On Being Obnoxious To Our Parents

I just spent ten days with my mother in Italy, and I’ve spent the entire summer living in a house with my two parents. You (the universal you) would think that I’d have the right to be a little #rude to the old folks now and then. But over the last month, I have been taught the difficult way that there is never a time, place, or excuse to be prissy, selfish, or my usual know-it-all-ish.

You can piss your parents off in a lot of ways. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Tell them that they chew and/or breathe too loudly.
  2. If they ignore your comment that they chew and/or breathe too loudly, remove yourself from the general vicinity so that they understand the severity of their intensive chewing and/or breathing and its heavy impact upon you.
  3. Tell your mom that she “really needs Keratin.”
  4. Tell your dad that you think that the dog shit “in the front” and proceed to give him attitude when he asks you to clarify where “the front” is (obviously it means the mudroom, duh).
  5. Refuse to watch Criminal Minds in their bed with them at night regardless of how many times they ask you to.
  6. Raise your eyebrows when your dad says that he thinks he looks “pretty damn good.”
  7. Tell your mom it was dumb of her to cross out a word using pen on a government document because it will make her look like she is committing some sort of fraud.
  8. Tell your parents that you will vomit if they do not close the door while they are using the bathroom.
  9. Shit on your parents on every form of social media possible. Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 10.38.56 PM
  10. When your mom asks you why you shit on her on every form of social media possible, tweet about her asking you why you shit on her on every form of social media possible. Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 10.39.05 PM
  11. Then, shit on her more on social media by writing an entire blog post about it (just kidding, love you Mom).

On the nine-hour plane ride home from Italy, I did something that angered my mom which left her ranting about my usual negative tendencies. These are the typical recycled insults that she pulls out of the old mental phrasebook: “It’s just so sad. You really don’t even know me.” “You’re not a princess.” “You’re turning into a JAP.” “You talk to me like I’m a little piece of shit.” etc. etc. As you can imagine, the list continues. In this particular battle, my mom delved into the realm of me being unappreciative and never complimenting her appearance nor congratulating her for anything she does well.

So then, I thought: maybe I should stop telling my mom that she should get Keratin. I’m never sure why it’s so difficult to please our parents. It isn’t that we go out of our way to not please them. It’s that we go out of our way to please ourselves. As the filial generation, that is what we are programmed to do. Pleasing others will never be a necessity until we have others to please. Then, we find our own little ones pissing us off.

Me and Mammy Fresh killin it in Florence with some famous boar or something

I always try to convey this point to my mom when she’s angry with me. When I was younger and we argued, I would run to my room and cry for hours at a time. Now, I never cry anymore. Instead I stand there stone cold and reply to every sentence that trails out of her mouth. I refuse to give in and let her know that I may actually feel bad about whatever I did. Part of me does this because I want to show her that I’m not afraid anymore. Maybe we fight back because we’re so similar to our parents and watch the flaws in ourselves come to life in the form of a week-long grudge or an annoying habit (i.e. my father chewing loud enough to make me believe there could be an earthquake). Maybe we’re like this because we’re getting older; we’re getting closer to going from being the ones who listened to the ones who speak. I have to learn to yell somehow, and I suppose my mother is my first victim. My daughter will be my second.

For the remaining three hours of our flight home, I kept repeating the thought over and over again in my head: we’re so fiery because we have no one to teach lessons to yet besides each other. So, we bicker amongst ourselves and talk back to our parents. We tell our mothers that they should get a Moroccan oil treatment to calm their troll doll-esque hair instead of rewarding them with a small compliment for wearing ballet flats instead of clogs. (Just kidding, Mom–I don’t think your hair is reminiscent of a troll doll’s, I promise!!! But don’t get me started on the clogs……..)


On Change

Life is full of a million tiny moments, and when one tiny moment transitions into another, change happens. Basically every second we are awake, or even when we are asleep, something is different than what it was before: your heart makes a new beat, your mind drifts into new, uncharted waters, you feel something you’ve never felt before. And when all of these changes occur simultaneously, you become a kid trapped on a roller coaster when you really don’t like roller coasters at all.

One of the funniest things about change is how much, or how little, we control it. Just when you think you have the reigns, you don’t, and a situation catapults out of control. Just when you make something delicate into something perfect, it breaks. Naturally, of course, it has to.

Why has changed evolved into this concept that almost everyone is afraid of? I’ve heard so many people say, “Oh, I don’t do change well.” My mom always tells me that my dad is “afraid of change.” Change can certainly be good, because before something good turns into something bad, something bad must have turned into that something good. But I guess we just hone in on the negativity because as humans, that is what we are programmed to do.

I always thought that I couldn’t cope with change. My first year of middle school, I was an absolute wreck and a 95-pound ball of anxiety. My freshman year of high school, my anxiety creeped back upon me like a skeleton with long, bony fingers (basically Nicole Richie circa 2006). So, as I’m now the bony skeleton creeping upon another new part of my life, I can’t help but wonder just how much change will destroy me over the next year.

This is not OK on so many levels.

So far, it’s been interesting. I’ve learned a lot because I’ve messed up a lot. Then again, my recent mess ups brought me to some of my most balanced moments. I can’t help but wonder–am I just endlessly screwing up to beat change to the punch? When I think about these mistakes I’ve made, I don’t feel regret. I just feel like I’ve made a mistake. Does that make me a horrible person? If each of us could apologize to every person we’ve ever hurt, then I think that we would. But that couldn’t work for a couple of reasons–no matter how much we say or do, we can never really go back and change what happened. Gatsby can say that the past is repeatable as many times as he wants, and perhaps he’s right. We can repeat the past with our tortured emotions and our aching hearts. But, ultimately, we’re just going to end up back in the present. Changes happens, yes. And so does reality.

I guess if you have enough money, you can do anything. So sure, you can repeat the past, whatever.

After all that’s happened in the past two months–some mistakes made by yours truly, some mistakes made by immature boys who think it’s OK to tell a lady to “go f— yourself”–I understand that life isn’t always a box of chocolates. It’s more like a fortune cookie. It’s always pretty sweet on the outside. But often, what’s inside can disappoint you. It can also pleasantly surprise you.

Here is my life at the moment in three fortune cookies:

#1 would be a fortune cookie that you crack open, but find no fortune. This cookie offered me nothing, and instead, chose to disappear. In the end, it will be this fortune’s loss and not mine. Because if you run away, no one gets your message, and you’ve accomplished nothing.

#2 would be a fortune that makes me feel like a total asshole. “Stop shopping too much, there are naked children in Bangladesh,” “You are a selfish whore,” “Go sit in the corner and think about what you did. –Taylor Swift,” etc.

#3 would be a good fortune. It doesn’t even necessarily have to compliment me, but it would make me think about myself. Some of my favorite fortunes I’ve ever gotten that remind me of this one include, “I learn by going where I have to go,” “Your life is like a kaleidoscope,” and “A kiss makes the heart young and wipe out the years.” And that grammatical error could not be more suitable for this fortune–I love it every second anyway.

Today I feel different. Two days ago, I spent a lot of time sleeping. I napped from 12-5pm and then got back in bed at 8pm, only to get up at 10am the next morning. I cried a little, of course. But today, I feel different. So right now, I like change, because it brought me here.


Flavor of the Week: Group Texts

You love them, you hate them, you love to hate them, and you hate to love them. Basically, we are just really really emotional about group texts. Whether you’re savvy with GroupMe, WhatsApp, or stick to the classic iMessage chat like I do, you are involved of at least two of them. You probably have one with your best best friends and then another with your bigger group of friends, and then a few elsewhere, give or take. We heart these chats for so many reasons. Convenience? Yes. But secretly tedious and often awkward? Also yes.

lol duh I’m in

I see it that group chats linger as the nostalgic descendants of AIM chat rooms. Nothing gave me a thrill quite like being in a, dare I say, coed chat room in elementary school. I loved how everyone’s screen name was a different color and how the intensity of a conversation about who had a crush on who make my blood pressure soar like a vanilla chai, not soy, from Dunkin. And even before chat rooms there were three-way phone calls, which I never really figured out. That was more of a Regina George thing, you know?

What is a home phone?

Group texts do kinda suck. It’s awkward when I type a general question to a solid six people and NOT ONE OF THEM responds. It’s also awkward when two people have some type of side conversation no one else in the chat really understands, and the two of them are fully aware that no one else understands, but they continue to discuss it openly anyway. A group chat can, if desired, be used as a weapon of mass destruction in girl world. Cady Heron would find herself Amanda Bynes-status in that situation. Literally, she’d just skip the level of Miley’s little salvia video and head right to throwing things like her African tribal vase and her Lady Smith Black Mambazo tickets or whatever out of her midtown high rise window.

A group text is like a bad boyfriend—always better to have something awkward, rude, and annoying than to have nothing, right?


On Being a “Millennial”

Earlier in the week, Joel Stein wrote a cover story for Time magazine about our generation, the “millennials,” and how narcissistic we are. The Fro-Yo Diaries embodies the millennial attitude (from my perspective, of course, and that perspective clearly differs from Joel Stein’s). But, just to give you all a run for your money–whatever that expression means (what a millennial comment of me to make)–I’ve decided to write about my most “millennial” moments. I would encourage everyone to read Joel Stein’s article, but you can only do that by obtaining a physical copy/subscription of Time. Obviously they restrict us from reading a full copy of the article online because, like, if they did, that would be so millennial of them.

Millennial Moment #1:

My mom often criticizes me for making a mess and then not cleaning it up. The other day, I was eating some dried apricots from their plastic container and decided that for the first time in my life, I would put them back in the cabinet when I was done with them. As I was standing in front of the cabinet, seriously struggling to re-seal the lid, my mom charged into the kitchen. This is the conversation that ensued:

Mom: Hannah, will you move please?

Me: Hold on, I’m just putting this thing away.

Mom: HANNAH I HAVE NOT EATEN ONE THING TODAY, NOT BREAKFAST, LUNCH, OR DINNER.

Me: OK, OK, I’m done. Relax. I’ve made dinner for myself the past two nights. It’s not a big deal.

Mom: DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND I HAVEN’T EATEN ANYTHING ALL DAY????????

Joel, how horribly rude and obnoxious was it of me to try to put my apricots away?!?!

Millennial Moment #2:

I make my parents pay $175 for me to have a 45 minute session with my therapist twice a month. Now if that isn’t selfish of me, then what is? I mean, anxiety doesn’t even exist anyway. And young adults don’t have problems. And young adults aren’t allowed to complain. Because we aren’t spending 14 hours of our day studying and working. Because instead we’re playing on our iPhones. Which we solely use for Tinder to meet fake people that that boost our egos, and not for medication-reminders or to set alarms so we make sure our two hours of sleep don’t interfere with getting to class on time or to keep track of our schedules in a calendar (just like you do) or to, God-forbid, have a means through which our neurotic Jewish mothers can use the “Find My Friends” app to see where we are at all times. No, no. Never any of that.

Millennial Moment #3:

I went back through all of my text messages and counted: on Saturday, May 11, I sent 64 text messages. This is actually a really low number for me, as most millennials spend their Saturday afternoons super hungover from going to wild techno raves the previous night, which we do, wearing neon clothes, practically every weekend. But if I went back to my texts from Friday and counted–which a millennial would never do because that requires too much manual labor (you know, all that scrolling)–I’m sure my stats would at least be tripled.

Millennial Moment #4:

Please watch this video in which Joel Stein tries to be a millennial for a day.

Then, ask yourself: have you EVER sexted by saying “Do you have time to have sex tonight?” No, obviously you haven’t. Millennials would never waste that much time on writing a text message. Obvs, we love to abbrev (Obviously, we love to abbreviate). Our sexts would look a lot more like this:

D u hav tme 2 hav S tn?

Note: S is capital, inferring the use of the abbreviation for “sex” and not “snapchat,” which is represented by a lowercase “s.”

This essay is dedicated to Joel Stein, slanderer of the selfie, denature-er of the multitask, and green monster of envy of how successful we’re going to be when we create the flying cars that you watched in The Jetsons–not that I, or any other millennial, even really has the capability to comprehend what a Saturday morning cartoon is. Just because your last name is “Stein” does not mean that you have a free pass to target our generation and still be considered a mensch.