Friday, January 2, 2009

An Analysis Of Plaid

As children, we constantly tested what we knew were the black and whites - the rules that our parents decreed and that applied to everyone in every circumstance, no matter what. For example, no running at the pool meant that even if you sort of trotted a little on the way to the next cannon ball attempt, you ran the risk of, at the very least, being yanked aside by the arm for a stern reminder. On the unfair days, you were taken directly home and grounded for breaking the rule. But there was a certain pleasure in testing the limits of the black and whites, of tiptoeing gingerly into the dangerous grey area.

As suburban teenagers, we went from testing the rules to defying them for the fun of it. Sort of. We defied the black and whites, but we weren't thinking about the other things we might have been doing or the consequences of those actions. We did what we did because they were things to do. We thought we were entering the reds, the danger zones. But we did this within the protective confines of our upbringings, whatever that meant. For me, sneaking out of the house to hang out at the local taqueria was living in the red. For others it meant crossing the border from Texas to Mexico for a night of partying. In most cases, we had people who kept us grounded so that when we did something stupid, we had someone who would rescues us and we learned to be more careful next time. The red was really a plaid - the black, white, and grey embellished with a thread of color. But we still needed the black and whites to help make it through.

As twenty somethings, we learned to question our greys. The former black and whites seemed ridiculous on recollection. Not only did we feel the need to wander into the grey and then loiter a while, but we wanted to know exactly why we were there and what it meant. At the same time, steeped in responsibility, we decided that we needed to continue forward - to make somethings of ourselves, so that we could establish the "right" black and whites, with a little red on the side. And why be grounded, held down?

And now here we are, thirty somethings. The black and whites and reds and greys that we knew and molded and considered and followed have collapsed in on us in one big pile of slush. If we can sift out the old black and whites, we recognize them; they are familiar and make sense to our logic because they make up the foundation of who we are. We still yearn to transform some of the things we knew to be true, to make new rules according to our consciences, but it takes a lot of effort to effect change. And we did okay with the truths we had, anyway, right? Didn't we try, at least? Maybe? And sure, the reds are still appealing, I suppose, but we've outgrown them somewhat. Our wild hairs are in fact, turning grey, to our dismay. And we are far more grounded then we hoped to be at this point.

5 comments:

Chelle said...

Good post.

And, "Reeling" (saw on Reader) is excellent. You are doing better than you think friend.

tara said...

This is why I buy red shoes.

Bonnie said...

Try being a 40 something with a teenager who is beginning to defy the rules just for the fun of it. I have to keep reminding myself that I was the same way, and I have to try and guide him to make the right decisions.

Jen said...

I love this analogy! You are so SMART! That's why I love ya!!

When did you sneak out and go to a taqueria??? We were so WILD weren't we?

Amy said...

I really enjoyed your post. I was one of the ones who went dancing in Mexico at night. I did have a fun time but I was the one who always took care of my friends to keep them out of the red. How life does change as you age.

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Analysis Of Plaid

As children, we constantly tested what we knew were the black and whites - the rules that our parents decreed and that applied to everyone in every circumstance, no matter what. For example, no running at the pool meant that even if you sort of trotted a little on the way to the next cannon ball attempt, you ran the risk of, at the very least, being yanked aside by the arm for a stern reminder. On the unfair days, you were taken directly home and grounded for breaking the rule. But there was a certain pleasure in testing the limits of the black and whites, of tiptoeing gingerly into the dangerous grey area.

As suburban teenagers, we went from testing the rules to defying them for the fun of it. Sort of. We defied the black and whites, but we weren't thinking about the other things we might have been doing or the consequences of those actions. We did what we did because they were things to do. We thought we were entering the reds, the danger zones. But we did this within the protective confines of our upbringings, whatever that meant. For me, sneaking out of the house to hang out at the local taqueria was living in the red. For others it meant crossing the border from Texas to Mexico for a night of partying. In most cases, we had people who kept us grounded so that when we did something stupid, we had someone who would rescues us and we learned to be more careful next time. The red was really a plaid - the black, white, and grey embellished with a thread of color. But we still needed the black and whites to help make it through.

As twenty somethings, we learned to question our greys. The former black and whites seemed ridiculous on recollection. Not only did we feel the need to wander into the grey and then loiter a while, but we wanted to know exactly why we were there and what it meant. At the same time, steeped in responsibility, we decided that we needed to continue forward - to make somethings of ourselves, so that we could establish the "right" black and whites, with a little red on the side. And why be grounded, held down?

And now here we are, thirty somethings. The black and whites and reds and greys that we knew and molded and considered and followed have collapsed in on us in one big pile of slush. If we can sift out the old black and whites, we recognize them; they are familiar and make sense to our logic because they make up the foundation of who we are. We still yearn to transform some of the things we knew to be true, to make new rules according to our consciences, but it takes a lot of effort to effect change. And we did okay with the truths we had, anyway, right? Didn't we try, at least? Maybe? And sure, the reds are still appealing, I suppose, but we've outgrown them somewhat. Our wild hairs are in fact, turning grey, to our dismay. And we are far more grounded then we hoped to be at this point.

5 comments:

Chelle said...

Good post.

And, "Reeling" (saw on Reader) is excellent. You are doing better than you think friend.

tara said...

This is why I buy red shoes.

Bonnie said...

Try being a 40 something with a teenager who is beginning to defy the rules just for the fun of it. I have to keep reminding myself that I was the same way, and I have to try and guide him to make the right decisions.

Jen said...

I love this analogy! You are so SMART! That's why I love ya!!

When did you sneak out and go to a taqueria??? We were so WILD weren't we?

Amy said...

I really enjoyed your post. I was one of the ones who went dancing in Mexico at night. I did have a fun time but I was the one who always took care of my friends to keep them out of the red. How life does change as you age.