Posted by: Hannah | 09/28/2015

in which i find my people

 

When I was a kid, I wanted so badly to belong to the popular set. I wanted more than anything else to be “normal”. Conformity was my goal. I didn’t want to be unique. I wanted to blend in.

As a teenager I rejected all of that (or thought I did; in retrospect I was just conforming with a different crowd). I shaved my head, let a guy I was dating pierce my bellybutton with a needle, listened to angry music and read angry books.

I still didn’t really feel like I knew where I fit.

Yesterday, it became obvious where I belong. I spent the morning busily ticking the boxes on “suburban middle-class mom” and my inner 15-year-old wanted to punch me.

We woke up bright and early to take the children apple-picking. Apple-picking! We’ve been doing it for years, but recently it has become one of the standard events you see on social media. Think the visit to mall Santa. As soon as the back-to-school pictures are over, for a few weeks it’s nothing but kids in orchards and artful shots of perfect apples still on the tree.

We piled into our minivan and headed out, with a detour at McDonald’s for coffee. I ordered a pumpkin spice latte because goddamn it, I like pumpkin spice lattes, I don’t care if that makes me so basic I could cry. I just want to be able to drink my pumpkin pie for the entire month of October, OK?

Michael handed me my latte and I sniffed it. There was no smell except coffee. I tasted it. There was no deliciously-sweet flood of nutmeg & cinnamon & far too much sugar. They had given me a plain latte by mistake.

After some back & forth (Michael: Just go in and explain the mistake! Me: No, I’ll just drink this gross thing because I don’t want to make a fuss) I took my latte back in. I learned an important lesson very quickly.

It is impossible to say the sentence “excuse me, I ordered a pumpkin spice latte and this is a regular latte” without sounding like an utter wanker.

Now, they very quickly handed me the correct drink, and no one seemed overly bothered, but as I walked back to my car (only not wearing yoga pants because they were in the laundry, can you even?) it occurred to me that I had found my tribe.

WGP

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Responses

  1. I hear you. I am a suburban mom, and there’s no avoiding it. I embrace the yoga pants.

    Yesterday I was listening to the CBC and they were doing a profile of doctors with tattoos – apparently hospitals have been cracking down and insisting that all medical staff with tattoos keep them covered up. This one doctor who worked in a pediatric ER talked about how his clientle was mostly “yoga pants wearing, starbucks drinking moms” and how even THEY didn’t mind his LEGO-man tattoo, much to his surprise. Then the interviewer commented that if any of those “yoga pants wearing starbucks drinking moms” were to complain, the hospital would be all over him.

    And then I was thinking, HEY, I am wearing yoga pants and drinking a starbucks, and now I have been labelled as part of THAT GROUP of …what? Rigid, intense, forceful women? We are apparently a defined segment of society and I’m not sure it’s all that flattering.

    (Yet you will pull my yoga pants from my cold, dead hands.)

    • I resisted yoga pants until six months ago. TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS, I would grumble to myself. And I don’t do yoga anymore, so why would I want to be dressed for an exercise class all the time? Then I tried a pair and OMG. Life-changing.

      I think yoga pants / Starbucks is synonymous with upper-middle-class privilege now, and maybe that’s the *actual* defined segment the doctors were discussing? It’s ridiculous though, many MANY of these same moms that I know have tattoos themselves. So… weird. I’m kind of glad I didn’t hear that episode. I like Brian Goldman a lot and that is souring me on him a bit.

      • It was an interesting segment. As a non-mom I was still offended by that stereotyping. I was more frustrated by the sexism of the whole thing. Yes, male doctor can get away with a Lego tattoo but nurses (predominantly a female profession) must all be bland homogeneous drones to “put patients at ease”. Complete and utter bullshit.

  2. Yeah, whenever I listen to Josh Groban (that’s right, I enjoy listening to Josh Groban damn it) and my kids and husband look horrified, I calmly remind them that I’m a middle-aged white lady. I’m mandated by my code to enjoy JG and other things like yoga pants, restaurants that take reservations, oddly specific drink orders at Starbucks, being in bed by 9:30, good tasting alcoholic beverages, and practical but moderately attractive rain gear for standing outside watching my kids play soccer in February.

    Related to Lynn’s comment: I live in the Pac NW and I think I’m the last adult in town who doesn’t have a tattoo. They’ve gone from objectionable to unnoticeable by all but either the most rigid or elderly here.

  3. I own my Starbucks habit. I don’t wear yoga pants, but I don’t judge those who do. I don’t have much ground to, given my own sartorial choices.

  4. If I drink coffee at all, it is in the form of a highly sugared, soya-milked disguise (mocha or caramel latte) and frankly I do not care that this places me into a ridiculous stereotype because it tastes good and sometimes I need caffeine. I also realise that as a vegan, cat-loving lesbian I am one haircut away from being a bit part in a sitcom, but pshaw! I love my cat, I love my girlfriend, I’m lactose intolerant and I’ll wear my hair however I like it. Yay for being who we are, stereotypes be damned!

  5. We call yoga pants
    Leggings.
    Because I think if they were called yoga pants over here, no one would wear them!
    Leggings are my life. There, I said it.
    Hannah, you can have my quota of pumpkin spiced lattes because I think I would gag if I found it in my coffee.
    I’d be the direct opposite
    “Excuse me young man, my latte tastes of Halloween, what sorcery is this?? Change it IMMEDIATELY!”
    I am therefore also a
    Coffee Wanker.
    *takes a bow*
    And yes, whilst my 15 year old goth self would be ashamed, my inner eternally 28 year old is now old enough to not give a flying fig!!
    I love you Hannah, though please do not shave your head again.

  6. “I just want to be able to drink my pumpkin pie for the entire month of October.” This was hilarious. And awesome. LOVED the whole post.

    Did I tell you about the time I ordered an eggnog latte only to discover to my utter horror that there was COFFEE in it? I had honestly thought there was JUST eggnog.
    So I was the wanker who was like, “excuse me, There is COFFEE in my latte.”
    I am still looking for my tribe as a result.

  7. I love everyone in this thread SO MUCH. I wear leggings all winter because why does having a zipper digging into my belly button make me a better person? The world is lucky I ever change out of my pajamas. To paraphrase someone from my book club, I value comfort more than anything society has to offer. And you go ahead and OWN your pumpkin spice addiction. I’ll be over here complaining that my cupboards are so full of food that things keep falling on my head when I open them. That’s right, my life of privilege and plenty is in danger of giving me a concussion. Wah.

  8. It’s good to see you posting! I’ve been worrying about you lately. I dreamed about you. I think there was an apocalypse.

    And I love all things pumpkin too. Let’s embrace our whiteness. As long as we don’t take the entitlement along with it.


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