JUL. 13, 2011 By RYAN O'CONNELL
You might not know how to be assertive in restaurants, in movie theatres, with brokers, or your boss. Your parents do though. When you go out to dinner together and their steak isn’t cooked to their liking, they won’t hesitate in letting the waiter know it. They will send their dish back while you’re eating your barely-cooked halibut, worrying about food poisoning, but are too scared to make a fuss. You might not know how to send a steak back or negotiate salaries or save a seat with conviction because you don’t know what it feels like to be old. Your parents have been on this earth much longer than you. They’ve experienced a lot of headaches, a lot of losses, and it has all resulted into them not giving a shit about anything. They’re not worrying about offending anyone over a crappy steak. For Christ’s sake, they might have a hernia.
You might not know the importance of money yet. You spend your paycheck on cabs, falafel and ugly rings from street vendors and are always left with ten dollars to last you three days. You wonder how you could spend so much money without ever feeling like you’ve lived lavishly. You can’t imagine a savings account, a 401k. How does anyone do it? You really don’t know. When will you know?
You might not know how to let someone love you yet. You think you do, think you’ve been doing it right all these years with your distant lovers, your fair-weather friends, your passive aggressive ex. But you don’t. You picked the ones who were unable to love you back, who wouldn’t pick you up from the airport, or hear about your awful day at work. Remember that one relationship you had where the person was kind and intuitive and would’ve picked you up from anywhere had you asked them? They were different from the others because they actually had the capacity to love you. You knew this though and that’s why you dumped them almost immediately. You didn’t know that they were all you needed to make you happy. You were so keen on being miserable. When will you know what you already know?
You might not know how to let go of things of yet. You avoid certain streets, restaurants and bars because they remind you of something good that you lost. You wonder how anyone could ever forget and move on from something so wonderful. How do people let things die? How do they go into the next phase of their lives and not become crippled whenever they pass their old apartment, the Jack In The Box on Sunset, or that 7-11 you hung out in front of once for five hours talking with your friends. How?
You might not know so many things yet but you take solace in knowing that you might soon. That’s how life works, right? You eventually stop buying the ugly rings from the street vendors, date the right people, and take that fucking steak back if there’s even a little bit of pink. You might not know now but you will know then.