As I settle into the final year of my 3rd decade on Earth, I'm finally resigned to the glaring fact that I'm just not cool anymore. Maybe it's because my kids are older now and constantly remind me of the ever-changing definition of chic. Offspring have exceptional expertise in the art of ocular communication. The eye roll can send the most dramatic message. A single roll of the eye can hold many meanings, depending on the velocity of the roll, concurrent eyebrow action, theatrical head tilt, and accompanying groans. I do think about the way I am and how I've changed/not changed over the years. Connecting with friends I haven't seen in 20 years reminds me of this as well; we've all changed/not changed. Sure, all of us look a little older, but I love it how -- for the most part -- I am not surprised at where people are in their lives. I wonder if people think the same about me or if, like my kids, they are tilting their heads and rolling their eyes when they look at my Facebook profile. In any case, here are some of the ways I've become hopelessly uncool.
* I always said I would never drive a minivan. Guess what I drive. Yep. I consented to driving a station wagon -- one can look moderately cool in a sporty little wagon, but a minivan is the antithesis of cool. In my defense, every day I use it in very practical ways. How could I possibly transport Ben's percussion kit, half a dozen carpool kids, and the case of kalamata olives from Costco in a regular car? My only resolve at being somewhat cool is that it's a Sport model. What makes it a Sport? I have no idea, but I enjoy that the word offers the illusion of appearing semi-swank and the between-seat cargo netting is da bomb. Yes, I just typed that -- and you no longer need to wonder why my kids roll their eyes.
* There is an eclectic arrangement of tunes on my mp3 player. One must only press the random button to enjoy a mix of Coldplay, The Cure, Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, and Barry Manilow. Yes, I like Barry Manilow and I'm not a 60 year old casino-going granny. Weekend in New England still makes a little teary, I can't help but shimmy when I hear Daybreak, and why Barry sent Mandy away when she kissed him and stopped him from shaking, I'll never know. My kids and friends may cringe at my dramatic reinactment of Lola the showgirl, but it will never ruffle the yellow feathers in my hair.
* I love going to bed early. I've never been a late-night person, although in my younger years I coud physically handle some past-midnight evenings. These days, my eyelids are on a timer that is set for 9:00. When we are invited to parties or concerts, the start-time is the driving factor on whether I'll attend or stay home and watch an old House episode (which is a sure bet because it's always on at least two different channels at any given time). Of course, my early bedtime means my eyelid timer is set to "Open for Business" at 5am, which is fine with me. I enjoy the quiet of the early morning before the rest of the family rises for the day. So if you think I'm cool enough to invite me to a social gathering, please take note that I prefer early start times -- as long as it's after 5pm because otherwise I'll miss the Early Bird dinner special at the local diner.
* Oooohh, here comes the big one, Elizabeth.... I watch American Idol. OK, I've said it. As much as I consider my musical tastes to be pretty passable (minus the aforementioned Manilow-fancy), and as confident as I am that I'd never purchase any of the contestants' music, I can't help but diligently tune in 73482 times a week to watch the cavalcade of crooning and croaking. I, who couldn't even carry a tune in my phat between-seat cargo netting, suddenly become an expert in pitch, keys, and musical arrangements. I even get excited about theme nights featuring genres I don't enjoy: Listen here, dawg, I am not a fan of country music, but that Tim McGraw song... you blew it out-da-box! I can't decide if I should hang my head in shame or just embrace my inner Seacrest... the answer, after the break.
So there you go -- I'm uncool, square, not fit to shake my chic. My kids may roll their eyes and my friends may pretend they don't know me as I cruise by in my Sport minivan, Barry blaring from all open windows. I don't care anymore. Knowing all of this, if you'd still like to hang out with me, let's meet for dinner at 4:30 and then come back to my house for American Idol. I'll drive.