Thursday, March 06, 2008

Can I get that latte with a shot of existential crisis please?

I grew up a blue collar girl in a blue collar town with a blue collar family and, you guessed it, blue collar friends, but that wasn't the way I wanted to ultimately end up. Not that there's anything wrong with being blue collar, because I was always very happy with that life while I was living it. It was comfortable and it fit me like a well worn pair of Levi's. But a girl's got to have more in her closet than worn denim. A few nice pairs of heels (or twenty) and some fancy dresses was what I wanted. I also wanted more life experiences than my small hometown could offer.

But I got sidetracked. When I was old enough, at the ripe old age of 24 and not at the more customary (for my hometown) 20 or 21, or even 18, I married a blue collar boy. Then I divorced his blue collar ass soon after I got myself a job at a decidedly white collar Fortune 500 company and realized that blue collar life was just not for me. And where, to make a long story short, I met my lily white collared future second husband. A man who came from a very white collar town and can trace his ancestors back to the Mayflower. He'll be the first one to tell you that his parents were blue collar too but, hell fire, one of his ancestors even has a portrait hanging in Faneuil Hall. That makes him white collar in my book. The only place you'll find pictures of my relatives are on the walls of the local Elks Lodge, most likely with a hunting cap on their head and a hunting rifle in their hand. You'll find a cheap domestic beer in the other.

It didn't take much effort to adapt to life that was less blue, in every sense of the word. We bought the house in the 'burbs, got ourselves some Labrador Retrievers and the SUV, traveled the world a bit and then got down to the business of helping populate the world with more young Democrats.

And my new life fit just as well as that old pair of Levi's.

Until...

Until the day I became tired of my old supermarket (bear with me here), the one that rhymes with Slop and Drop, and a new fancier market opened up in one of the neighboring towns. This new market has a Starbucks(!) so that I may shop while sipping on my grande skinny decaf vanilla latte. It has pretty produce with names I can't even pronounce! It has a gourmet cheese selection! And a prepared food section for those days I don't feel like cooking with my overpriced Le Creuset cookware! I can even find my favorite $30 a bottle Italian olive oil right down the aisle from the Twinkies. It was all a suburban housewife and mother of almost two could ask for.

Hold on, stop the presses. Really? All I could ask for?

Is that really what gets me excited these days? Expensive coffee and some decent gouda cheese? Cheese, I might add, that is made five miles away from where I grew up, oh irony of ironies. And is it really any different than the days when a Super Wal-Mart opened up in a nearby town and my family and I had to be there on opening weekend?

Either way, blue collared or white, I'm starting to feel like a cliche. Okay, not feeling. I am a cliche. A foreign car driving, latte sipping, spending too much on a haircut, expensive dog food buying cliche. Maybe I need a heavy dose of reality. Maybe I need to pair down my life. Buy Natty Lite instead of Italian Brunello. Go back to my Levi's instead of Seven Jeans. Or before I know it I'll be just like Parker Posey's character in "Best in Show", freaking out because my pampered show dog lost his freaking busy bee.

Or maybe I just need to go buy myself a four dollar decaf latte and chill the fuck out. Existential crisis's shouldn't occur in the pastry section of the supermarket while I'm deciding between the petits fours or the cardamom sweet bread. The dressing room of Nordstrom's maybe, but not in the supermarket.

33 comments:

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Yep, I heart that new Roche Bros. too!

something blue said...

It's nice to change colours now again but colour shouldn't define you says something blue. I'd take that latte, some gouda and enjoy.

Heather said...

Hey, if you can pay for all that stuff, why not?

Oh, The Joys said...

Girlfriend... you are Sooooooooo pregnant.

Love you,
J

kgirl said...

Go for the cardamom sweet bread, and make sure that you're not just pushing a fancy stroller because a graco simply won't cut it where you stroll.
Stay real, be thankful, and don't sweat it.

margalit said...

Oh, Roche Brothers! We've got one right down the street and when I finally dared to go in there I almost plotzed from the greatness of it. Now... I'm almost afraid to tell you this but.... they deliver! Oh yes they do! And they dump the groceries right on your kitchen counter. It's not only great food, but it's so easy.

So you go right ahead and dream of fancy cheeses and the worlds best supermarket bakery (those cupcakes are to die for) and leave that blue collar life for some other existential crisis... like hiring people to do stuff you just don't want to do.

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Hello, parallel lives much? I'm having my very own parallel existential crisis as I pack up my blue collar house in my blue collar hometown to move to that lily white collar suburb with my own Mayflower decended husband.

And my daughter and I just got home from Starbucks. Shoot me now.

Blog Antagonist said...

Think of it as spiritual lipstick. You're not a cliche. You just find enjoyment in little things. What the hell is wrong with enjoying a latte? Or cheese? If latte drinking and cheese consuming defined your existence, perhaps there would be a problem. Enjoy it. Who cares?

jen said...

I'm with OTJ on this one, babe.

carrie said...

It's a weird feeling to be the target audience, isn't it? To know the words to the 'musak' everywhere you shop, to need everything slung in commercials, to actually 'be' the woman in the commercial . . .

I guess I know how you feel.

motherbumper said...

Get out of the box, look at the box, think outside of that box, then get back in and stop thinking about it for while.

And oh my holy - the freakin' busy bee. Remember how they scarred that dog? Oh yes, that dog needed his busy bee. Best Dog Movie EVER.

Mandy said...

We have a gourmet chain here in town called Whole Foods, or as my fellow moms like to say, Whole Paycheck. Love the products and produce, love the organic this, natural that... until I hit the checkout.

Anyway, good luck with your existential angst.

kittenpie said...

I think mimi just had that same crisis...

Some days I get that, the oh my holy hell, how can I be so het up about my middle-class problems? flash. but really, I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I can pay too much for a haircut, but the cost of Seven Jeans makes me roll my eyes. Somewhere around there, you know?

Heather B. said...

There is no shame in getting excited about smoked gouda. K?

And I feel you on this one. Let's just say that things become different after you 'leave' the nest. Not better or worse just different. So don't feel too bad about your foreign SUV or latte addiction or the fact that Nordstrom has the best bra department EVER and you have no problem with spending $400 on something only you will see. So there.

JaniceNW said...

Watch out. I was raised middle/almost upper/middle class white collar. My parents both came from blue collar and the Depression. Now I'm back in my cookie cutter type neighborhood with a hub who changed careers from upper/middle management to a blue collar apprentice electrician because there were no other jobs. And he completely hated operations and "babysitting" all the employees under him. I'm hopefully going into the LPN program at the CC I'm getting my AA this year.

Life is funny. You end up exactly what you feared or wanted the most. It's not a good/bad thing. It's life and I can see my neck turning blue! LOL.

fooped said...

Brunello is the shiz-nit.

pgoodness said...

This made me giggle. Go buy the 4 dollar latte and chill out. I've always been a firm believer that reality is completely subjective. So what if your reality is that decent gouda cheese is what gets you excited? You are who you are. Be a good person, give back and enjoy your gouda because you can. :-)

Life As I Know It said...

Hmmm, I may have walked into that same grocery store a few months ago, spending what seemed like hours sipping my latte and perusing the produce and cheese.

If you're a cliche, I guess I am too.

Enjoy your latte!

Kvetch said...

You're my idol. You're proud of where you came from - and happy to be where you are.

SUEB0B said...

I know the feeling. I'm the only one in the fam to go to college. The things that make you grow also take you farther from your roots.

Mr. Chicky said...

oh it was worse. It wasn't Faneuil Hall ... that picture is in on the wall of the chamber of the Mass House of Representatives

http://www.iath.virginia.edu/salem/people/sewallpics.html

so much worse

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Oops, my mistake. Should probably learn that bit of history. Our kids may want to know their ancestor hung witches.

Velma said...

If you try to boil down anyone to a paragraph, they sound like a cliche.

Blame your hormones, sit back and gestate, and remember you've got lots of time to make changes after the babes get a bit older. If you want to shake things up by running for office, or getting a tattoo, or spending a month in a convent writing a book or something, you'll have time for that when the kids are in school. Heh.

Redneck Mommy said...

I am voting that you definitely need that four dollar latte and a side of chocolate.

Might help to practice your breathing exercises and think of a happy place too.

Wink, wink.

Ruth Dynamite said...

And how many more months do we have to go?

Listen, sweet thing, don't you get yourself all riled up about cliches now. Thinking = bad. (It's that way for me, at least.)

Eat a cookie (organic, free trade, whole grain).

Put your feet up (for the pedicurist).

And chillax (with your decaf latte from fourbucks).

The Domesticator said...

Oh Mrs C...

I could have written this post. Seriously.

And the exchange here between you and Mr C? *LOL*

Mimi said...

Ooh, ooh! I totally just had that crisis. Yesterday. Weird. The four dollar lattes get me through a lot.

Daisy said...

I'm "white collar" from a white collar family, and I still feel like a fraud when I go into Macy's. I should be shopping at Target instead.
So I shop at Target and use the money I saved for a $4 latte.
You're cool, girl, no angst needed.

Julie Pippert said...

Frankly I am always glad that marketers know me better than I know myself. I know where to go when I have a crisis, of self, of what to do, of what to make for dinner.

You know.

I suggest you not change a thing so we can keep getting great posts such as this, or if you must make a change, get instant Folgers coffee (pretty sure it lasts forever) and break up your frou frou coffee habit with that every now and again. It does my white trash heart good, at least.

Alex Elliot said...

I was just in that new grocery store this past week and loved it! My kids were even impressed by it and actually behaved themselves. Plus it now appears to be the only place where I can get Yo Baby drinkable yogurt and since that's all my teething 20 month old seems to want to eat these days, well and chilled grapes, I'm sure we'll be back there this week.

Major Bedhead said...

I need a Roche Brothers out here behind the Tofu Curtain.

I frequently shop at Whole Foods and I pay for the cheese and the oh-so-fancy chocolate bars and y'know what? I don't give a rat's ass. It's my money and that's how I like to spend it.

One side of my family were the founders of Rowley, MA. The other side? Well, my grandmother's sister was a prostitute during WWII. I don't even think that job HAS a collar classification.

Jozet at Halushki said...

Well, I'm even worse: we're barely hanging onto middle-classdom by our fingernails and one more set of braces - or cheap ice-skates, even - away from a financial hurting, and for all my liberal ideals, I'd love to be able to go have my hair done once in a while without Bono and Al Gore looking over my shoulder.

Here. This made me really feel like a cliche.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

You're welcome. ;-)

Don Mills Diva said...

You're thinking about these things - that's enough. Enjoy the latte - who the hell wouldn't if they could afford it?