Notes on Aging, Cont’d (Or: In Defense of Hermitude)

A couple Fridays ago, my friend A came over for a chill night in. We watched a movie, ate some snacks, contemplated a house party for about thirty seconds before deciding on bedtime instead.

The following day, Saturday, we traded texts:

Me: “Remember how I said yesterday that I might want to go out tonight? Now all I want to do is bake a cake. What is wrong with me!?”

A: “I know. The biggest decision in the past hour was to buy or not to buy lamb chops and a beautiful cookbook. Soon, cat people!”

As I wrote in my response, I have always taken minor solace, for this very reason, in the fact that I can’t stand cats.

Hours later, after drinking some wine and making banana bread with my friend C, I went to turn in. (Let us not discuss the hour.) For about ten minutes, I looked around my room–on and under the bed, in my dresser, on the chair/clothesrack beside my closet–in desperate search of my pajama pants.

It was only upon reflecting back on my day–yoga, writing, baking, etc–that it occurred to me to look down: I had never taken them off.

I have come up with a lot of explanations (read: excuses) for why I have become an almost-complete hermit lately: I need to be writing. I’m not looking for a boyfriend. Cake tastes good with earl gray tea and soy milk. It’s starting to get a tad bit chilly.

But I’ve avoided the one that A eluded to in her text: the one that involves realizing that I am getting, a little bit, kind of, maybe, you know, old.

I know: not really. As I told the man who I checked into yoga class last Sunday morning, who announced to me that he “is old” by way of requesting the senior discount: the word is relative, and kind of meaningless.

“Sometimes,” I told him, “even I feel a little old!”

And sure: it sounds funny, and absurd, in the company of a senior citizen. But in other contexts, not so much.

Such as the one in which: I found myself involved in a Facebook flirtation with a 23 year old I know from school, and ran into him at a coffee shop only to realize that we’d yet to actually flirt. You know, in person. (Welcome to the Millenials!)

Or the one in which: come the weekends, I have little desire to go out to bars, to go to parties, to do anything besides hang out with friends, in my house or theirs, drink a little wine, eat some food and watch some Netflix.

Or the one in which: walking home across campus the other day, I realized that I still think of myself as being in my “early” twenties, and have no recollection of turning that invisible corner that landed me at twenty eight.

Okay: so it isn’t just the millenials who are increasingly dependent on nonverbal communication–it’s all of us. And it probably is just a phase (also: winter) that I’m going through, and that I blame for making me more and more resistant to socializing. (Or, it’s just my nature: and I’m okay with that.)

And I’m not, technically, old. But I am older: not necessarily than I feel, but than I feel like I ought to be. I’m not that young anymore.

It isn’t that I want to still be in my early twenties: generally, as I’ve written (aging = more redundant?) I like to think that we improve with age. Get wiser, more confident, know more things. It’s just that it seems strange that I’m not.

So: what, exactly, am I trying to say? Time moves quickly? The years pass faster and faster, the older we get? I thought I’d have my shit together by now a lot more than I actually do?

You already know all that stuff. And so do I. Mostly, I just wanted to tell you the story about my pajama pants. And, to say, in case you’re feeling like you’re a little bit older than you think you should be: me, too.




The Blind Spot(s)

When, the other day, my friend A asked if she was crazy for going after a guy she knew wasn’t interested, there was another question implicit.

It was this: why should she, a rational thirty-something with strong sense of self, a lithe torso and a respectable distance from her last serious relationship allow herself to get hung up on a prospect she knows is unrealistic?

On the phone, I dodged that one. But the answer became more clear in conversation with another friend earlier this week.

“Don’t you have a blind spot?” she asked, over beers at a local bar.

Out of context I would have had no clue what she was talking about. But, as it happened, she’d just finished telling an anecdote about kissing an otherwise involved former co-worker she felt inordinately attracted to while she herself was semi-seeing someone else–a minor betrayal that neither she nor I would ever predict.

“You know, don’t you have that someone who you would just be with, at the drop of a hat, no matter what, if they said the word?”

I started to nod.

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess I do.”

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Is Facebook Making Life Worse?

Over Thai curries last night with a few friends, J announced that it was the evening of her ten year high school reunion.

Implicit in her announcement was the fact that she was, in fact, here in Albuquerque with us–and not in New York celebrating with her former classmates.

“Don’t worry,” she assured the group. “I talked to my friend who’s there and it’s not that cool.” According to said friend’s report basically everyone in the class is currently working in finance. Except for the former class president, who owns a bar–and also might have a job in finance.

This led into a discussion of reunion attendance generally: I’m about to go my college 5th, S is skipping hers, I skipped my high school 5th but would contemplate the 10th.

We all agreed, though, that the traditional allure of reunions–the chance to see what people are up to who you’d otherwise never know about–is pretty diminished these days.

Thanks to Facebook, we realized, we now know more than we probably ever wanted to about people from our past. We know who is married and who is single. Who works in finance and who is still in school. Who looks a lot better than they did when they were eighteen, who looks worse and who looks exactly the same (at this point, I’d have to say: most people).

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Greetings from West Los Angeles

Update: S and I made it to Los Angeles late last night.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my Facebook plea for road trip activities. Of course, they proved unnecessary: we spent the entire eleven and a half hours listening to music and talking about boys.

More on that later.

For the moment, I have to got to go out in search of material, and decide whether I love or hate California.

(Like most New Yorkers, I’ve had a lifelong, built-in and reflexive disgust with the place–and it occurred to me recently that I hadn’t actually spent more than a few days here since I was thirteen and that it might actually be ideal: the culture and the excitement of New York, without the frenetic pace and the occasional blizzards.)

Stay tuned.

No promises, though: I did, after all, shave my legs.

Notes on Dating, and Friending, while Blogging cont.

When I picked up my friend J from the airport last night and tried to fill her in on my past week, I found myself beginning nearly every sentence with the phrase “I blogged about this, but…” Or, alternately, “I’m going to blog about this, but…”

One of the ways I finished the latter version was to tell her what I’m about to tell you: that I fear I don’t have enough material in my life to be interesting both online and in person. I am only partially joking about this.

And I wonder, in this era of constant communication: how do people have enough to say to say things on so many different platforms? You want me to blog, Twitter, Facebook, blog for other websites, write some decent, non-digital long-form prose and manage to have any good anecdotes left for face to face contact?

In other words: by attempting to keep people entertained on my blog am I dooming myself to a much less entertaining reality?

I don’t mean to get too self-indulgent here: I think many of us have had the experience of telling a friend something funny or interesting, only for them to dismiss us with “yeah, I saw it on Facebook.” People, I fear our ability to communicate with each other is far outpacing our actual need to communicate. Please: tell me you disagree.

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Sex and Facebook

I swear, I really was planning on taking tonight off from compulsive blogging, but I just saw this NPR story and couldn’t resist.

I couldn’t resist because, for one, Shereen is a former colleague and All Things Considered my former home. But mostly, I couldn’t resist because I think about this basically all the time. This, of course, being Facebook and general internet-stalking. I do it more than I care to admit. I won’t say all the time, but, well, kind of. I simply cannot resist typing the name of a new interest into Google, and suffering the results. And I don’t know what to do about it.

By now, I think we’ve developed something of a dating etiquette: no Facebook friendship for at least a few months (I’m guessing here, because–ironically, and helpfully, I am prone to men with a startling degree of internet aloofness and the last time I actually dated someone with a Facebook page for more than three weeks might have been in 2008). Based on my experience, though, it’s turned into a sort of dance: who will friend who first?? Sadly, Facebook’s egregious privacy settings have almost rendered obsolete that one precious barrier to dooming yourself to far more information than you should every truly have about someone, much less someone you’ve recently met and are contemplating sex with. Continue reading