Measuring up to the “Cool Kids”

I have three blogs to write this week.  Two have the potential to be profound, one is simply catty.  Today I’ve chosen to go catty.

My son spent the weekend with his dad and dad’s GF.  The GF lives in the popular development, with what I refer to as “the cool kids”.  These are people who are petty, exclusive, vapid, and rich.  (some, like my ex, are people who put on ostentatious displays of wealth by accruing massive amounts of debt)

I’ve come to love talking to my son when he comes back, because I get to hear the voices of my ex and his GF in the stories he tells.  What fun!!

The leader of this cool kids (let’s call her Stephanie) is an ex, pro-football team cheerleader.  She’s got blond hair and blue eyes, and she loves to tell people how much she spent on the brazilian hard wood they recently imported for her 1st floor.  She married a handsome college quarterback, who couldn’t make the pro’s because of excessive concussions.  He also can’t remember anything, because of excessive concussions.  However, he is handsome, and he inherited his daddy’s business, so they live a charmed life.  Or perhaps, they present a charmed life – who knows..

They have a house at the Jersey shore, and this weekend my son, my ex & GF, and a number of other members of her clique spent the weekend there.  My son likes to go there because he likes the kids, he likes the money they get to spend and he swears the kids are aware that their parents are assholes and won’t grow up to be them.  Remains to be seen, I tell him.

His story today started with how he feels sorry for the women.  “They are stay at home moms, and all they have to do is shop and create drama.”  Which they do – to excess.

(I’ll have to broach with him the fact that the definition of stay at mom doesn’t include excessive shopping and drama creation, that these women engage in these activities of their own volition).  I digress.

Stephanie, being the leader of the gang, is the organizer.  She is the one who sets up all the trips, manages the parties, makes the reservations, decides who is a cool kid and who is not, etc.  She is to be admired for this, as it is not an easy job.  Recently she organized a women’s only trip to Mexico for 12 women.

Honestly, who among us is currently thinking “great idea”?  If you are, you might want to stop reading, because you might actually be a “cool kid”.

The story, as my son tells it, goes like this.  Stephanie plans this whole trip and is, therefore, in charge.  She makes reservations one night for a party of 12.  Shortly before they are to gather at the restaurant she gets a text from one of the women.  This woman says “Trish, Laurie and I got held up shopping and won’t make it to dinner.  Sorry”.  The woman sending the text is Sue.  (all names fictitious)

Needless to say, Stephanie is furious.  To begin with, she is in charge, and these women have no right disobeying her schedule.  To make matters worse, Sue is a member of the group only because of Stephanie’s generous, all-inclusive nature.  Were Stephanie not this generous, Sue would never have qualified to be in the group.  (yes, actual words)  Not only has a really-should-not-be member disrespected the leader, but she’s pulled in two other long standing clique members, who would never have been this insensitive on their own.

I am sure that Sue is no longer a welcome member of the clique.  If Trish and Laurie wish to retain their welcomed status, I suspect there’s some apologizing to be done.

(I’m writing this story and it dawns on me – my son and I need to watch the Godfather.  Again, I digress.)

My son is watching my face as he recounts this story, and as I begin to say “what possible” he cuts me off and finishes my sentence, which was “difference does it make if 3 women don’t show up?  Who cares?  That’s what you would say.”

As I metaphorically patted myself on the back for having taught him an important nuance of real life,  I went on to question some of the other assumptions built in to his story.

Like –

  • who goes on a trip with 12 adult women, all vying for the #1 spot?  Who??  Anyone?
  • What is the difference between being a planner and being a control freak?
  • Do these women really have nothing better to do than gossip about events like this?  Couldn’t they choose to,  well, I don’t know – do yoga maybe??

To which he replied “that’s what I thought!  They need an actual problem, like cancer or divorce.  Then maybe they’ll understand what is  important in life”.

I need to invent something that pats me on the back during occasions such as this.  Way to go ME!!

Then we started  talking about the kids.  The kids did not want to join the party of 25 going out for dinner Saturday night.  Actually, they refused to go, so Stephanie gave them $150 for pizza.  I have so many problems with just this part of the story, but they will have to wait.

Since the kids were alone they were able to talk freely about the parents.  Each of the kids (i.e. children of the “cool kids”) readily agrees that their parents are assholes.  They each acknowledge that the parents are shallow and drama ridden, and that their lives are remarkably self indulgent.  Each of these kids, according to my son, swears he/she will not end up like their parents.

I challenged this.  I told him it is rare for children to not end up like their parents, and he shot back that I was an example of someone who became the complete opposite of her parents.  I granted him that, and thought about it for a few minutes.  Finally I said this:

To become an adult unlike your parents requires you do three things:

  • create a value system other than what you have been taught
  • figure out how to live within the parameters of that new value system
  • make a conscious effort, every single day, to behave differently than what feels comfortable to you.

This is a lot of work, and few of them will achieve it.  He agreed, and he told me the names of a few of the kids he can already tell will replicate their parents vapid lives.  The others he agreed, we’d have to wait and see.

And such is the way I am influencing my 15 year old, without even being present.  It is a much better system than the one I was dealing with while still married.  He is now seeing his dad in a relationship just like his and mine, and on the other hand he is seeing me happy.  And he gets it.

Who knew all it took was cancer, divorce, a new GF, foreclosure and a few other life events to turn things around!!

By the way,

  • Who goes out to dinner on Saturday night with 25 other people.  And why?
  • Who, when their children revolt, says “ok.  Here’s more $ than you’ll need to stay behind with no adult supervision”.
  • Who is so wrapped up in their friends’ perception that they abandon their children???

All rhetorical questions, of course.

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