So, if you are (painfully) aware that you and your life have become sad clichés are you merely pathetically cliché or does your awareness grant you the right to be humorously ironic?
I think there's a very thin line between the two and I would caution everyone to stay far away from both. Avoid that area altogether.
I've been flirting dangerously close to that line for a few years. But heed my warning. I'm there, now. And even though there are moments of humor, mostly I'm depressed, embarrassed, frustrated and scared.
Oh sure, it's kind of funny when something cliché happens, the stuff of sitcoms and movies starring Seth Rogan or Owen Wilson. But trust me, it's funnier on screen than in real life.
My mother's having some health issues and has been bouncing between hospital and rehabilitation centers and will be doing so for the next few weeks.
Okay, well, one positive aspect of being unemployed is that I can help her. So, I'm staying at my parents house. Alone. This is the first time I've been in my parents' house alone, overnight, since college. So I have that teenaged sense of woohoo! home alone! crank Dad's stereo and eat Doritos in the living room feeling, a la pretty much every '80s teen movie.
Yes. I have lived on my own for a lot of years and I can crank my stereo and eat Doritos (and wash them down with booze) whenever and wherever I want.
But something about your parents' house prompts that giddy sense of freedom, that feeling of new, on the precipice of adulthood freedom, freedom to do whatever you want within a controlled environment.
I told you it's pathetic.
I may have discovered why grown people, intelligent people, choose to live in their parents' basements. I always thought people who are capable of living on their own but choose to live with their parents are a) immature, b) lazy, c) spoiled, d) emotionally "off," e) controlled by domineering mothers, or f) all of the above. But now I'm starting to realize it might be a lot more complex than how it appears on the surface.
For me and a lot of other fortunate people, my parents' home has always been a safe, calm, happy place. Sure, there are rules and an expected modicum of behavior, but it's generally a comfortable, safe place. Nothing bad happens at your parents' house. I know, I'm lucky. Not everyone is raised in that kind of environment. But for those of us who were, it's a nice safe haven.
But I haven't spent more than a few hours alone in my parents' home since college and that is triggering some weird behaviors. See above, cranking the stereo and eating Doritos.
It's all fun and games until someone's pride gets wounded.
So, a couple nights ago I may have had the stereo volume a little louder than, you know, necessary. And I may have been jumping around a little more than necessary.
I realize that I am well past the crank the stereo and jump off the couch air guitaring age, and I realize that I am not, in fact, Pete Townshend. But. I had a long day with my mother and her doctors. I had a bunch of chores to do including a huge stack of laundry and I unearthed some of my brother's old LPs in a closet so I threw on a little music and I guess somehow I turned up the stereo a little louder than necessary and "We Won't Get Fooled Again" sort of got the best of me and for a moment, there, it was glorious and I guess I didn't hear the doorbell and yadda yadda yadda my parents' friends who were feeling sorry for me and dropping off a casserole and a cinnamon bundt cake looked through the front window and caught me jumping off the living room couch with a mid-air air guitar windmill.
Mid-air, half-splits and windmill on my phantom guitar I noticed two senior citizens looking into the the window, hands cupped at the window for a better, glare-free look to see if anyone was home or if the stereo was blaring the Who all on its own.
Oh. And. I wasn't wearing pants. Or underwear. Just a beat up Red Wings jersey and socks.
Yes. I shot my parents' friends a beaver. A mid-air beaver with accompanying windmill guitar shred. My mother has sheer curtains under the regular drapes so it's possible they didn't get a clear view of the beav through the sheer curtains...but we're splitting (pubic) hairs, here.
No, there wasn't a bag of Doritos strewn about the coffee table, but there was a bag of veggie chips open on the counter in the kitchen. Which my parents' friends saw when I finally found some pants and let them in the house.
Embarrassing? Humiliating? Shameful? Degrading? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
My mother's in a physical rehabilitation "facility" and her unemployed financially destitute loser adult daughter is half naked jumping off couches with the stereo blasting the Who.
I know it's cliché and pathetic. I was very aware of that before I turned up the stereo. But I did it anyway.
And no, I am not harboring Risky Business fantasies. I was doing laundry and my jeans were in the dryer and my pjs were mid-spin cycle. Hence my lack of pants.
Fortunately I've known these friends of my parents for a long time and they thought it was funny, but, we can all presume there will be awkward pauses and awkward deflected looks the next time I see them.
If I were a teenager this behavior would be expected. But. I'm not a teenager. Not even close.
If booze were somehow involved it could be explained. But alcohol was not a factor.
If I had friends over and we were having a party it would still be a little weird, but explainable, dismissible. But I was alone. Painfully alone.
If I had young children to entertain it could be explained. But. I don't have children. And my nearest niece was 75 miles away at the time.
If I had a job, any job, it would still be embarrassing, but the unemployed/financially destitute angle adds a disturbing element to the whole thing.
And the casserole and bundt cake...I mean, it just makes me feel even worse. Here these nice people were feeling so sorry for me that they made me food and packaged it all up in a cute basket festooned with a ribbon and handwritten cooking instructions for the casserole....and there I was jumping off couches without pants.
I think it's the bundt cake that makes it all the more degrading. There's something pure and innocent and nice about bundt cakes. A grown woman who cranks her parents' stereo and jumps off their living room couch without wearing pants does not deserve a bundt cake. A woman like that tarnishes - besmirches - a bundt cake.
And it was taking place in the living room! If it had been the family room...a bedroom... perhaps in the shower...but no. The living room. The most formal room in the house. How could I sully the living room's reputation like that?
I'm pretty sure the only way this could have been worse is if I had some stoner guy there splayed out on the floor with a bong. (Where's my head banger stoner neighbor when I really need him?) But then, that would give me an "excuse." In the retelling of the story, the boyfriend would be blamed. My parents' friends would say something like, "Trillian's going through a rough time...unemployed...and that fellow she's dating...she's vulnerable...he's no good for her...her self esteem is hurting what with the unemployment..."
But no. There's no stoner boyfriend. Just me and my brother's old scratched copy of Who's Next and my dad's stereo. And no pants.
And a cinnamon bundt cake.
Oh, and did I mention that this is an old stereo and there is a stack of quarters taped to the needle arm to prevent the needle from skipping across a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl LP?
Yeah. It gets more pathetic with each element.
Which is somehow fitting. I feel like this is what I deserve, this is exactly where I deserve to be and how pathetic my life deserves to be. I lost my financé, I lost my job, I'm losing my home, I've lost every tiny shred of pride I had left. I have failed in every aspect of my life. And failures live at home with their parents listening to old scratched records left behind by older siblings. The pantlessness is just a nice touch I apparently felt a need to add.
And that is my epiphany about people who live in their parents' basements. They're in the basement to spare their parents the embarrassment of their behavior. If I'd been hermitting away in my parents' basement my parents' friends would have heard the music but would have been spared the pantsless air guitar demonstration. And so, with that I guess I'll be joining the ranks of the "weird people" who live in their parents' basements. I suppose we all knew it was going to come to this sooner or later.
Labels: adults living with their parents, creepy basement dwellers, The Who, unemployed