being a grown up: I don’t have a mortgage, or a husband, or children siphoning off the lion’s share of my shoe fund, and out here in sunny California that’s pretty normal for someone my age, but at my reunion there would be, lying in waiting, a concentrated group of people my EXACT AGE who have all of these things, and I am terrified of facing them.  

10.  There wasn’t any dancing The modern sitcom has taught us that reunions include a Saturday night dance ala high school standard procedure but it turns out almost no one does this anymore and this point  just put me over the edge.  Reasons 1-9 I could maybe get over, but If I couldn’t spend too much money on a cocktail dress I may never wear again for the sole purpose of looking good in front of people I couldn’t even remember, while dancing to music I most likely now hate, then I just couldn’t justify going to a reunion.

For all my fellow 2003 graduates, congratulations on making it through a decade of the real world.  With any luck, I’ll find 20 reasons I should go to our 20 year reunion, and I’ll see ya then.