Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Not Little Children, And We Know What We Want

Sometimes, I wish I could have a birthday likes the ones I had when I was a kid.

You know, the parties where there was a Slip-n-Slide and a cake with a unicorn on it off of which your little brother had already stolen a smidge of frosting when your mother wasn't looking. Waterballoon fights, noisemakers, all of the fun without any of the self-doubt.

Not that I didn't have a good birthday weekend. A and S came down to Rhode Island for a day at the beach. It was perfect on Saturday, aside from the surf that was so strong the lifeguards were dashing into the waves every few minutes to save someone who'd gotten sucked out on a rip current. Then we went out in Newport, where actual straight men checked us out.

Which would have been fine, but my partying spirit had left me shortly after our delicious dinner. Just hours away from officially entering my late 20s, it hit me. Late 20s.

For a woman in her late 20s, I'm kind of a fuck-up.

Yes, I have a good job. But I've also got more debt than some third world countries. I've got more acne than I did when I was a teenager. I'm so chronically single, even my great grandbaby-hungry grandmother has stopped nagging me about bringing a man home to meet the family. While I never had a detailed plan for my life as a kid, I figured I'd have my shit a little more together by 27.

But at least I have good peeps, a good job, and beer to get me by until I pull myself together.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pond Day

Yesterday evening, I went to see the family I babysit for. They'd just come back from Europe, and I still had their car keys from when I'd dropped them off at the airport a few weeks ago. The kids' sweat-soaked mother opened the door and collected the keys. As we chatted, Baby (who is now four, which makes me feel older than a redwood tree) appeared on the stairs and repeated my name like a mantra until I looked up at her.

"I went to farm camp today," she announced proudly. Her older siblings had both attended this day camp, and she'd been excited to finally go for months.

"And tomorrow is pond day," she added.

"What's pond day?" I asked.

"We're gonna catch frogs and butterflies in nets," she explained.

In that moment, I was intensely jealous of a 4-year-old. The weather this week is beautiful, despite the sweltering heat. While I love my job, I miss summers spent outside, riding bikes and foraging for slimy creatures in swamps and lakes. Baby spent her day dripping sweat and picking strands of slime off her fingers. I spent my day sitting at my desk, drinking several cups of lukewarm office coffee, stopping only to venture to the gym to ward off obesity and arthritis as best I can.

I thought being a grown-up would be more fun than this.

Monday, July 07, 2008

God Bless America

On the Fourth of July, some friends and I made our way to the Mass Ave bridge to check out the show. Despite hating Rascal Flatts with a deep passion, I wanted to enjoy the pyrotechnics.

My friends and I got a spot along the railing that separates the road from the sidewalk because we arrived around 8 p.m. We waved at an adorable baby in front of us, who squirmed in the arms of his Indian parents.

As the bridge got more crowded, people tried to encroach on the space we'd staked out. Stragglers stood on a small concrete ledge directly in front of us, and we asked them to move. Tourists plopped half their bodies on our blanket. Eventually, I spread out like it was a game of Twister to maintain our line of sight.

As the Pops performance began, two kids who looked like they might be 20-years-old climbed over the concrete ledge in front of us, and stopped directly in front of the Indian family in front of us. The baby's grandfather tugged on their shirts and indicated they should get out of the way, but the kids just shrugged and ignored him.

Sick of people's bad behavior, my friend and I started yelling at the kids, explaining the basic rule that if they'd wanted to be in front, they should have showed up before the show began. They rolled their eyes at us, as my other friend hid her eyes to disassociate herself from the two harpies.

When I looked back again, a large man who'd been sitting in a lawn chair at the front of the bridge stood up. He towered above the two punkasses who'd been arguing with us, and weighed easily 300 pounds. He bellowed at the kids, who continued to try to negotiate and stand in front of the crowd. The big man gesticulated wildly, pointing to indicate that the kids should get off the bridge, pronto, and started bumping them forward with his sizable belly.

As the two kids finally scampered off, the crowd erupted into cheers. A woman stood up, faced the crowd, and screamed "That's my man!" as he took his seat again, completely calm about the affair.

That inspired my sense of patriotism more than any crappy Rascal Flatts song ever could.