Monday, March 07, 2011


My mother and I were addressing my little sister's commitment ceremony invites last week (sis isn't sure about marriage, especially when so many of her friends cannot yet legally marry in the states in which they live). We were missing an address, so I called my sister. My mother kept writing while she listened to me talking. I got the missing address from my sister and then read aloud the list of names to ensure that we hadn't missed anyone.

We get to a dear old friend of my sister's who I remember fondly. I last saw him a decade ago. Sis tells me he's met a great man and they're very happy. My mom hears me discuss this with her and I say, "His beau is a bear? That's SO perfect for him! I bet they are adorable together."

My mom asks me - very serious and in all innocence:
"Does that mean he's a plushie?"

She learned that word from my sister.

I hope mom makes some awkward incorrect reference to this during my sister's event. It would be suitable karmic retribution.


My father (who is actually a pretty hip guy on the whole) recently read an article online about youth culture and modern slang. He thinks "I'm just saying." is hilarious. I told him some acronym based phrases that were not on the list he read ("OMG" and "bee-tee-dubs" - which is "BTW" pronounced out loud). But the phrase he CANNOT get over, the one that surprised and entertained him the most, was this:

"friends with benefits"

He keeps repeating it. And bringing it up in conversation. Because he thinks it is bizarre and is vastly entertained that people use that phrase.

It's like having a 7 year old hear a curse word. And they aren't used to it and only understand it to a certain degree but they KEEP SAYING IT.

It's horrifying. Makes me wish I could take his internet access away.


I think this means we've come full circle in some odd way. Now I'm the one worried that they're learning words or phrases they shouldn't know and hoping they won't say them in front of the neighbors.

I bet they felt like this when my brother started belting out lines from Les Miserables' "Lovely Ladies" in the supermarket when he was 4. Or when I was 7 or 8 and they took all of us to a restaurant and I wanted to order my drink myself. I saucily demanded that the server put "a LOT of nicotine!" in my Shirley Temple.

(I thought I had the word "grenadine" figured out.)

This is like payback for those moments, isn't it?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Talking to People Who Aren't There

I tend to be a talkative person, but I have become less so as I have grown older. People don't really need to know so much about me. There are things we say to other people to make ourselves feel better, but that benefit them in no way. Some confessions, deep personal thoughts, difficult truths, messy personal histories... some are meant for few people to hear. Your closest friend, maybe a sister. But really, sometimes we just talk for ourselves and it serves no purpose. Sometimes our deepest feelings aren't meant to be shared. Getting to this has been a process. It took me a long time to learn to trust and to share information about myself or things that I felt with people. Then I had to turn around and learn when to stop. I'm still learning.

As I grow, sometimes I find myself "telling" someone something when they aren't there. The things I know I would be saying only for me, the things that are too hard to actually tell. I will picture the conversation I would have, that I might have about these things. I talk it through. I apologize. I tell the person who isn't there all the hard things they don't know, the complicated things I feel but can't say. Different people in my life, people who were once in my life, people I never got to say my piece to.

Sometimes I want to go stand outside somewhere and call things out. Like The Sound of Music meets Primal Scream therapy. Put me in a dress made out of curtains and set me on a mountaintop so I can give the universe hell for all the things I can never say aloud or realized too late. I can see myself - just screaming out sentences. Because the people who should hear them are gone. Or the time for it is past. Or because it would help me, not them.

It's like an exercise I do in my head...
finding the thing I wish I could say:

"I'm exhausted and sometimes this is too much."

"If I had it do over - I would press charges."

"I should never have left you and gotten on that plane."

"Grow up. See past yourself. Yes, I think you are selfish."

"Sometimes I want to protect you from the world. And yourself."

"You should have left her back then."

"No one believes anything you say anymore."

"Next to you is the safest I ever felt."

"I always loved you."

"Come back."