Stuff People Say – Gray Hair

Amanda and I saw two teenaged boys take a picture of a random guy’s crappy sports car at a gas station.  I commented:

“I’m surprised they didn’t want to take a picture of my [Ford Focus].

A few minutes later, Walking on Sunshine” played at a moderate volume on the car radio as I continued to mock all the ways Amanda and I are not young or hip:

“Those hip girls were listening to some underground song about sunshine and they had side ponytails and they dyed their hair gray.”

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Random Saturdays – Cinco de Mayo 2013

Growing up in my neck of the cement jungle, Cinco de Mayo was a huge deal.  In elementary school, we had a school-wide assembly where we’d pile into the auditorium to watch students and teachers sing and dance to traditional Mexican songs.  As adults, Amanda and I have always looked forward to Cinco de Mayo as a way to rekindle the excitement of those elementary school assemblies.  Most of the time, this just means getting Taco Bell and watching movies like The Mexican.  At some point, we invented some story from which we created the saying, “Have a heart — it’s Cinco de Mayo!”  This year, we decided to have a heart by splurging.

We went to Cristina’s because Amanda had never been and it was close to a move theater.  The service was okay, although it’s usually much better.  We wanted dessert, but decided to go get fresh ice cream sandwiches at another place.  That place was closed, so we just went to Barnes & Noble to get treats in the bookstore café.  This is where the fun really started.

Me — Hi.  Could I get an iced green tea, please?
Teenaged Cashier — Oh, we’re out of iced tea.  We just used up the last of what we had today.
Me — Oh, so you don’t have tea?
Teenaged Cashier — No.  We just had a little left, and it wasn’t enough for a whole cup, so we just threw it out.
Me — Oh, okay.  That’s okay.  Could I just get a cup of water–
Teenaged Cashier — We have a water fountain over to the side.  Is that okay?
Me — Uh, yeah, sure.  That’s fine (thinking that she would give me a cup to fill).  Then, could I just get a shortbread sugar cookie?
Teenaged Cashier — Sure.  That’s blah blah blah…(takes my payment, hands me a cookie, but no cup, and walks away)

I turned to Amanda.

Me — They’re out of iced tea.
Amanda — Do they not have hot tea and ice?
Me — I don’t know.  She said they have no tea.

Amanda waits for the Teenaged Cashier to return.

Amanda — (in a very condescending voice) Do you have hot tea?
Teenaged Cashier — (cheerfully) Yes.
Me — (surprised) I  thought you didn’t have tea.
Amanda — Do you have cups that you can put ice in?
Teenaged Cashier — Yes.
Amanda — Okay, then I’m going to get the [some flavor of] hot tea.  I would also like a cup with ice.
Teenaged Cashier — Sure, we can do that.
Me — You couldn’t do that for me.
Amanda — Could I also get a cup of water?
Teenaged Cashier — Yes, of course.
Me — Why couldn’t I get a cup of water?
Amanda — And I’d also like a blondie.
Teenaged Cashier — Okay.
[Amanda pays]
Amanda — Thank you.
Teenaged Cashier — No problem!
Me — Really?  No problem?  It was a problem when I asked for all of this stuff.

Friggin’ teenagers!  We ate our treats and drank our beverages.  When we got to the theater, the 10:16 pm showing was sold out, but the 10:15 pm showing wasn’t.

Amanda — How full is the 10:15 showing of Iron Man 3?
Box Office Girl — Let me check…There are 215 seats left.
Me and Amanda — Oh, okay, good, good.
[Amanda buys her ticket]
Me — Hi.  Could I get one ticket for the same thing, please?
Box Office Girl — [turning around to look for help] Actually, I don’t know what happened, but it just sold out.
Me and Amanda — What?!
Box Office Girl — Yeah, it just showed…I don’t know what happened…
Me — But there were just over 200 seats available…
Box Office Girl — I know.  It’s now saying Sold Out.  I don’t know if I did something or…
Me and Amanda — 0_0
Box Office Girl — Just kidding!

Oh, how we laughed!  Good one, Box Office Girl, good one.

I have to sit pretty far back in movie theaters because sitting close to a movie screen gives me migraines.  This meant that we had to sit near the top, just behind a row half-filled with teenagers.  Not a single one of those dumbasses were talking to each other;  they were all playing on their phones.  They weren’t even doing anything interesting, just going in and out of apps while nothing happened.  Two of those little jerks actually texted during the movie!  Can you believe that?!  One of them was the boy sitting in front of Amanda, so I kicked the back of his seat the entire time he was texting because I turn into a vengeful child when my $11 Robert Downey, Jr. movie is interrupted.  It wasn’t even an important text.  “I’m so bored.  I’m in a movie.”  Are you kidding me???  Spoiled brats.  At the end of the movie, the kids mumbled about how the movie wasn’t even that good.  What the what?!  It was my favorite of the Iron Man trilogy.  Whippersnappers.  I said loudly, “I can’t believe these kids were texting during the movie.  Nothing on your texts was more interesting than that movie.  I know because I could see your texts because you were texting during a movie.”

The good food, funny Box Office Girl, good movie, and good friendship made for a wonderful Cinco de Mayo 2013, despite crappy teenagers.  Looking forward to next year, already!

Iron Man loves Cinco de Mayo!

Iron Man has a heart on Cinco de Mayo!

Random Saturdays — Stupidity Through the Ages

Earlier this week, I was listening to Pandora while brushing my teeth before bed because I have impeccable hygiene. “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper came on, which got me thinking about driving around, listening to that song on the radio when it first came out (think I was about 18 or so). Then that reminded me of how stupid I was at 18. In my defense, it’s hard not to be stupid when you’re 18, so part of it was just inevitable. When I talk to other people about being dumb at that age, their tales often include drinking, DUIs, drugs, and being generally irresponsible and disrespectful. I never did any of that because my parents, and to a greater extent, their friends, lived in that world. They were a bunch of teenagers that never grew up. So when I became a teenager and wanted to rebel, I did crazy things like cut my hair shoulder-length and become a vegetarian. Woo! No meat and no split ends! Suck it, world!

Me as a rebellious teenager

Me as a rebellious teenager

So, yeah, I wasn’t stupid in that sense, but I was still stupid. I disagreed with just about every decision my parents made in their daily lives (partially because they were bad decisions and partially because I was an angst-ridden teenager). I was biding my time and drinking my Kool-Aid until the second I turned 18 and could move out of the house. My only goals were to get away from my parents and not be them. I thought that distance would solve all my problems. I was resentful and wanted to run away. I couldn’t admit to myself that, as a dumb teenager, my life wouldn’t improve if I didn’t know how to make better choices.

As an adult looking back on things, I know that my parents did the best with what they had, which includes their decision-making abilities at that point in time. I also know that most teenagers feel that their parents know nothing and they know everything. It was a bit different in my case because my parents really were making bad decisions, but as a teenager, I was in no place to make better ones. I eventually realized that anything wrong with my life was my fault, which meant that I could take responsibility for it, and therefore, change it. Once I learned that, I had to settle in for the hard work of fixing myself and my life. I’m still working on fixing myself, but my life is pretty good.

The hardest lesson that I’ve ever had to learn, though, is that even if you figure out things for yourself, you cannot force anyone –no matter how right you are, no matter how wrong that person is, no matter how much you love that person — to change. Just as importantly, I try not to judge people too harshly for their bad decisions. I’ll shake my head and vent to friends about how I don’t understand why so-and-so thought this or that was a good idea, but ultimately I just empathize, sympathize, and avoid people whose decisions I routinely find hurtful. Nobody sets out to actively make a bad decision. We stand in the moment with our thoughts, experiences, and emotions, and at that moment, we decide. There are no take-backs or decision-erasers. Some of us learn to pay attention to the consequences of our actions sooner than others. I’m lucky that I learned these lessons in my mid-20s.