Sunday, July 24, 2011

You Know You Are Getting Old When

You know that you are getting old when, in the three days that include your birthday you encounter items from your youth in a thrift shop,:

and a museum:

(To be fair on the desk, it is in an exhibit on "duck and cover," but you went to elementary school in an old, un-air conditioned building in a tropical city, which your mother attended and at which your grandmother taught early in her career. Your desks were probably the same ones they used.)

(The Holiday Inn sign is partially boxed because they are renovating the exhibit, dang it! But you remember that shiny colorful sign on roadsides throughout your early childhood, especially the one at the end of your grandmother's street, beyond the canal, off of the interstate, in said tropical city.)

(Your love of Star Wars is well-documented, and the artifacts are still in your parents' attic. Sadly, they are not valuable nor museum worthy because they have been played with. A lot.)

(You actually preferred the one that looked like Snoopy's doghouse, but this will do. You also really coveted the blue Holly Hobby lunchbox, and really wanted a lunchbucket like they carried on the t.v. show Little House on the Prairie. Instead, you got the school lunch because your mom worked and, dammit, she didn't have time to mess with that lunch shit when the school already cooked a perfectly fine one. That's also why McDonald's is the comfort food of your youth, too. You now understand her position. Besides, you didn't want the lunch so much as the box. It's all about the accessories, you know.)

Try to identify all of the familiar objects in this case. Down on the bottom left is a Tab glass that narrows in the center, forming an hourglass shape. You remember the commercials that showed the "waist" on the glass getting smaller to underscore the dieting properties of Tab. God, you hated Tab. Your stomach turns even now to think of it. You must have been four when this commercial was on t.v., and now all of your teenaged eating disorders make so much sense if these messages assaulted you even at that age. Also not the birth control pill compact on the left. You have no stories to go with this because you were a big ole prude, mistrustful of men, and the compact was no longer in use when you finally started taking them.)

(Here is another angle. You wanted the candlestick phone, but not in Bicentennial red, white, and blue. God, you were a big ole history nerd, even in the '70. The Snoopy phone appeared in the film Time After Time, about H.G. Wells travelling in a time machine to San Francisco in the 1970s. Yep, big ole history nerd. A friend had the yellow donut phone, which fascinated you as you traced the outlines over and over and over, oblivious to whatever crap she was playing on her record player. You didn't like music until you were a teenager.)

Heck, your whole generation has been analyzed and considered worthy of inclusion in an exhibit:

(Being on the upper end of the Gen X spectrum, you did not have a computer in your bedroom. OM fact, the only time you've had a computer in the BEDroom was when you had a roommate and had to have your office there. Also,  you can only sing the Preamble to the Constitution, and had cable before MTV, which you did not like for a long time because your musical tastes were more of the Baby Boomer generation, when you finally decided that you liked music.)

So, you decide that you need to buy yourself a birthday present, because that is what grown-ups can do: buy themselves presents.

While you would like this, which combines the best qualities of a porch swing, rocking chair, and papasan:

you know it will not fit on the airplane home; but, oh!, was it a comfortable test ride and perfect for reading.

Instead, you opt for the vintage clothes shop -- and it is "vintage" not "thrift" or "resale" -- down the street where you purchase this lovely jacket that actually fits perfectly (you have a tendency to get a size or two too large because you overestimate your size, even when the clothes are on your body):

Very Mad Men, season 1.

You also accessorize with a gargoyle ring (plastic, but still cool):

and cufflinks, for those French cuffs you love, or improvise on the men's shirts you sometimes wear that sometimes have too long sleeves.:

Then, you get yourself some local, organic apple cider and Ben & Jerry's low-fat Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt and have yourself a party. Not much of a party, but a good enough one for a hotel room after a long day seeing your generation move into a museum. For the moment, aging is not yet painful, simply mysterious and new and a little bit amazing; and you wouldn't go back to any of those eras for anything, even the knowledge of how to live them better.


Digger said...

Happy birthday, Clio! <3 the gargoyle ring all kinds of <3!

RPS77 said...

I remember having a Peanuts lunchbox when I was in first grade, maybe second grade as well.

I'm on the later side of "Gen X", so I did have a computer as a kid, but not in my room.

I don't think I've ever drank Tab in my life. They still sell it!

Clio Bluestocking said...

Digger, Thank you! It is cool, isn't it?

RPS77, I'm so jealous! You're probably closer in age to my youngest brother, who is at that other end of Gen X. We had a computer by the time I was in college, but he was still a kid.

They still sell Tab? Who still drinks it? Gag!

Courtney said...

We had one of those candlestick phones in black. It was cute, but a pain in the ass to use.

I carried the Holly Hobby lunchbox in the first grade. I know I had other character lunchboxes in the years that followed, but Holly Hobby is the one I remember.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Yep, that's my life, too. Except I did have the peanuts lunchbox.

And is that hanging papa-san made of macramé?

RPS77 said...

I've seen Tab still on sale, tucked away inconspicuously in the soda aisles of local supermarkets. At least a few people apparently still drink it. Perhaps they key to its effectiveness for weight loss is that it turns people off from drinking soda entirely!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

God, you guys are young. I did not actually wear button boots to school, but you're making me feel like I did.

Ink said...

Gen Xers unite!

1. Happy birthday.
2. I want that swing.
3. Hollie Hobby forever.


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