Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

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It’s much more normal to say your goodbyes at the end of the summer. You wish a bon voyage to the friends you made in the city, to your final dose of R&R at the beach, to your only glimmer of motivation that brought you to zumba four times a week. But because I have to be different for arbitrary reasons, I’m saying (some of) mine now. Also, I just love Shakespeare and have since the first grade when I tried to produce Romeo and Juliet on my elementary school cafeteria’s stage (true story, rehearsals were held during recess, most of our time was spent imagining and re-imagining the scene in which we’d sing LMNT’s “Hey Juliet”), so I’m going to use a quote of his whenever I can.

In this case, for me, parting is sweet sorrow because we aren’t actually parting for eternity. And before I go further, let me preface that with this very long… preface (??):

Over the last two and a half years — yes, The FYD is knee-deep in toddlerhood — The Fro-Yo Diaries has become more and more candid. And it’s grown into this magical, free spirited (probably braless if it were human) thing because talking to all of you (are you out there? yes, you!!) is just me having long-winded, one-sided conversations with my MacBook. I now speak fluent Keyboard, and I’m so good at it that I may be showing early signs of carpal tunnel. Clearly, I blossom.

Sometimes, it’s easier to write this way. It’s so easy, in fact, that 99 percent of the times I meet an FYD reader for the first time in person, she will tell me how weird our initial interaction is because she feels like she already knows me; she often will laugh, saying, “This is exactly how I thought you’d speak,” or even “This is such a YOU outfit!” even though a) we’ve never met and b) I don’t even always know what a ME outfit is, so I’m very impressed that you do!

I guess this means I might be doing something right. I’ve created an identity, perhaps an alter ego. I’ve broken boundaries (hopefully one day, the glass ceiling) and put it all on the table in doing what I love the most — getting away with saying out loud what everyone else is thinking.

There is a downside to writing like this, though, and it’s that my computer screen is a literal and metaphorical mirror. My life has definitely extended past it, but it’s hard to bring The FYD up to speed when it’s stuck in its own universe. That doesn’t mean it can’t morph like Miley Cyrus’ hair, but it will be, like Miley Cyrus’ hair, a noticeable transition when it does so. And though you know me, there are a lot of stories I haven’t yet told simply because they aren’t, or haven’t been, FYD material. If you didn’t already know, I love self-depreciating humor writing. One day, you’ll hopefully read the 20 page (single spaced, hell yeah) memoir I wrote about my family’s recent Thanksgiving in Ohio, or the one about my relationship with my now-deceased grandma, or the one about how I formed this weird theory in the beginning of high school that my anxiety disorder was directly related to the “ball game” (think first, second, and third base) and thus proceeded to relay my escapades to my mother in the hopes that my panic attacks would subside.

And yes, that’s just the beginning of it.

SO, getting to ze point: Over the next seven-ish months I will be heading far and wide out of my comfort zones. Two months as a counselor at an all-boys camp in Maine, one week home, and then (trumpets, please, Jason Derulo), five months living abroad in Prague (!!!!!!).

Just THINK of all the things I’m going to have to write about!!!!!

WOW.

And they are hopefully going to be more personal than what the labor of my love has provided up to this point. They will be funny, and embarrassing, and real, because growing into an adult is cool and important.

And on that note, I want other people’s help in cataloging this weird process. Expect some changes. For example: transcribed real-life group chats with the male species about topics/questions you want me to ask them. I don’t quite know what else I have up my bell-bottomed sleeve — in fact, I have nothing right now — but something will come. It always does.

There’s even a small chance I go on a small FYDiet (oh god no, not from actual fro-yo, just from writing here) to work on “big girl writing.” I mean, given the opportunity to sit at cafes where you aren’t watched like a hawk by a beady-eyed waiter who is ready to pounce with your bill the minute you finish that last sip of slow drip coffee will be a blessing. You know, the kind of cafes in plazas or on cobblestone streets, maybe where I’d eat a croissant because if you do that in Europe the calories don’t count; how can I not take that and run with it and write longer cooler shit if that’s what the world is telling me to do? If I want to do more, better writing, then I’ve gotta do more living.

But we’ll figure it out when we get there. As my favorite song from the Shrek soundtrack goes, “Turn to face the strange, ch-ch-changes.” This is also known as a very popular David Bowie song, if the Shrek soundtrack isn’t in your mental hard drive.

What now? I think we’ll talk soon (read: some time next week, for sure). I doubt I’ll be gone too long. Right now, I feel like a KT Tunstall song. And I love it.

As they say in seventh grade instant message chat rooms, TTFN/ta ta for now!

Namaste,
Hannah

 

On The Netflix Effect

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10:11am. I am sitting in my parents’ living room, feet clad in camp socks and Ugg slippers perched prominently upon the coffee table as if they thought they were the Sunday Style section of the Times. I drink tea. I turn on the television. In the kitchen, my dad is rolling strips of thinly sliced lox, just the way I like it, into tiny circles and placing them side by side on a large, ceramic platter. I mean, it’s brunch. We care about these things. Presentation is everything.

The first and best program I find to feast my eyes on, appeasing my grumbling stomach that yearns for a not-scooped out whole wheat everything, is SpongeBob SquarePants.

An episode of SpongeBob on a Sunday morning is better than prescribed anxiety medication. It is prescribed anxiety medication, that which I seemed to have left behind at some point in my life say, um, seven to fifteen years ago. The Feeling Of Watching SpongeBob On A Sunday Morning In Pajamas is one that has no proper name and not nearly enough recognition; yet, it was a strange experience because until I was feeling The Feeling, I didn’t realize it was one I hadn’t felt in ages.

Maybe I can blame this on the fact that I don’t have a TV in any bedroom I call my own — at home or school or place of sleep during summer or anything — but I’d guess that even if you do, you don’t come across this feeling often. And that is because your time is spent watching Netflix, which is an experience entirely different from watching normal television in the way we once did pre-Netflix.

Last week, I took my thirteen-year-old cousin shopping. I asked her what shows she watches, and this was her answer: “Glee (because they have all the seasons on Netflix now), and The Fosters [to which I asked, ‘is that on Netflix too?’ and she replied, ‘yes’]. Mostly YouTube videos.”

Now, I highly doubt that all practices of Saturday and Sunday morning cartoon watching are dead, because how else can parents of children old enough to sit up but not crawl or walk get those extra thirty minutes of sleep? Yet, they are less abundant than they once were, which I learned this weekend not just from the SpongeBob Experience but also from my 2-4pm half-napping-on-the-couch experience later that day.

You know how they take victims to crime scenes or have them smell things to bring back their memory? I forget the term for it — I know there is one, maybe it’s sensual memory (if that isn’t used to describe a graphic way of recollecting sexual experience) — but that’s what I had this weekend. I forgot that I once spent three hours every Saturday morning watching back-to-back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress all throughout middle and most of high school until I found myself back in that same sleepy position on the couch.

Today, if I want to watch a movie or a TV show when I wake up or before bed, I watch it on my computer in bed. I’ve lost my free spirited ways of flipping through channels in search of something satisfying. Thus, there’s no more sporadic SpongeBob watching until Criminal Minds is back on at 4, or no pleasant surprise when The Hot Chick is on TV. We miss the things we settled for (though in hindsight we realize SpongeBob was never truly “settling”) because we are now the masters of our own TV guides.

My mom and I used to eagerly await the two hours of TV time we’d spend together on nights when “our shows” were on — House, American Idol, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, 24, Gossip Girl, Girls, Pretty Little Liars, True Blood, ER — but now, for me at least, there is no waiting. I’m so concerned with catching up on all of the important television art and pop culture I missed while I was too busy worrying about about Serena and Blair that I have no time for OITNB or House of Cards. Instead, I spent the last month speeding through 30 Rock. I couldn’t watch this season of Girls the fun way — waiting for the weekly episode to drop — because I didn’t have time to keep up. Instead, I binge-watched it all in two sittings when it was over. I did the same with Broad City. And Portlandia. 

Netflix has created a universe of binge-watching television maniacs that hastily compete as if it is sport. Today, there is a cornucopia of good TV at my disposal. And the library keeps on growing. At this rate, I will never be well-versed in everything I should. I will never know or care about who died in the season finale of Game of Thrones. I will never have time to watch SpongeBob again.

Instead, I’ll be over here, tucked in bed with the lights turned off, with nothing but the warm glow of my laptop (which will one day surely give me radiation poisoning and turn me blind, yay!) and the insidious words on the lower righthand corner of my screen: “Next episode playing in 13 seconds.”

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Flavor of the Week: White Sneakers

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White sneakers are the euro tart of fashion.

This is the best metaphor I have ever thought of. It is such a good metaphor, in fact, that it surpasses metaphorical status. It’s synonymical.

Think about it.

Well, first of all, they are both clean and pure enough to be sung about by Madonna, touched (by sprinkles or perhaps a muddy sidewalk puddle) for the very first time. They are staples within their respective homes; a wardrobe and a frozen yogurt store. Skinny girls seem to love them. They are not for everyone, though. They are plain objects that with proper accessorizing/through bringing in the biggest guns can be the perfect statement. Most importantly, however, they smudge the boundary between classic and basic in a way that drives me mad.

Today, the white sneaker masks itself as a new phenomenon by embodying the Stan Smith (this is where euro tart and white sneakers diverge paths – euro tart knows it is the original, as it is often even referred to as “original,” and never pretends to be reinvented; however, one could argue that the Stan Smith sneaker is technically an “Adidas Original,” thus the white sneaker is labeling itself old school/original as well, which I may not disagree with – so then the paths might not diverge – so I should probably just let myself continue outside of the parenthetical to get to that point, so very sorry for this diverged path in itself, v v sorry).

Let’s turn this into a PBS documentary and trace the original sneaker back to its, um, origins. About three months before the Stan Smith, the white sneaker of choice was the high top Superga, and three months before that it was the low top Superga, and two years before that it was the classic white low top Converse (high top if you were feeling edgy but the low top was always more abundant). Before that, I’d like to say maybe white slip-on Vans? Lace up Vans? But that is completely dependent upon where you grew up, where you went to school, and how readily your style adapted to the cool girls vs. the Fall Out Boy phenomenon or maybe you always had a unique sense of style and skipped all of those phases completely, and so on and so forth.

Wanna know the funny thing? Even if you don’t, I’m going to tell you:

The low top white Superga, which is seemingly the most popular at the moment (the Stan Smiths are the “trendiest” but not the most accessible, leading to the rise of the Great White Superga – it is practically impossible to purchase a pair of Stan Smiths on any retail website until mid- to late-July at the absolute earliest), appears to be the OG euro tart, if that phrasing wasn’t too redundant for you.

And I know this because when I bought my first pair of white Supergas exactly one year ago, my mom went into her closet and came out wearing shoes identical to mine. “1989, baby,” she said with the same evil grin that took over her face when I recently bought a platform pair of Birkenstock-like sandals to match the ones she forced me to wear as a child (hers are also from the 80s) or when she refused to throw away her 80s pair of Uggs because she was loud and proud about being the first one to own a pair. Yes, some could call my mother a trendsetter, but because she hits the trends 10 to 20 years before they’re popular, she is rarely deemed fashionable (by me).

There is another funny thing about the Legacy of the Great White to point out: the difference between the dirty white sneaker and the clean white sneaker. I have some friends who insist upon having a pair of each. When they want the aesthetic of the white sneaker but know they are entering a dangerously dirty environment, they go for the already worn, scuffed, muddied white shoe. When they are going out to dinner, or are trying to look as fleek as fleek shall be, they wear the clean white sneaker.

My once-starchy Supergas finally succumbed to a weekend of day drinking and have entered the dark side. Even after a good run in the laundry, they’re weathered and aged, but in a Meryl Streep sort of way. I wanted to get the Stan Smiths, but they were sold out so I settled on what I perceive to be an equally as cool pair of black suede Originals, which I see as a serious adult-y upgrade from high school’s bar-laced black Supergas.

But who am I kidding? I’ve never really loved euro tart that much anyway.

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