So lately I’ve had this Death to the Trend Story thing bouncing around in my head, but honestly, it’s not so much I can’t stand a trend story as I can’t stand a defensive trend story, which is what these things always turn into. They always turn into a detailed list of reasons why not only do you not do what someone else is doing, but you don’t WANT to do it, you don’t NEED to do it, and by the way, this makes you BETTER.
I don’t always eat organic food, but hey, that just means I’m not, like, a pussy, man. I live in the suburbs, because I turned 29 and then the city didn’t matter to me anymore because any TRUE adult like me knows having a half-acre lot is where it’s at, you pinko. I have kids, and you’re not a REAL person until you have them. I live in the city, because I’m not capable of enjoying the valid lifestyle choice to screw a member of my immediate family. When I got out of school I got a job right away, so just fucking grow up, you extended adolescents.
(This is focusing merely on the lifestyle bullshit, by the way, and not even getting into NO MOSQUE HERE NO MOSQUE HERE, in which the existences of Muslims means your way of life is threatened.)
I mean, can we not do this all the time? It’s like the evidence of someone living differently is an affront and we have to build up a whole structure and mythology that’s about rejection and abhorrence. This shit gets particularly toxic all around election time, when the Mustard Wars start up and we’re all trying to divine which political party won’t make us question our condiment choices.
I’m not immune to the idea that we encounter each other and push and change and question. Whenever I see friends with a big beautiful house, for example, or a passel of kids, or hear tales from colleagues of fantastic travel and amazing experiences they’ve had, I wonder if I’m kidding myself, if what I have is what I really want. I think that’s normal, and necessary; how would we know if we wanted something different, if we didn’t know what different was?
These stories seem to go beyond that, and take difference as attack. It’s not enough we notice each other’s differences and remark upon them. We have to then come up with reasons why we live the way we live, and all too often instead of settling on “because I wanna live this way and I’m fine,” we come up with “because you’re a stupid hippie who doesn’t live in the Real World,” ie, the world I live in. As if anybody lives in anybody else’s world.
Live in the city. Live in the country. Live in Schaumburg. Have ten kids, two kids, no kids, nineteen kids and counting. Have them at 18 with your high school boyfriend or have them at 50 through IVF. Move ten times for ten different jobs before the age of 40. Work one job from birth to death. Believe in God, or don’t, date/live with/marry/fuck men or women or some of each or none of the above. Pray five or ten or sixty times a day or never.
But understand, by not doing that myself, I’m not saying anything about you. I’m just saying … shit, I’m just sayingwhere are my keys and I’m late for work AGAIN and I forgot to feed the dingos and now they’re circling my feet and my hair is sticking up fucking humidity and why is THAT there eww and we are all of us, all of us, doing the very best we can to live lives that won’t make us shoot up the freeways like that Michael Douglas movie. And I know that won’t fill the pages of the New York Times magazine, but even so, I think the only trend story we really need is one about the emerging trend of thinking that no matter what kind of grill we own or car we drive or how long we live with our parents, eventually all that matters is if we are okay.