I had one of those moments just now when I had the overwhelming sense that all my friends are living subtle variations on the exact same life I’m living.
When I was in my twenties, I was convinced that every experience I was having–intense sex! intense heartbreak!–was the first time anyone was having it (and the fact that Haircut 100 or whoever was singing about exactly what I was going through on MTV couldn’t persuade me otherwise.) Now, in true Formerly fashion, the sense that we are all in the same comfortable, albeit occasionally wobbly canoe, felt peaceful, not depressing.
I was on the phone with my girlfriend Demetra in Greece (she has one of those calling plans that lets us blather on for no money–remember your mom screaming that you’d better shut up because she was on the phone “long distance” and it was expensive and she needed to concentrate? Those days have gone the way of rotary phones, busy signals and having the excuse that you did try to call but no one answered.)
Anyway, her daughter Katarina came up to her while we were talking and I heard something that sounded like this (I don’t speak Greek and the sound was muffled.)
Katarina: “Da-dum, da-da da dada da dah dum, da da? De da da deh da deh!”
Demetra: “DA-duh! Da da dud dah du da da da? DA!”
I knew instantly what had been said was something to the effect of, “Mom, do you know where my other sparkly hair barrette is? I can’t find it anywhere.” And Demetra said, “Katarina, can you not see I’m on the phone? Go!”
I also knew that after we hung up, Demetra would star in the Greek-language version of the exact same movie I’d been in this morning. The dialogue is as follows: “God, you didn’t have to yell at me, mom! I was only asking a simple question!” and “I. Was. On. The. Phone. It’s your job to keep track of your own things–I’m your mother, not your housekeeper.”
Needless to say, I’ve had several such conversations this week alone with my daughters, as I did with my mother growing up, as she no doubt did with her mom. Irritating as those moments of friction are, the whole thing felt right somehow, like if everything else persists on changing–if our bodies and priorities have shifted, if technology changes so fast you that what you just mastered is obsolete, if they stop making the only lipstick color that looks good on you SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CAN!–at least moms and daughters will likely stay the same.