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Catching up with Current Events

August 21st, 2013 at 07:05 pm

Currently I am at my parents' place recuperating and availing myself of their premium cable television. In a way, I feel as if I am catching up on current events. So often my colleagues would discuss television shows and movies that I had no inkling of. Magazines are my only link to television. Yesterday, I watched a bit of the series "Girls" on HBO. I tuned in out of curiosity since its creator has received so many accolades from magazines on her courageousness of exposing her unconventional body and the realness of her show. After being visually assailed by one of the most graphic, unflattering scenes that I had ever witnessed on a television show, I want to voice my opinion that there is nothing courageous about a woman showing something that millions of women do without special lighting and positioning.

I was probably hallucinating on the painkillers, but I found myself oddly transfixed by "Rock of Ages." It was the eyeball bleaching I needed after watching "Girls." In this day of reality, it was such so pleasant to watch a movie with two idealistic, squeaky clean leads in a debauched world. Even the debauchery was cleaned up with Tom Cruise's character getting it on with a Rolling Stone reporter who was wearing stylized granny underwear under her miniskirt. Watching this cleaned up version of the 80's metal scene made me reflect on how people were less materialistic then than they are today. I think a huge factor in people worrying about money is the rising cost of living. Back then, interest rates on student loans were double digits, but people graduated with loans that were equivalent or less than a credit card today.

People worry so much about survival that they make their choices based on safety, like moving back home or remaining on their parents' health insurance. I'm not big on political debate but I think it is nuts that our society is stepping backwards to allot for people remaining reliant on their parents at a time that they should strike out on their own.

Anyway, watching these kids move to the Strip to take crappy jobs and pursue their dreams of making it big in the music industry made me misty eyed and nostalgic. Now it seems, the pursuit of dreams is something only kids from wealthy families are permitted to do. Kids from middle class to poor families need to major in something practical if they want to be employed. Only rich kids or those who attend Ivy League schools are allowed to major in Medieval Studies or Music. Only kids who have parents with deep pockets can move to NYC and take on a low paid or free magazine internship and build the creative career of their dreams, unsaddled by student loans, rent worries, and covered by their parents' health insurance.

In my way, I have tried to make my life similar to the life I should have led when I was in my 20's. Throughout my 20's and mid 30's, I always had my own place. I also had a job that provided health insurance and a 401(k). Now I stay with my boyfriend and pay the equivalent of early 90's rent to live in the heart of the West Village, in an apartment that has not been renovated since the early 90's. A 20 year old would think it the ideal situation. Unfortunately, no older person lives with the freedom that a 20 year lives with. Maybe it's a Zen workout for the mind, but the hardest thing in this situation has been letting go. My boyfriend is an older man. He doesn't have much debt, but he makes a moderate income in a city that demands a high income for basic needs. He also lives in an area of the city that is dotted with expensive restaurants and boutiques; a walk around his block forces him to acknowledge that he can't afford an $11.00 juice or $20 yoga classes. An environment in which one constantly sees what one cannot have breeds dissatisfaction. It is hard to maintain a positive disposition when you are constantly confronted with what you lack.

There are kids all over the West Village partaking in the expensive goodies. I used to be one of those kids years ago when I was in college and my parents were giving me spending money. I remind my man that the kids look happy because they are young and don't necessarily think about consequences. Many of them are just charging those dinners and drinks. A few of them may have rich parents or decent paying jobs, but most of them just charge the fancy clothes and outings. It's very important to keep appearances in perspective when you are NYC.

Watching the television has been reassuring. When you live in a bubble, it's difficult to see what your life really looks like. I can step back and see that my life mirrors television, and in many ways it is a lot better.

4 Responses to “Catching up with Current Events”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    Funny, when we were IN the eighties, it was known as the age of excess and greed. The dawn of the "yuppie" and the "material girl."

    I am in a wealthy suburb of Chicago and have similar challenges. While Chicago is not the same as New York, there is a big culture of overspending for high-priced goodies, marketed as if they are basic necessities. There are many partakers, let me tell you! I don't really feel bad that I can't afford the goodies; I feel like my life is actually better, more grounded and more substantial, than that of the rich kids (and I'm talking "kids" in their 50's and 60's!) I hope your man learns to focus on what he HAS; that's where he will find happiness.

  2. soogar Says:

    The problem is that my guy grew up in a wealthy family in Long Island. His mother still has money and lives on Park Avenue. She helps out a tiny bit but she is notoriously tight with the money. Not that I really blame her; he's old enough to make it on his own.

    I feel that the yuppie phenomenon was its own subculture in the 80's. Their focus on money was as much a dream as the heavy metal dreams in the strip. Either way, both dreams involved risk and loss. Now the dream seems to be security because there is so little of it out there. In the eighties, there were still secure workplaces. Of course, that has all changed because of what happened in the eighties.

    I never really care that much about the goodies. It amuses me to see so many people in the juice store stocking up on their daily cleanse. Many repeat customers paying more $70 a day for juice. I often wish I was a fly on the wall to see how the people who own the townhouses have time to detox, work out, shop, sit in a cafe and still earn enough money to fund that life style.

    But I have purchased the $11 juice- it was okay. I can buy the bag if I wanted to as well. The really expensive bags have very heavy metal hardware that make them difficult to tote around, and not at all practical for the NYC lifestyle, unless one goes everywhere by private car.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    I gave up cable years ago, but i do enjoy hulu and recently discovered the very funny "Web Therapy." It stars that tall blond from the old Friends series.

    They are not full length episodes...just 5 or 10 minute spots that are hilariously funny.

  4. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I was tickled to note that my homeland friends were eager to reacquaint me with cable television. They'd asked me if I watch TV and not to appear hard-up or snobbish I said I watched shows on the internet and also borrowed or rented DVD box sets. They were amazed how much pop culture is missing from my head, like I'm an amnesia victim or just woken from a coma.

    And today I learned 99% of US homes have at least one TV set. I feel like an oddball now... what if I get quizzed about some C-list MTV People's Choice winner or some popular infomercial gadget?

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