Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Invading the Herd and a Rite of Passage

I was a pseudo soccer mom this past weekend. I went with my significant other, dressed in a tight Janis Joplin t-shirt, still feeling slightly out-of-place, but getting more comfortable with the environment. I found that pre-teen boys’ soccer can be quite entertaining. Not unlike the Cubs games I’d go to at Wrigley and really enjoy, even though I’m not a baseball fan at all (I went for the beer and the ambience, of course). It’s the sociological aspect of soccer that seems to fascinate me a bit. I’m not embarrassed to admit that. From a technical standpoint, the games themselves are a definite notch above watching tiny kids that just jump on the ball with no skill (my S.O. calls that clusterf*ck ball). Eleven and twelve-year old boys actually know how to play the game and exhibit skills and proof of training, so that’s a bonus from a spectator standpoint. I do like watching sports in general. But, it’s really the parental units and the animalistic nature of the game that make it a true spectator sport.

I’ve received much underlying teasing from family and friends about my newfound, inherited hobby as a result of being involved with a man that has a pre-teen and a teen who both play the sport. My sister keeps talking about slapping one of those half soccer balls on my back car window without my knowledge. You know - those dorky ones that look like they’re stuck halfway through. She threatens, laughs hysterically, and I consequently shoot her the bird.

The teasing I get is due to the knowledge my family and friends have about me. They know I’d rather stab myself in the eyeballs with a rusty knife than drive a minivan and assimilate with suburban drones that are known as the dreaded soccer moms. I cringe at the thought of rubber shoes and Bermuda shorts. I’m not above them, by all means. Just different. I don't know, though...maybe I’m the one missing the boat. Maybe the big world outside the fields is just distraction in the form of scenery. Maybe a minivan would make me less cynical and analytical and more pleasant. Maybe soccer and the life that is wrapped up in it is a life more extraordinary. Maybe breeding soccer kids is the answer to the world's problems. Hey, you never know. They may be on to something...

I’ve been part of groups all my life, so I really can’t say that I’ve been a rebel against them without backing it up with substantial data, and the only data I have is how I felt. I’ve done the circuit of clubs throughout my life, mainly because I’m social and have way too many interests. I was a princess among the piano dorks, the head cheerleader, and felt the pride associated with National Honor Society. Albeit a false pride, but it was like any other petty milestone in life. I was in a sorority back in my undergrad days. These were rites of passage. Maybe that’s how these moms feel; like having the soccer sticker on the back of their car is a rite of passage. A badge to be worn with pride. “I popped a kid out; look at my sticker.” Kind of like the pregnant parking places at Kroger. You’re special because you got knocked up. Huh. I have often pondered parking in those spots to see if I’d get ticketed if I did it. I mean, how in the hell would they know if I was a month pregnant or not?

I like to think that on that soccer field, I’m a bright red crayon in a box of Eddie Bauer-brand khaki crayons, but I'm not. I'm just the soccer Dad's girlfriend, really. Tight Janis Joplin shirt, platform flip flops and all.

Just like any other stereotype, though, reality exists. There are exceptions to the soccer mom rule, and I must give props where props are due. It was approximately my fifth game I’ve attended since being a soccer Dad’s girlfriend. Keep in mind that five has historically been my lucky number. This was no exception last Sunday when one of the mothers actually engaged me in conversation. I think I may have yapped at her first, come to think of it, but we chatted nonetheless. This was a step forward in evolution, as one species approached another, and much to my dismay, she was somewhat normal and had an actual sense of humor – something that can be difficult to pinpoint amongst the screaming stage moms who are on the brink of blowing a carotid artery when their son’s footwork is not up to par. She didn't bite or claw at me. She just sniffed me for a bit. I figure I've always had the ability to communicate with a wall or a CEO (no redundancy intended there), so why not the soccer mom?

So here I stand. A gazelle who’s making her way into the herd of sheep. I didn’t try to break in, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever be truly accepted as one of the herd. I’m so OK with that. It’s just fun being the new species in the gene pool, and it's going to make for some interesting future entries.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.
– Harvey Fierstein

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's not what you are, but what you don't become that hurts.

– Oscar Levant

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Writing, Madness, and Sanity

I have a dog now. Tessie Larue. And, she's fabulous. She's a semi-baby boxer, complete with a moosh mouth and newly forming wrinkles. She genuinely makes me smile. Consistently, on a daily basis. She tries to bat me around like a fellow canine pal when I'm doing Pilates. She greets me with her butt, wiggling sideways toward me, wagging her little nubbin tail, when I come home from work. She jumps up, puts her paws on my shoulder, and lays her head down on me - just like she's giving a human-like hug. She looks at me with these inquisitive, big brown, almost-wise eyes, as if to say, I love you no matter what the day was like, you know."

She's a pretty darn good pup. Already one for the record books, and I've had a lot of canines come in and out of my life. For being only about 7 months old and a resident of my home for a mere three weeks, she has only been rebellious once. A week ago, she escaped her cage during the day while I was at work. I have never confirmed how, actually, but I suspect it was through the top. She broke and wiggled through, climbing out to freedom. She was understandably pissed off and ruined my blinds. I think the blind-shredding was just her way of saying, "I really hate that cage." I'm just shocked she didn't chew anything else. Nothing. Not even the biggest chew toy of all - my brand new, supple leather couch. Instead, she just jumped up on it, got comfortable on the faux-fur throw, and watched VH1 until her humans returned.

Tess has been a Godsend over the past few weeks. It's been a while since I've had a dog - due to my nomadic existence the past few years. I have a dog now, and life is better because of it. She loves me. And dogs are never wrong.