Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where Have All the Grown-ups Gone?

Where are the grown-ups?  Is there an adult in the house?

I keep coming back to this, but I cannot help but be genuinely horrified by the immaturity at large today.  It's no wonder we have problems.  Still firmly entrenched in the "under 30" crowd, my husband and I (and probably most of our close friends) already feel like disappointed grandparents, shaking our heads at the rest of our peers.

The impetus behind this particular rant is an article stemming from the morass of the Obamacare debate.  It focuses on a Georgetown co-ed speaking in support of Obamacare, describing to Nancy Pelosi the onerous financial burden of contraceptives on the average law school student.  Once again, there are some extremely basic concepts here beneath all the "distracting" and "controversial" issues of morality and social agenda.  We could go on about how it's disgraceful that anyone is having sex at all at a supposedly Jesuit university, or about the immorality of contraceptives in general, but no.  That's actually beside the point, believe it or not.

Bear with me. I am stepping out of Catholic Moralist Mode for a moment and entering Secular Citizen Mode. . . .

If anyone in this generation remembers anything from the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, it would probably be that one or the other said something about being free to live and do what makes you happy.  However free we may think we are, there are (or should be) some common-sense restrictions on our right to the pursuit of happiness, and I'm pretty sure the founding fathers expected us to do the pursuing on our own dime.

Apparently, by their own admission, these co-eds can't afford all the contraceptives they go through.  How is that my problem?  How is that anybody's problem but their own?  Whatever happened to living on a budget?  If you can't afford it, don't buy it!  Whether it's condoms, pills, cigarettes, sodas, beer, or mascara, it's up to you to drag up the money or tough it out.  Cry me a river.

We already live on a budget in which there is no room for landline phones, data plans, TV, hair and nail appointments, or even real dining room chairs.  Eventually I realized we couldn't afford my World of Warcraft subscription, the mail-order DVDs, or extra trips to Chipotle, so we DID WITHOUT.  Remarkably, life didn't change much for the worse.  It is possible to just not have sex.  No one will go into shock and die, or miss class due to crippling withdrawal symptoms.  Believe me, we've successfully abstained before marriage and even for extended periods afterward.  We're not freaks or saints.  It is possible, nothing bad will happen, and life will still be worth living.  Whether the necessity is brought on by a difficult pregnancy or simple lack of pocket money doesn't really matter.  

It's time to start behaving like adults.  Start cultivating some willpower and self-control.  Own your problems, your responsibilities, your duties.  When the lights go out and "the most powerful nation on earth" crashes to a bone-jarring halt, what will still be important to you?  This world will eat you alive if you don't know what really matters.

I'm not going to pay your bar tab.  I'm not going to pay for your cable bill or your Netflix account.  I am absolutely not going to willingly pay for your condoms, pills, and recreational hook-ups.  Seriously, stop crying, put on your big girl panties and grow up!

A Matter of Perspective

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Pop Latin"

Enough with the nonsense Latin.  I am sick of discovering epic tracks of music only to discover upon further investigation that the lyrics are gibberish.  Latin has as huge vocabulary of heroic and perfectly intelligible words one could use.  Case in point, "Conquest of Paradise" by Vangelis.

"In noreni per ipe,
In noreni cora;
Tira mine per ito,
Ne domina."

What the heck is that?  Wikipedia describes it as "pseudo-Latin."  I don't know whether reinventing the language rather than look up a few phrases can actually be called laziness, but I certainly don't appreciate it.

Of course, none of this is Rhydian's fault.  He can make even gibberish sound good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning to be Alone

I've had it relatively easy so far compared to other military spouses, so please don't interpret any of this as empty complaining.  This year we're riding the deployment learning curve, and I'm actually surprised by how different it can be.  Fortunately we don't have to face the sheer duration of time which seems to be standard issue in other circumstances; David is already gone on his second deployment in as many months.  Subsequent runs will be longer, but I'm glad we've had this warm-up period.  Up to this point, we had hardly spent two weeks apart (collectively) in the two years we've been married.

Now I'm trying to process the life of a childless, unemployed military wife with no husband to look after.  The middle of the day is remarkably unchanged, but mornings and evenings are suddenly very aimless.  The worst part is the recurring question, "What's the point?"

I used to wake up when Dave woke up, snooze while he showered, and then crawl out of bed to make breakfast.  We would have a nice visit while he got dressed, and when he left I would start my day, usually by 6:30.  Then I could do whatever until 4:00 or 5:00 that evening, when he would come home and I would start dinner.  He would ask, "Wanna watch something?", and we'd eat on the couch in front of a laptop and watch Netflix.  Then we'd go our separate ways doing our own things until bedtime.  Then the routine would begin again.  This actually did happen every single day with very little variation.

Now I can't be bothered to get up while it's still dark because there's no point in getting up.  There is no one to make a hot breakfast for, so I usually settle for cereal at around 9:30.  There is no one to dress for if I'm not running errands, so I end up wearing sweat pants and a ratty sweater.  What is the point of making a decent dinner?  Why should I turn extra lights on, or turn up the heat; it's only me here.  What is the point of going to bed on time if there's no one to go to bed with, and nowhere I need to be in the morning?  My life plan had obviously included children by this point, but that hasn't happened, so apparently I'm free to live the life of a twelve-year-old on summer vacation.

It's not as though I do nothing.  I've actually been doing a lot of writing exercises and working on my stocking commissions for this year.  It's the quiet that bothers me, the silence in the morning when I try to convince myself to get up and face my boring morning routine, exactly the same as yesterday and with very little prospect of anything more exciting happening until tomorrow morning when we can do it all over again.  When I do get rolling, I end up engrossed in whatever project I'm working on for hours on end until I finally look up and realize I'm hungry (maybe I should finally make lunch) or have to use the bathroom (has it been another four hours already?), and then it's quiet again.  I often stay up later than I usually would because I would rather keep playing that YouTube video or watch another Netflix episode than turn everything off and putter around a dark, cold, silent apartment.  

I asked one of my single friends last month how she avoided "What's the point?" syndrome.  Being on active duty in the navy herself, she said the prospect of going to jail if she didn't show for work was motivation enough.  Point taken.  I've often contemplated getting a job, especially now that we have extra debts to pay down and have abandoned any thought of attempting a pregnancy in the near future.  Making stockings is fun and all, but I'm essentially making $1/hour, and that isn't counting expenses.  The extra paycheck would be nice, but the only job I have paper proof of being qualified for is retail, and that stint at Target left me with an acute case of retailitis.  We shall see.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shooting Laptops and Tough Love in General

Everybody has seen the gun-wielding Facebook dad by now.  Almost everybody has offered their two cents on the subject, so I might as well follow suit.

My own reaction to her Facebook rant was almost the same as his.  I had my fair share of moody teenage years, but I would never have dared say anything like that, online or otherwise.  I don't really feel it is my place to comment on his parenting methods, since I really don't know anything about the background of the situation.  I will say that if he provided the privilege of the laptop, and his daughter chronically abused that privilege, it was his to revoke.  Whether he chose to sell it or put hollow-points though it is really his business.

My thoughts, whatever they're worth, are that children who have not begun to shed this selfish worldview by the age of six need to experience some hard and fast consequences in order to prepare them for the adult world.  Teenagers who learn to manipulate their parents may end up shocked to find they can't manipulate law enforcement.  A ruined laptop is a small price to pay compared to jail time.

I know comic book movies should not be the measure of good parenting, but my husband and I were watching "Thor" last night, and we were struck by the parallel.

The moral of the story is that this world is bigger than any of us, and the sooner we realize it the better it will be for everyone.

Monday, February 13, 2012