Monday, April 21, 2008

To parents of teenagers: Your 13 year-old daughter will never be more mature than she is now.

I'm twenty-three and live on my own (more or less). I've been out of school for two years. It's three o'clock in the afternoon on a work day and I just had a telephone argument with my parents that resulted in a tiny little emotional breakdown (which is a great way to spice up an otherwise dull day, by the way). And here is why. As you mature, you learn how to "rationalize" and put things into all sorts of "perspectives," but occasionally any twenty-something woman will find herself in the midst of a telephone conversation that would have the literal translation of storming into her room and slamming the door, followed by sulking into her pillowcase and inflicting the silent treatment on others for hours. I'm not really sure why it happens; sometimes you would expect the person on the other end of the line to be reading Teen People magazine while applying press-on nails. To the contrary, this person has her name listed on a lease agreement and is pretending to read The Economist.

The real catalyst behind the argument was a passing idea I had this morning to move to somewhere like, I don't know, Minneapolis. Bear in mind, among others, some of the illustrious destinations that I've considered moving to for no concrete reason: Louisville, KY, Santa Fe, NM, and Canada - in the general sense. I usually pick the places that people don't intentionally move to. I'd rather live in an underdog city than one of those big pretentious ones like say, Los Angeles or New York City.

Well, apparently some people don't appreciate when you make rash decisions about moving around the country on a Monday. So it occurs to me that maybe I should hold my tongue when I decide to quit my job and move to Dublin when I know I'm not actually going to do it. Which would be simple if it weren't for the fact that worrying your parents is terribly fun. When I was younger, if I thought my parents weren't taking some monumentally important life crisis of mine seriously enough, I would tell them that if they weren't going to start taking this seriously I would start doing hard drugs. Which I never did, because I wasn't cool enough for anyone to ask me if I wanted some, but it sounded like a distressing enough threat. It doesn't work so well anymore, in part because I have exhausted threats like these, and also because they know I couldn't afford designer drugs on my own salary without an allowance from them and I would probably be more likely to spend the money on expensive jeans.

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