notquiteold

Nancy Roman

The Idea Of It

Several years ago –  about 52, to be honest – I was helping myself to some pasta at a family dinner.

I have to digress a bit here.  It wasn’t pasta. I never heard the word ‘pasta’ until decades later. We did not eat pasta in the 50s and 60s. We had Spaghetti or Macaroni. Period. I am not quite sure when Spaghetti became Pasta.

Okay, back to the story. I was grabbing a bowl of spaghetti. I carefully measured a half-teaspoon of grated cheese, as one of my aunts watched.

“I can see that you like the IDEA of cheese more than the cheese itself,” she remarked.

You may wonder how I can remember so clearly such a minor comment made over 50 years ago. Because I hated when grown-ups made fun of me, that’s why.

But now that I’m so much more…mature… and can take criticism so much more…maturely…

I can actually see the truth of that small observation.

There are quite a few things that I like the IDEA of a lot more than the thing itself.

For instance:

BOATS.

Before I met my husband, I had a boyfriend with a boat. It was extremely appealing (one of the only appealing things about him, as a matter of fact). Until I spent some time on his boat. He spent most weekends in the marina, working obsessively on the boat, while I tried to prepare dinner in Munchkinland kitchen with two lukewarm burners and a dirty microwave, pretending to ignore the bilgey marina smell.  Once in a very great while, we managed to actually take the boat out of the marina, and we went for a ride. Which made me slightly nauseated for the rest of the day. And the day after.

(and by the way, I briefly – very briefly – dated a guy with a plane. Huge bragging rights. Lots of throwing up.)

JUMPSUITS.

How cute are one-piece outfits? Unless of course you have to sit down. Then there doesn’t seem to be quite enough material in between your shoulders and your crotch. Ouchey. And you should never try to go to the bathroom in one of those, as you have to peel off the top half, but it’s connected so it just dangles there – with the sleeves drawn by some scientific magnetism to the toilet bowl.

DONUTS.

Aroma: Wonderful. The baseball in your belly that lasts for hours:  Not so much.

I will make an exception here for my Aunt Evelyn’s donuts. They were amazing. But that was more than 50 years ago, too. Dunkin Donuts does NOT have her recipe.

(And how come, by the way, microwave popcorn smells so good and tastes so ordinary?)

JAZZ.

Jazz is the intellectual snob of music. It’s for the thoughtful, educated, sophisticated. And since I am all those things, I’ve really tried to like it. But it makes my teeth hurt. And I challenge you to find a Jazz song that doesn’t sound exactly like the one I just tried to listen to.

And speaking of music, at the risk of Rock ‘N Roll blasphemy, I don’t like Buddy Holly.  Too chirpy. (Oh, what a relief to finally say that…)

And also in the Music category:

CONCERTS.

It’s so exciting to buy tickets to see your favorite artist. Sharing his music with you, live and personal. Except that you are in the third balcony and you end up watching him on a big screen, otherwise he’s just a blurry little dot getting blotted out by the cell phone of the dude in front of you. And then you have to miss 35 minutes of the little dot waiting in line for the bathroom.

RUSSIAN LITERATURE.

I was a Lit major in college. I love books. But come on, 1,440 pages of heavy tragedy?  Too heavy for me.  I just can’t carry that around. Or even hold it for very long. And yes, I could read “War and Peace” on a Kindle. But then who would know I am reading a huge complex book? Kind of diminishes the only thing I like about Russian novels.

PARTIES.

Let me circle back to my original experience with the IDEA over the REALITY. Because I was at a party then, and I know now that Parties are the epitome of things that are better as ideas. I love anticipating a great party, planning an outfit, preparing witty quips, putting on a second layer of makeup and fancy jewelry. And then I get there, and realize that I am overdressed. And too shy to talk to anyone. And wonder how soon I can go home and watch TV.

And PICNICS are worse!  Whoever thought it would be fun to make eleven trips carrying all the food outside so you can swat flies while you eat it balanced on your lap on plates that slowly become part of the food they are holding? Who thought that was a great idea?

picnic

53 Comments

  1. Oh so true! And I would add tissue tees, coffee and a third martini to the list:)

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    • I bought a tissue tee last year. I thought it would be great for really hot days. I think the tag is still on it.

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  2. The idea of a picnic is so wonderful and the reality is so annoying. I have to agree with you concerning the picnics! Don’t get me wrong, I agree wth you on almost your entire list, but I REALLY agree with you on the picnics!

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    • I really love civilization – where you can eat INSIDE.

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  3. Bonnie

    I totally agree with you about jazz. OK, I am a philistine.
    But microwave popcorn smells as vile as it tastes. I get nauseated when I smell it.

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    • I like the smell. I’m always disappointed.

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  4. You slay me, but all points made are legit. Every one.
    I don’t know how you do it, but every time you have me laughing, Nancy. Enjoy reading all your posts. 😉

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  5. So good to know others feel the same way about so many things we are supposed to enjoy. I have no idea what a tissue tee is… but I’m sure I wouldn’t like it either!

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    • Light cotton. See through cotton. Pretty on the hanger in the store. But think “kleenex that you wear.”

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  6. I agree and I would add shopping “super” sales and Black Friday.

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    • I know a few people who love the excitement of the big sale. Any time I have to drive around and around to find a parking space, I am very unhappy.

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  7. How true! How true! Especially the one about PICNICS! I put them in the same category as Camping. 🙂

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    • But I have to endure picnics. I don’t endure camping.

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  8. Such a great post! Yes, jazz is something I can’t get into and hubby loves it…. jumpsuits, had one years and years ago, so uncomfortable, but I was young so didn’t mind… I love picnics, but never go on one, or plan one as it is so much work!! so many great things about this post, loved it!

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    • I am lucky that my husband also dislikes Jazz. Every Sunday our local radio stations has “The Swap Shop” in the morning with people calling in with all sorts of junk to sell. My husband loves that show. But immediately following is Sunday Jazz. As soon as it come on, he says, “Time to turn off the radio.”

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      • 🙂 I don’t have to listen to jazz often as hubby knows I don’t care for it, fortunately there are several other forms that we do enjoy together.

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        • My taste is James Taylor. His is Gene Autry. As least they have the guitar in commonl

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  9. Bonnie

    I also hate kleenex Tshirts. I hate that when I go to events like Maker Faire now, the men’s Tshirts are in nice sturdy fabric, and the women’s Tshirts are all in Kleenex.

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    • Why can’t they make them soft without being see-through?

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  10. This was toooo funny. Maybe because it is so true!
    I learned something new… tissue t shirts. Pretty sure they are not for me.
    CTM (chuckling to myself)

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  11. Unfortunately, my last vacation fits on this list – great idea but the reality of polluted water and bad food was a disillusionment. Sometimes, family visits on major holidays end up on your list, too….Great post!

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    • I actually thought about adding VACATIONS as part of the list… We are a lot alike!

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      • Definitely vacations! I love the concept but we never end up in the beautiful ocean front room or there are cockroaches in the dining room or I am too freaking lazy to do the sports things they have going. But I always love coming home and talking about it as it was the best thing since sliced bread!

        Also dated a pilot (never again but great stories) and a guy with season tickets to a professional hockey team (I would use that as an elimination factor if I every had to date again).

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  12. divaforaday

    Could it just be possible, that we are sisters from another mother??

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  13. Susan Ritchie

    Dunkin Donuts may not have her recipe, but you do! (I know, I gave it to you)
    Microwave popcorn should be outlawed from all offices – once someone makes it (and usually BURNS it) you never get the smell out of the office. Turns my stomach just hearing the microwave turn on….

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    • I haven’t tried the donut recipe yet… I’m afraid I will fall off the health food wagon with all that temptation. But how I remember them!

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  14. June

    I think you’re my twin at heart!! After smelling the popcorn and then eating it, you have to spend the next 1/2 hr picking the skins out of your teeth….jazz is like hip-hop and rap music to me….NOISE! I can never think of anything to say at parties…thank goodness, at my ‘advanced’ age, I don’t have to do all those things that sound good until put in practice!
    Hugs to you,
    JuneK

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    • I still get excited at the thought of a party. I think maybe I should just dress up and make an entrance. And then turn around and go right home.

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  15. Jumpsuits! HA — had my share of those in the late 70s…. and remember being at a concert in one where the only bathroom choice was a porta-pottie … eww!! Try levitating while holding half of your outfit in your hands and hoping the door doesn’t fly open 🙂

    Agree, microwave popcorn is a false prophet.

    MJ

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    • Haha! Jumpsuits and porta-potties are the worst combo EVER! And I thought it was airplane bathrooms. No contest! You WIN!

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  16. So very very true. Every single one. I’d also add ‘huge family dinners’ – the ones you dream up where everyone gathers joyfully at your house for some special event or holiday … but you end up doing all the cooking while all the other various family members (including the uncles and aunties and cousins who don’t even LIKE you but have to be included because they’re ‘family’) drink your booze, complain about the food you’ve prepared, argue over seating arrangements,criticize your lifestyle and/or decorating and/or parenting, and then leave without helping with the clean up (but expect to take leftovers home). Yeah, those.

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    • I can tolerate no help from the company. It’s when my husband becomes part of the company that I start to seethe.

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  17. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this to anyone but I’m pretty much right there with you on the whole jazz thing… I mean, I enjoy it if it is attached to a moment I’m experiencing but for the most part it all just sounds the same and I feel like I’m supposed to like it.

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    • You’re exactly right – I feel like I’m SUPPOSED to like it.

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  18. Hahaha! You are right about everything! (But I like Buddy Holly’s chirpiness!)

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    • Of everything I wrote, it turns out Buddy Holly is the only one that’s controversial. I will admit that I like him more than I like picnics.

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  19. What bothers me most is the things that truly used to be fun and aren’t anymore. Each year I plan to dig out the garden and plant gorgeous new things. It worked well when I was 30-something, but the 70-something me never gets past buying gorgeous new things and leaving them in pots.

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    • I work for a big nursery, so I do lots of gardening. But this year, “lots of gardening” was a lot less than last year’s “lots of gardening.”

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  20. Laurie MacKellar

    Never liked jazz but I wish I did, pretending, as I do on occasion, to write poetry. Poets are supposed to love jazz. The people in my now-defunct writing group loved jazz. Poems about music were almost always about jazz. That is funny about Russian literature. SOmeday I would like to get through the big cheeses of Russian literature (kinda like I would like to get through the Bible but I keep getting stuck on David and Saul. I believe pasta gained usage in the 80’s. We used the term noodles in the 70s. We distinguished between spaghetti and macaroni. We didn’t have other kinds of noodles. In the late 80’s and 90s we began to have ziti and rotini (which my mother called squiggles.) Doughnuts are delicious if they are from Spaldings in Lexington. Parties are not fun. Concerts are fun if they are small-venue.

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    • Let’s make a new rule that says “folk music and poetry” are the right combination. Then we would both fit in better.

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  21. Bonnie

    We had lasagna, spaghetti, and manicotti when we were little. Macaroni came out of the Kraft box (always the Deluxe, thank you very much, and served with tuna). I don’t think we ever said “pasta”, but noodles were “egg” or the soggy things in the Campbells soup.
    Y’all are going to hit me, but I classify poetry right along with jazz – things I am supposed to like lest I be uncultured, but in truth, I don’t like. Poetry and jazz go hand in hand for a reason…

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  22. I wish I could argue with you on some of these things but unfortunately your presentation of each point is pretty spot on. Well, maybe not the part about Buddy Holly. Maybe.

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  23. I must be the only woman over twenty who likes tissue t’s … but then i live in the desert where layering is actually functional when it’s 45 when you wake up, 90 mid day and back into the 40’s when the sun drops below the mountain ridge (somehow, i got my hands on some that are not see through unless they’re white … but then white is always see through … and I adore boats, but then I sort of grew up on one for a while; a very, very basic, racing sailboat that we never raced but it always got out of the marina. No galley (nautical word for kitchen here), no bathroom, just cockpit, mast, boom and yards and yards of sails. No motor until my dad put in a mount for his tiny 3hp fishing motor. (becalmed for nine hours no matter where you are is not fun.) On the other hand, picnics … great fun when you’re a kid and do not care because everything is eaten with the fingers at a run, generally with or away from other kids. These days, grill it outside, eat it inside. And parties … some how, never as glittering and witty and fun as the anticipation of same whether you throw it yourself or go to someone else’s. Gatherings, now those I like. Good food, good conversation, bad jokes and no one expects a Hollywierd gala event. Much better idea than parties as the ebb and flow of arrivals and departures, once the buffet style food consumption is over, keeps things interesting. You’re posts always make me smile, except when I laugh and make my husband look at me curiously.

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  24. Ugh, jazz music. When we owned our espresso bar we had live jazz every Friday and Saturday night… and I can’t stand the stuff. It was one more thing in the “family business” I didn’t get a say in. And you’re right, somehow you are made to feel like you are uncouth if you don’t like jazz. Ah, well, so be it. I also love to read, but a huge novel just loses me somewhere along the line(s). My daughter and I tried to read through Les Miserables, but I found myself skipping over large chunks of stuff that had nothing to do with the actual story. (Did the author get paid by the word??!!)

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    • Not sure about Victor Hugo – But Charles Dickens was.

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      • Hugo must have been. There are entire chapters that just make you go “what the crap was that about?”

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  25. I love the idea of parties. We didn’t get invited to them so much, but still, I wanted to be invited. Or we would be invited and I’d get to the party and wonder why I wanted to go. Now, not many parties at all, except for fundraisers, and I only get the very slightest twinge of the memory of wanting to be invited. Now I just say no thanks. I’m too old to be yelling intimate details or making polite conversation to someone I barely know in a room with too loud music and eyes darting to see who they can go talk to next. One good thing about getting older. Not so many parties, not so many twinges.

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