FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND 

FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND

They say, and of course I’m getting this from watching last week’s episode of Ally McBeal, that since the September 11 attacks people have been getting it on more than ever. Something about there being a new fragility to time, a what-the-hell-are-we-waiting-for mentality, we could all go at any moment. Along the same line and information not from a television show, I heard statistics that marriage license applications rose right after the attacks as well. On NPR, they surmised that people were looking toward more of a sense of family than they’d had before. I thought all that sounded about right. My long-running theory on America is that we’re all sort of hermetically sealed off from each other, speeding along highways and byways in our cars, not making eye contact on the sidewalks, not really connecting with each other. Or that might just be me. But I don’t think so. Unfortunately, well, this part isn’t all that unfortunate except for the time I spent on I-40 in Arkansas, I went home and saw my immediate family for Thanksgiving. It was actually quite nice. I spent a lot of time defrauding the record companies out of millions of dollars for bootleg internet copies of “who let the dogs out” and that song on Mitsubishi commercials. Anyway, the unfortunate part was that while I was at home, I realized that I’m too selfish for a family. And too set in my ways. Especially for a new family. I can deal with the one I’ve got now pretty well; I’ve been balancing my world with theirs for 23 years now. Even so, you would not even believe -- and I’m almost ashamed to admit (notice almost) -- how disappointed I was when I realized I missed Brad Pitt on Friends. I was eating Thanksgiving dinner or hanging out with my family or something instead. And in my little world, Brad Pitt would have been a priority. I don’t understand why my mom and dad don’t feel the same way. I would like to say that Gwen Stefani and No Doubt said it best, but I don’t remember exactly what they sang. Something about every year growing more and more self-absorbed and being worried about getting too selfish to care for children. Or something. I think. That’s the point I’m trying to get at anyway. Right now, I can’t imagine sacrificing my everyday luxuries for anything. I’ve become used to buying quality hair care products and clothes for myself whenever I want. And I realized I’m not willing to give that up to buy someone a PlayStation. Or, to not overshoot my finances, shoes. Not to mention the priority I put on my time and my privacy and my ability to do just about anything I want to, just because I want to. I suppose if I actually had a kid I would feel differently. But I’m not just talking about children; I’m talking about husbands, mothers-in-law, cousins, the whole kit and caboodle. Let me put it this way: Right now I don’t have to worry about anyone who might not consider Brad Pitt on Friends a priority. I own a television. Not only that, but I control the remote. And I can’t imagine, after all these years of virtual remote freedom, going back to a system where I have to sit idly by, watching someone skipJust Shoot Me for Sportscenter or bypassing NYPD Blue for Barney. I even found myself wondering if it was possible to maintain two households after you get married or if having separate rooms is ever an option. Not for sleeping, just for having a space to call your own. Of course this all falls under the heading “purely theoretical” and miles in the future. But that’s just the problem. I’m scared that the longer I own the remote, the more reluctant I’m going to be in giving it up. And as much as I like the remote, I don’t think it’s going to be that much comfort when my teeth are dentures and no amount of Clairol with cover the grays. My only comfort is, if we could go at any moment, and we can, I’d rather be doing something I want to do. And I can only guess that both the people Ally was talking about, the ones getting it on, and the ones NPR mentioned, looking for family, feel the same way. They just went about it differently.

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