Adult Imposter Here

There are times when I feel like I’m seen as an adult who is trying not to be. Case in point: a few days ago I pick up this couple from the airport, older than me (I’m forty-six and they look about twenty years older than me). They get in and the dude asks if I can go a different way to their house. I say sure because it takes the same amount of time either way. But it made me feel like that they saw me as a ‘kid’, or maybe just some lady not quite smart enough to do her job. So to age-up a little, I changed the radio station in the car from the ‘1st Wave’ channel (playing 80’s New Wave and Alternative) to the ‘Yacht Rock’ channel on Sirius XM. (Yacht Rock for the uninitiated here is music from the 1970’s and 1980’s previously termed ‘soft rock’- nice, non-threatening music about chilling out and being in and out of love).

But this ride got me thinking about how every so often I don’t feel like an adult. There’s a meme that went around saying that you look around for the adult in the room, an older, wiser adult but there is no one that meets that description. It’s when you realize you’re the older adult in the room but you don’t feel wise or comfortable in your knowledge and experience. I think this is the case for my generation, Generation X because we were also called ‘The Slacker Generation’. A generation of lazy, beer-swilling, flannel-wearing morons more interested in listening to music, getting high, or just moping around.

Not all of us turned out to be like that as it was members of our generation that invented Google and helped bring Apple back from the brink. I will say there were a fair number of what were called ‘Young Republican’ types back then- Michael J. Fox’s character on ‘Family Ties’ is a good example (and the only reason that character never made me want to shoot out the tv was he was played by Michael J. Fox, who is a really cool dude). The Young Republican types morphed into the Tea Party-Family Values crew of assholes all blow-dried and spray-tanned with a side-piece or two and abortion pills at the ready. They’re the assholes that did the run-up to the Iraq war, marshalled conservative assholes to de-throne The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks) from the top of the country-music charts because how dare those women exercise their rights to free speech. They’re also the ones who brought the white supremacists out and tried to rebrand those motherfuckers as the ‘alt-right’. Luckily, they’re going down with the ship and I’m not feeling one bit sorry for those spineless bullies.

Back to the rest of us Gen X’ers who don’t always feel like the adult in the room even when we are. First thing: the kids love our music, movies, tv shows, and don’t pat us on the head too often. Some of them even think that we’re cool.

But I will say Generation X may be the most cynical generation ever. Why? Well, we came of age in the 1970’s so the oldest of us went from Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Ronald Regan. The second group went from Regan to Bush, Senior to Clinton. But we also went through the Cold War, the Arms Race, and our elected leaders constantly talking about having their fingers on the big red button to blow us all to hell because they thought it was a good idea to blow us to Kingdom Come rather than give the Russians any opportunity to take us over.

Okay, I will freely admit Communism sucked in a million ways, the worst probably being the lack of freedom of expression and the lack of rock ‘n’ roll music. But we knew the majority of people living under Communism were good people who took a lot of risks listening to Voice of America radio and trying to catch tv signals from Western Europe so they could watch ‘Star Trek’.

But I think despite living through all that and living through years of being resigned to being blown to hell or living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, we weren’t seen as growing out of that. In fact, I’d say we were resigned to coming home alone, rooting around the kitchen for something to eat, and then sitting down to veg in front of the tv or stereo. We wanted to change the world and bring down the Wall (the Berlin Wall), but at the same time, we’re also the generation that’s quite fond of saying ‘same old shit’ over and over again.

In the end, I think that invisibility and resignation to the ‘same old shit’ mantra is why I sometimes feel like an adult imposter. I’m happy as hell that Biden and Harris won and people got to party in the streets. But I’m also resigned to a never-ending shit-show from the Young Republican side, a side so firmly entrenched in their bullshit I honestly don’t think even the strongest piece of heavy equipment could pry their heads out of their asses.

For me, I think I’m seen as an adult imposter because of my really-short hair with the shaved-up sides, my daily uniform of shorts and a t-shirt, and my love of music made before 1990. But I’m happy to be mostly left to my own devices because I know how to feed myself and how to find something to watch or listen to, just like a lot of us were back in the day.

Self-Worth From the Driver’s Seat of an Uber

WARNING: MAJOR RANT AND RAGE HERE. ALSO, VERY BAD LANGUAGE HERE SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Last night I picked up three drunk bros for a short ride to another bar. It was the first time since the bars closed back in March that I’ve picked up a group of drunk bros and I have to say it still sucks. I honestly wish there was a way for Uber to let drivers know they were picking up potential assholes and offer some additional financial compensation. But that hasn’t happened though a feature like that in an app would be worth a billion dollars.

Why did I think they were assholes? Let me count the ways.

Whining about the mask requirement. Don’t whine about wearing a mask in a vehicle with other people. That shit is so fucking unattractive it makes me want to projectile vomit over anyone who whines and bitches about wearing a mask in the middle of a raging pandemic.

Making racist comments (they were all white dudes) even if one of them followed that fucking-bullshit comment with telling me he was an asshole over and over again. Like really, dude? If you know you’re an asshole quit being one.

But the last turd in this toilet-bowl of a ride was when the most obnoxious of the three dudes asked me at the end of the ride if I would date him. My reply, “No.” Then when he just sat in my vehicle I had to turn around and tell him one thing, “Out.” Needless to say, I wished him a lifetime case of jock-itch and limp-dick.

Yet it got me thinking I certainly didn’t miss anything by not doing the bar scene in my twenties and thirties like I thought I had a couple of days ago. I’m going to write that moment off as a misfire of bullshit in my mind because if that is what’s out there then I dodged a whole case of turds there.

The self-worth part of this comes from knowing damn good and well I don’t have to take shit like this even if the assholes of this world see me as ugly. And please don’t tell me I’m not ugly because I know my appearance won’t get me an Instagram influencer gig. I’m off-balance (thanks, scoliosis!), fat, and have a lovely double-chin. But even I know I don’t have to take shit for that. I don’t have to take crumbs of pity and tell myself that someone is just an asshole and I have to accept that.

No, you DON’T have to accept that someone is an asshole. You can call them out on that then walk away. You don’t owe anyone like that jack-fucking-shit. Yet so many people think they have to put up with it.

No, you DON’T. If you’re not shitting all over people in any way, if you’re just trying to do your own thing and take care of yourself, and most of all, if you’re doing your dead-level best to be kind to other people and not be an asshole, you’re doing just fine. And don’t let assholes take this from you, and don’t let them gaslight your ass into thinking you’re the worthless sack of shit because you care about other people and the world we live in and don’t want to turn it into a huge dung-heap.

I think a lot of what’s happening now in our world is more and more people are starting to say ‘Enough!’. They’re starting to say, ‘No, you’re a fucking asshole and I’m not going to have anything to do with you because of it.’ People are realizing their purpose on Earth is not to take a crowbar to someone’s backside to get their head out from there.

Growing up I was raised with this belief I had to just accept some people in this world were jerks and they weren’t going to change. I was told not to stand up to them or call them out because they weren’t going to change. That in turn led to this belief that I just had to suffer in silence. Well, I’m breaking that silence and calling it out. I’m saying being an asshole is the most unattractive quality in a person, someone who is thoughtless, mean, and totally selfish, and worst of all, someone who scorns kindness and compassion and says those emotions are weak.

I used to think I was a weak-ass piece of shit for valuing kindness and compassion and I’ve had people say I need to harden up and just shut all my emotions down.

No. I refuse to feel bad for busting my ass to be kind and compassionate. And most of all, I refuse to shut my emotions down all together because someone doesn’t like how I think and feel.

So my message to anyone reading this here is don’t base your self-worth on someone who really doesn’t care about you. If they say mean and cruel shit, they mean it. It’s not the booze or drugs or whatever. And you have the right to walk away from it and stand up for yourself. And yes, you have the right to wish a never-ending case of jock-itch and limp-dick on any asshole because of that.

Uber Tales – Still Not a Sure Thing, Edition

Last night I headed over to the airport to see what was going on and got two rides. The new waiting lot is nice because it faces the east runway and is closer to the terminals. But it’s still not like it was before and I honestly don’t know if or when it will come back up to pre-COVID levels.

I was talking with one of my passengers yesterday and I told him everything you thought was a sure thing wasn’t. As I was on the road last night, I felt like everything was an illusion. It felt like it was just a dulled-down version of what life was like before this pandemic. Yeah, you’ll see people out and about but nothing like before.

Before the pandemic hit, I was tracking pretty good with the driving and the Spring and Summer months looked like they were going to be huge. San Antonio was seeing huge amounts of visitors and tourist traffic, wedding season was about to start, and people seemed to want to get out and about. As I was telling one of my passengers last night, I loved driving back then. No two days were the same and Saturday nights were hugely-entertaining. Now… it just feels hollow.

I was trying to think when I felt that hollow feeling on the road and the only time I can remember is 9/11. I wasn’t an Uber driver back then (I don’t think the concept of Uber was even a twinkle on some Silicon Valley bro’s ass back then). I was working in my first call-center job (where managers actually were downplaying what was happening and told us not to talk about it- yes that place was that fucked-up). That afternoon I drove across town to pick up my mom from work and Loop 1604 barely had any traffic but what was especially eerie was the lack of airplanes in the air. Back then like pre-COVID, there were always airplanes coming and going over the 1604 corridor.

Another eerie-hollow time was back in March after the initial lockdown when I was downtown. All the big hotels and bars were closed and the restaurants were take-out only. It was like a ghost-down, or a San Antonio version of ’28 Days Later’. I was pretty bummed out going down South Alamo Street in front of the Alamo until this group of bicyclists came by me ringing their bells and waving to me. I waved back and thought, “Okay, I wasn’t expecting that.” But it made me smile, which was desperately needed as business had nose-dived pretty badly at that point.

Last night, I was talking with one of my passengers and she was wondering about Halloween. I said people could practice social distancing while trick-or-treating but the big haunted houses or gatherings were probably off the table. I also said I’m sure downtown will decorate for Christmas but I’m not sure if they’ll put the ice-skating rink in Travis Park up again. That was fun last year to see and weekends down there were hugely-crowded.

The thing is, we’ve all changed. Everything has changed. I think right now the shock is still wearing off and we’re trying to adjust and not lose it altogether. Working from home, kids out of school, people being assholes… whether this is a blip on the radar of years or something longer-term, or something that will come and go remains to be seen.

I’ve struggled to put this all into words because although I’ve enjoyed the lack of real traffic (only time the freeways get jammed if there is an accident now- the bottlenecks are nothing like they used to be). But I also wonder if this is just the calm before another storm of infections and hospitalizations rise up again. Hopefully most of us will keep our heads out of our asses and mask-up and social distance and practice good hygiene for as long as we need to.

Personally, I like the social distancing thing. And masking-up during the Fall and Winter when cold-and-flu might not be a bad idea.

But I want to ask myself a few thing here:

Will we ever take for granted the idea of big crowded events? Or will there be an ingrained wariness of them?

Will the bar and music scene fully recover?

Will the strippers be able to get back to work?

And most of all,

How will we explain the runs on toilet paper to future generations?