Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A post that manages to reference Popeye

Now that I've told you about the dumb moments of my weekend, let me tell you something nice that happened: I went to a MOMS Club workshop and got to see my NY friends who had traveled down for the occasion. I "talk" to these ladies all the time via Facebook and email, but only see them in-person twice a year, at MOMS Club functions.

Though I hardly see them, they've had a major impact on my life. I won't get into the emotional stuff about how they are inspirational and all that - I don't want to trigger your gag reflex as I wax Hallmark-y. But I can tell you how they've influenced me in a cultural sense.

Two years ago, at a regional luncheon, we first got to know each other and instantly clicked. I'm usually shy and awkward when I talk to people, especially new people, but somehow I felt instantly comfortable in their presence. They just got me.

Toward the end of the night I must have whined about how it wasn't fair that they all lived close together in NY while I lived all the way in Massachusetts, because one of them plopped her Mac in my lap and demanded that I sign up for Facebook. I knew little about FB and felt a little unsure about its usefulness, but I signed up. Now, I can't imagine living without it.

Score one for the NY Peeps.

The next time I saw them, they were all a-flutter about those Twilight books, watching trailers for the first movie on their laptops and discussing which "team" they were on, Edward's or Jacob's. Inside, I rolled my eyes a little. Teen vampire stories, really? It seemed so weird. But I love and respect these women, so I thought that if they liked it, maybe it was worth a shot. I read the first Twilight book and remained unimpressed. I joked around with people about how lame the whole phenomenon was. Then I read the second Twilight book...you know, just to see what would happen to the characters...and I was hooked. I read all of the books in the series and Netflixed the movie while Jason was traveling.

Score two for the NY Peeps.

And then this past weekend, they invited me to crash in their room, slumber party-style. I was so excited...until one of them brought out a True Blood DVD. I was exasperated. I mean, isn't obsessing over vampire books and TV shows the 21st century-version of the soap opera and bon-bon devouring housewife stereotype? I wanted to pass on watching, but they were all into it, and I wanted to be with them, so I watched. Well, it took just about five seconds for me to be so immersed in that show that I almost forgot to breathe. And now I've gone and downloaded the first book in the series onto my Kindle, a book I think about during the day as I'm driving the kids to school and shampooing my hair.

Score three for the NY Peeps.

What I've learned from all of this is that I should quit being so afraid of becoming a stereotype. I should quit worrying about what things I like say about me.

In the words of that sage philosopher Popeye, I am what I am.

I like watching soap operas. I record them on the DVR and watch them in marathons while Jason's away, or I'll watch a single episode here and there while paying the bills or doing some other random task - the familiar characters keep me company.

I like reading and watching vampire stories. Maybe it's not high art, but it's fun fantasy and it's easier for me to relax at the end of the day with one of these books than with Dickens' Hard Times.

I like watching reality shows like America's Next Top Model, So You Think You Can Dance, and Project Runway. And I get psyched about craptastic teen dramas like 90210 and Gossip Girl.

I like goofing around on the internet (a practice Jason and I call "gweeping" for some reason). I think it's fun to see what people are up to via Facebook - it's the perfect way for a phone-phobe like me to keep up with her friends.

I like fake shopping in catalogs. I browse through the pages and tear out the ones that have something on it that I'd like to buy, whether it's a toy for one of the kids, a pair of curtains for the living room, or a sweater for myself. I even organize the torn pages into a tabbed folder in case I ever want to look at them again. I do this because I have a hard time sitting still, just staring at the TV without doing some kind of "busy work," and also because before I did this I actually bought all of that stuff. This way, I get the thrill of shopping, of finding that perfect thing, without really pulling out the wallet. Once the page is torn and filed, I know that I can go back to it and make the purchase for real if I want it that badly, but I rarely do. Instead, I exclaim, "Look at this old-fashioned train set! I'm gong to fake-buy this for Nathan's birthday!" Jason doesn't even make fun of me for all this, probably because he prefers the fake buy to the real one.

I'll own up to all of these hobbies and interests because I am less afraid now: if you don't like me because I admit to knowing who Chuck Bass is, well, then I guess that's too bad for both of us. I owe this new-found confidence to my NY Peeps, who showed me that a stay-at-home mom can be intelligent, responsible, valuable, respected...and a Twilight fan, all at the same time.

7 comments:

  1. "....I should quit being so afraid of becoming a stereotype. I should quit worrying about what things I like say about me."

    i struggle with this, too, especially b/c i know a lot of academics who really disdain many things i like. i struggle to like myself and now you, and nad, and, kelly m. have helped me to accept myself and others warts and all.
    xo

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  2. Hey, that's me, that's me!! I'm the one with the Mac who plopped it!! ;-)

    Yeah, I might watch Days of Our Lives and 90210 while I fold laundry, but just today I used my wits to discover that Walmart was tying to dupe me with unit prices on paper towels. Sure, this one costs less per sheet, but it's for the eenie-weenie, select-a-size sheet!! Those bastards thought I wouldn't notice.

    Well, ha-ha! This "unemployed", lowly stay-at-home Mom took plenty of expensive calculus classes in college and still remembers how to operate a calculator despite years of singing Nursery rhymes and 1,300 games of Go-fish.

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  3. Good for you - I agree it's time to quit worrying about what you like to do and what it says about you. I'm also a fan of trash tv like ANTM, SYTYCD, and PR, and I also got hooked on the Twilight books. I'll be at the theater in November with a fellow mom when the second movie is released! :)

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  4. Kelly - look at you, flexing your math muscles! Gun show!

    Bhuv - I'm going to see the new Twi movie, too - probably by myself, prob late-night on a weekday after J comes home. Big nasty thing of movie-theater nachos AND some Twizzlers. Oh, yesssss.

    And Chrissy, as for your disdaining academic associates, I'd like to see them balance all the stuff you do, as gracefully as you do. (Cue Peggy Lee, frying it up in the pan.) Talk about using multiple intelligences!

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  5. Okay, until now I had not realized that my love for bargain shopping was because my brain was saying "I have math skills and I must use them for something!" Perhaps my husband would consider that justification for my knowledge of the store with the best price on Honey Nut Cheerios every week instead of "boredom".

    And I have to second the "I love Facebook because I no longer have to pick up the phone and call someone"!

    It was great meeting to meet all of you this weekend!

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  6. Kristin, thanks for checking out the blog! It was great to meet you this weekend, too! See you in Philly?

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