Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the last vestiges of cool

Awhile back I called the front office at M's daycare and the young woman who answered the phone when trying to place who I was casually said oh yeah, that's right, you're the cool parents. The amount of pleasure I cleaved from those few words borders on the absurd. Being cool, see, is the last vestige of a former life. Of a life unwilling to bend. Who will still bravely go out into the world sans baby items. Or who will take her child to faraway places and breastfeed at the tops of ruins. Or whose partner had dreads, for god's sake. Cool, see. All was not lost. Breeding CAN be cool.

And then as the years go on I find the cool slipping. Little things seep in like inexplicable giddiness in the face of people dressed as cartoon characters. Or singing along with CDs filled with teapots and wee spiders. But I monitored the cool, monitored the slippage. I was still in control. The balance hadn't tipped.

And then the unthinkable. The thing I said I would never do. Could never do. That all but defined the very loss of cool. And the worst part is that I caved in fairly easily, after years of resistance, tonight I caved in almost silently. The slippage. The loss. The pain. I feel it still.

Without further ado I give you this:
The shopping car cart. And there I was pushing this creaking behemoth filthy wretched vestibule of a grocery container, dodging the teetering old folks who'd blandly smile and the gangster types who looked on and away with appropriate disdain. One man looked on with definite sympathy and as I went by I muttered dude I know, I can't believe I'm pushing this pile of shit either only to hear him chuckling as he passed.

But if you look real close you'll see six amber tips nestled in the back. And that can only signify one thing. Micro brews are in the house, er, cart. So take that, you cruel robber of cool.

53 comments:

hele said...

You are so cool you want me want to get pregnant so that I can have a little girl and push her around in a cart just like that.

Because you are the cool of a deep green living forest as opposed to the cool on a beer tin.

Hel

Family Adventure said...

Hey, at least the daycare gal still thinks you're 'cool' right?

Honestly, I am so glad we've graduated from those nasty grocery car(t)s.

Heidi

cce said...

LOL, and I thought my recent hair cut was the last blow to cool. But it turns out that my cool factor was long ago depleted - my kids have been zipping around Home Depot in these things for ages. Sigh. Gasp. If I'd only known.

kiki said...

Cool for me is much more superficial... how am I dressing, how do I look. My failure to give in is not succumbing to suburban middle-age, the sweat suit as an outfit, the short, poofy hair. See how very shallow I am? Truly the old bitch that lost her sparkle and she can't get over it syndrome.

Dude, you exude cool without even trying, even if you're pushing around a pile of shit.

thordora said...

I always want to climb IN the car myself.

Cool is in the eye of the beholder. Dammit, I'm cooler with the silly buggy than without.

Amy Y said...

Well for what it's worth, I think you are the coolest mama I know... :) Micro brews or not.

Christine said...

oh dude.

yes i have so been there.

jennifer said...

Cool is a state of mind!

Persephone said...

Ahahahhaa - this is so funny. But cool is very self-conscious and overrated, so consider yourself...authentic, which is way cooler than cool.

Gwen said...

Never used one of those cars, but I'm also sans micro-brew .... so where does that put me in the hierarchy of cool? WHERE? (oh wait, I have a mini-van. Forget it.)

The Chick said...

I made CD's for Little Boy's preschool room last year and was deemed forever "cool" by his young teachers. I liked it....I can't lie. I think they were shocked that a parent learned that kids liked something beyond Barney and Dora!

petite gourmand said...

cool post.
and funny too!

thailandchani said...

What in the world is that thing? :)

deb said...

Dude, snort, I'm sorry. It's hard to typing when you're laughing, but yeah, you're still the cool mom, snort.

alejna said...

You crack me up, jen. You are not just cool, but way cool. Dude.

I haven't yet had to resort to the behemoth car carts. Though there was this one time in Best Buy, or some such, where I did push around a stroller that looked like a taxi cab. And while not exactly cool, the alternatives possible while going shopping with a simultaneously tired and wired toddler also would have ranked low on the cool-o-meter.

Gill said...

LOL....been there...done that!!

Beck said...

No one has ever thought I was cool at any time in my life.
This is a very sad thing, really.
But you can buy beer IN YOUR GROCERY STORE! Lucky.

Karen said...

oh, I know, it's just dreadful in a hysterically funny sort of way - the SUVs of the grocery store around here and what's worse is that when I do cave, I also suffer from a mild sense of (clearly misplaced) guilt.

urban-urchin said...

cool is being willing to be a totally dork for your child's benefit.

personally I've never understood why 9 month old babies need mohawks other than to affirm their parents need to be cool. i believe that's called tragically hip and it's just that a wee bit tragic.

so phhhffftt to the people looking at you in disdain!

crazymumma said...

Scuse while I pee my pants laughing so hard.

The true cool darlin' is the parent who can hold her head up high while pushing said behemoth.

oh man. I cannot stop laughing.

Blog Antagonist said...

Oh hon, it happens to the best of us. We can fight it, but we can't win. Embrace the fogeyness.

mitzh said...

You're still cool.

My daughter loves to ride to kiddie shopping cart and honestly I don't really care about the stares that people gave me as long as she's happy, I'm happy!

And thank you for the good laugh!

Janet said...

Little by little, the cool slips away. Then, one day, you and your significant other are out in public wearing matching coats and sensible shoes. And we won't even remember what cool used to feel like. Or we'll be the new cool.

Either way, that's so far away from right now. Four years ago my then-20-year-old sister's hunky boyfriend told her I was a MILF. After she translated the acronym for me (see? not cool) I was positively giddy. I'm still coasting on those fumes...

Mad Hatter said...

I kinda like being uncool. It feels rebellious in this day and age. And that cart? Does it get any cooler than that? That's a ride that doesn't even need pimping.

Hetha said...

I think whatever cool factor I might have had going on dissipated at about the time I started coveting mini-vans and shunning my husband's 67 chevy impala ragtop. Btw, that shopping cart looks like a moon vehicle, awesome!

Kyla said...

God how I hate those carts! I can't drive them for shit. And yet? I try. Looking as ridiculous as possible while bumping into people and shelves because those little faces smile and beg "Mommy, pleeeeease!" And I can't think of a good reason not to cave.

liv said...

I'm trying to keep the young and cool things going, but it can be challenging. I was informed at Montessori that when trying to place me, the teachers jogged their collective memory by saying, "Oh, sunglasses." At least I have my overpriced collection of sun specs to keep me going.

carrie said...

I despise those carts. And the worse thing ever? When your kid bails and leaves you there, ALONE -- just you and the dirty, uncool race car cart. Ugh!

Jennifer said...

At least you can maintain a bit of cool with one cute little kid in there. You can be all, "This isn't really my life!" But when you have two in that filthy cart and one riding on the top of it, saying, "Mom! Go fast around the corner and see if I fall off!" you kind of don't even have the "This isn't really my life" thing to fall back on...

*sadly shaking my head and saying goodbye to cool*

The Expatriate Chef said...

Those things steer like a friggin' barge. Yeah, I'm there with you. Right there with you.

blooming desertpea said...

Dude, I can't believe you have been pushing that pile of shit! HAHAHA

Dude, you just cracked me up - you're 100% cool, dude!!!

**still laughing**

Can you hear the echo? lol

Tabba said...

it happens to the best of us, doesn't it?

ugh.

Ally said...

Hilarious. And I feel your pain, though I suspect I was never even a fraction of the cool that you once were.

flutter said...

Dude, you are still so cool.

Denguy said...

Like Beck, I'm just freaked out by the beer in the grocery store thing.

b*babbler said...

Beer and bananas in the same place - I'm Canadian, so that is just so wrong...

I'm just going to go with the idea that I never was cool, so at least it's one thing less whose loss I have to mourn. :)

Mrs. Chicky said...

Gotta keep representin', yo. And you're still way cooler than me so you're doing okay in my book.

But I'd love to be able to buy beer in my grocery store.

Pgoodness said...

Dude. It was fun while it lasted. Have you pushed one of those multi-kid crazy carts in Target yet? The ones with the two seat in front of the cart? Talk about impossible and ridiculously UNcool! My boys love them though, and when Matt has to go to the potty at the other end of the store and I run, it sounds like an airplane taking off and they squeal with laughter and delight. There are times when being uncool is the coolest thing around. :-)

jen said...

Are you all kidding? You can't buy beer at the grocery store? All that free love and healthcare up north and you can't buy beer with your bread?

Viva Americana.

Anjali said...

And drinking and driving in a car-cart? It's not only legal and mentally necessary, it's also cool!

Amanda said...

Oh, but they are so fun for kids. Good on you!

meno said...

Oh yes you did!

Love over cool. A win every time.

Lawyer Mama said...

Dude. You are a heartbeat away from a minivan now.

You know, when we moved to Virginia I couldn't figure out where the heck all the REAL alcohol went. You can only buy beer & wine in the grocery store. Everything else is sold in a state store. The Alcohol Beverage Control store or ABC. And here I thought the ABC stores I was seeing everywhere were some sort of pre-school chain to be avoided at all costs. I'm sure there's some sort of lesson in there....

Lawyer Mama said...

You know, I'm also wondering what the Canadians would make of the South where you can get "to go" cups to take out of the bar and we have drive through daquiri stores.

QT said...

Yes - can a minivan be far behind, friend?? This post put a huge smile on my face, I could totally hear you talking to me about it as if I were there.

Karen Forest said...

Oh my! Cool never picked me to be on his team. Seriously...Do you know how NOT COOL I am? Really, do you want to hear it?

I (head bend, kicking ground) actually embrace and enjoy this little activity.....

I think (unfortunately) that my calling in life was to push a supermarket cart/car with OJ and milk and of course, fruit snacks in the back.

(yelling) "Cool! What did I ever do to you? Am I not good enough...." (sigh)

KC said...

dude. In Maryland you can't get any alcohol in grocery stores. NJ too. Americana my foot!

And it seems that I have so much more easily embraced the slippage of cool as I flocked to the shopping cart kiddie car. And you know about the mini van.

Momish said...

My coolness slipped ages ago. I think it started the first time I actually heard myself say out loud, "Can you turn that down?"

I too have pushed those piles of shit with great shame and dismay. It happens. But not all hope is lost!

Coolness in us, is just like coolness in a breeze, it comes and it goes. It'll be back in full force, you wait in see. You are the cool parents, after all!

bgirl said...

HA - hysterical.

cool is the ability to step outside yourself...so you are still one cool chica.

Oh, The Joys said...

Oh. You ARE cool. I see it now. Heh.

painted maypole said...

bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

and you are cooler than cool, Ms. Jen, cooler than cool.

Susanne said...

Ah, the cool. For decades I have been wanting to be cool, but I never managed. Compared to most of the kother kindergartener's moms I probably am. You know, dude, for some of us breeding can be a cool booster.

we_be_toys said...

wow...that IS a serious fall from coolness there - the dreaded shopping bus...how did this happen? The things we do for oue kids...sheesh!
Great post!