Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Background: Candice

One morning I woke up, opened the fridge and found nothing but half a can of diced tomatoes and some pickles. I was not surprised. I am a single, 26 year old woman living alone in apartment with 2 cats. I had also recently gone on a binge of going out; the past five days I had gone out with friends and bad dates all while working forty hours, exercising, and struggling with an exhuasting cough caused by surprise seasonal allergies. And all while simultaneously not going to the grocery store, not doing the dishes, and refusing to acknowledging that I would eventually find myself facing a Saturday morning alone in a messy apartment with nothing for breakfast.

I dealt with this situation quite practically: I finally went to the grocery store and bought the next week's worth of food. Mostly whole foods, mostly healthy, mostly things I will have to cook myself. And yet while there I bought myself a can of Spaghetti-Os. Shortly before 11am, I sat down with a steaming bowl of carbs and fatty protein. Some people feel guilty about cracking open a can of beer before noon. I feel guilty about refusing to brunch on the fresh fruits and vegetables I bought in a vain attempt to feel like an adult so that I can indulge the same crappy food I ate at 8 years old. The facade of responsibility is undone during a two-minute microwaving of Franco-American bachelorette chow.

Welcome to the life on the twenty-something. Life is a mix of everything you expected, work, happy hours, feeling responsible every time you pay your bills on time, buying elegant and expensive shoes and eating tuna salad on Saltines while standing over the sink in your pajama pants. For every time I feel as though I could be in a TV commercial (happy, successful yuppie girl meets her happy, successful yuppie friends for yoga while talking about their favorite brand of yogurt!) I end up remind myself that, like a commercial, I can only maintain the veneer of perfection for a brief period of time.

In fact, my embracing of the three y's (yuppie-dom, yoga, and yogurt) is itself something of a veneer. I was an unhealthy, unflexible, lower-middle class teenager. Now I set goals for myself (learn more about wine, stay within a calorie count, run a 5k in 35 min.). I no longer have a daily Cheez-it quotient or buy clothes from Wal-Mart, but does that change who I am inside? Am I some sort of classist version of an the term oreo? Yuppie on the outside, white trash on the inside? How thick does the yuppie layer have to be before no one even notices the fact that some members of my family live in tailer parks?

I set my life goals for the day: vacuum, respond to emails, and ice skating. Yes, you read that right. Ice skating. In my entire life I have skated only twice before. Once in Girl Scouts (hated it) and two years ago I went with my best friend and roommate (and now co-blogger) Kate. During the next hour and a half I fell only once (on freshly Zamboni-ed ice) and had a pretty good time. Kate and I were living in San Antonio at the time, suffering through the post-college, post-the dashing of youthful dreams about an easy transition to a fun, successful adulthood. I thought to myself at the time "I should DO this" but of course I didn't. I had important moping to do.

Now because of the recent Winter Olympics and figure skater Johnny Weir's glorious, self-constructed media-blitz I am reminded again of the fun I had back when the only fun I had usually involved drinking and bitterly complaining. Kate and I often get notions (oh do we ever) and we had decided the day before that there was no better way to spend our Saturday night than re-connecting with that old joy. We invited our various hip friends along via Facebook, picked out self-important outfits, and generally thought to ourselves, "Oh this'll be hilarious."

Later that night we approached the ice with hearts filled with irony-ladened amusement. Little did we know where it would end up.

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