Hello summer! You have finally arrived!! There’s nothing like that added glow from the sun, cute summer dresses, flip flops, a cold beer and an overall sexiness that comes from the heat! Perhaps the only thing I would change is how frizzy my hair gets…
Summer always makes me nostalgic – I often recall that amazing rush of freedom when I would write my last exam and run out to party with my friends through to the hot summer nights which would then be followed by long summer holidays that felt like they shaped my life and forever changed me…
With all my nostalgia, it should come as no surprise that I’m probably the biggest daddy’s and mommy’s girl there ever was. If I could still live in their basement, together with my Mr. Niceguy, the 7 year old, the 3 year old and our pet fish, Zoom, I would. Of course, they would probably drive me crazy – and then my crazy would probably make them wish they could evict me, but being the nice people they are, they wouldn’t and, well, let’s just say that I’d hate for a good thing to go bad.
Being Armenian by heritage, my family is quite similar to Voula’s in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and not unlike the Kardashians (minus the rolling cameras, modeling contracts, and the big house in Calabasas) in that everyone is hip deep in everyone else’s life. Armenians (at least my grouping) tend to be LOUD, all about food, LOUD, gesticulate with their hands when they speak, LOUD, and above all else, very passionate about family.
In a culture where family comes first, it follows that my parents’ happiness means everything. More than that, their approval is nearly always essential and sadly, it is this kind of relationship that also makes me quite vulnerable to any of their criticism for they have absolutely no filter and if they believe they are acting in my best interest, the prospect of potentially deflating my ego or hurting my feelings will not stop them…
Take my thirty X girlfriend. She, like me, is also Armenian and my seatmate on the bullet train to forty. Just this morning, while dropping off her children at her parents’ house before going to work, her mom did the typical.
Mom: Oh hello, dear. What is that you’re wearing?
BFF: What? Why?
Mom: Are those shorts? Should you be wearing them to work?
BFF: They’re fancy suit shorts – they are for work. And besides, they’re only just above my knee – it’s not like I’m wearing short shorts. These are in style now, Mom. And they look great with my blouse and my high heels – I’m very well put together.
Mom: OK dear. Whatever you say…but shorts are shorts.
How is it that our parents can just get to us that quickly? Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off if I (could) just cut the cord – if I could separate myself from this kind of emotional roller coaster: yes I know you were once parents too, yes I know you’ve lived much longer and are therefore wiser, yes I realize that the times we live in now can’t hold a candle to yours, and so on and so forth. And somehow, the long walk to school in hip deep snow and all sorts of other trials and tribulations always seem to come up as they stress for the umpteenth time how things are so much easier for our generation…blah, blah, blah!
That same afternoon, after a very quick bite I spent the rest of my lunch running some errands which resulted in a quick walk up Bay Street. Two women happened to be walking in front of me and snapped me out of my thoughts with their loud regales over their night out. What I noticed first was how tall they were – in my case, I’m vertically challenged at 5 foot 4…5 foot 4 and a half on a good day. What I noticed next was how envious I started to feel about their fun and fancy free story…
As I kept listening to their conversation (ok, eavesdropping but sorry, in my defence they WERE loud and as I explained above, I’m culturally preconditioned to respond to anything LOUD) my attention became drawn to their outfits, which fit their characters quite nicely. The first simply wore black pants and a blouse (the “supporting role” in the last night’s wild night), while the second was wearing a dangerously short dress for work topped with a little black cardigan (the “lead role” and main benefactor). As things progressed, I thought, wow, this leading lady should have chosen a better outfit for work – however would she manage to bend over…or sit down for that matter? But I was snapped out of my wandering thoughts when I noticed a hole the size of a toonie right on her, well, caboose.
I walked behind them for about a block thinking about this classic dilemma: do I tell her or shall I just mind my own business?
Me: Ummm, excuse me. Listen, I’m sorry to interrupt but I have to tell you that you have a hole in your dress –
Lead: What? Where? Really? [Support eyes me suspiciously]
Me: Well, right in the back, right on your, ahem, bum.
Lead starts spinning around trying to see so Support gets in there and validates my claim.
Lead: Omigod! [Blushes beet red and is extremely embarrassed.] I can’t believe it! I love this dress! Thank you so, so much for letting me know. [Looks to Support] I wonder how long we’ve been walking for…omigod.
Me: Maybe just take off your cardigan and tie it around your waist – you’ll be just fine.
As I walked on, I thought of my own trials and tribulations over the years. I thought of how glad I was that so many of my wild nights, drink, and strangers were behind me…for the most part anyway. And I thought of my parents and how even though I might not want to hear what they have to say, I am grateful that for the time being they are still here to tell it like it is…Though the cord is short, it’s not worth cutting off…