January 7

Naïveté

The only word with the two-dot accent that one may use to describe something other than yoghurt. (I have just learned that this outlandish inflection is called a “diaeresis”, but don’t worry- no-one has kidney failure. Particularly not an immigrant from Japan.)

And as I would fall under the category of “something other than yoghurt”, I planned to use the word “naive” to describe myself. It’s funny how, as I mature and extend the boundaries of my experience, some pieces of information that are considered “common knowledge” remain as uncharted islands, protected by little pockets of circumstance. And I don’t believe I am alone in this; all the time, I hear my classmates say things like “apart of society” instead of “a part of society”, and “phlegm” cake instead of “flan”. It seems, as high school students, we spend our time absorbing the utmost of perverse idioms and facts, and the next 80 years of our lives filling in the gaps.  Honestly, it’s surprising that any of us have an overlap at all! Maybe that’s what we mean when we say, “No-one understands me.” …Or maybe we’re just moody.

^ All this to try to explain why, today, I learned the phrase “heavy petting” from a fictional 10 year-old.

Oskar Schell, the boy from the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, apparently knows more about sexuality than I do; somewhere between french kissing and tea bagging, I missed this one not-so-convoluted idea, and did not happen to discover it  for another 7 or 8 years.

And isn’t it interesting how our childhood perceptions of reality are so distorted! Only when confronted with the present-day manifestation of whatever-makes-you-so-nostalgic does one realize how different and underwhelming it is!

I was just at the mall on Saturday with Denver and another girl, Alice- me, exercising my right as a teenage girl to wear leggings as pants, they, unleashing their mechanized metabolisms upon an extra-large bag of caramel popcorn. Feeling seven, we stopped into the “Build-a-Bear” store to rub our faces on the different-colored furs. That was when Alice spotted a “Captain America” outfit from across the room. and, in the words of Stephanie Meyer, “imprinted.”

Alice is graduating this year, and plans to study Biology.

Alice loves art, and is sad because she cares too much.

Alice’s primary method of relating to the world is by being in love with Captain America.

Her birthday is in February, so I decided to buy her a bear and the outfit, as well as a pair of camo-coloured boxer shorts to suit the well-loved army veteran. After we stuffed the bear, kissed his heart, added a “bubblegum” scent diffuser, and filled out his birth certificate, I went to pay. The total caught me completely off-guard.

I can’t say exactly how much I was expecting, but a ballpark figure would have been around what the United Stated paid for Alaska in 1867, not counting for inflation. As a kid, I remember buying a stuffed animal from build-a-bear and thinking “That’s 6 months’ allowance!” because it was; if, back then, I had followed the convention of spending one month’s salary on an engagement ring, I would have spent $8.50. By comparison, the actual price of the bear made it seem as if the employees were giving it to me for free. And then offering me their shoes.

I may have yelled for Alice to “Start the car!”

 

 

And sometimes, we are naive because our parents have purposefully kept us in the dark. Perhaps a worse anecdote than that of a child who believes faithfully in Old Saint Nick until middle school is that of my friend Jakkob, who grew up surrounded by parent-promoted Anti-santa propaganda.

The dorky Jewish xmas virgin had never been “Chrissed”, and I felt it my responsibility to lead him gently into experiencing the magic of the season. As we decorated our Christmas tree and sang carols, he admitted that his parents always tried to make Christmas seem lame, and at times even creepy, wherever possible. I get it, though; Christmas gets to be the most popular holiday, while awkward Chanukah looks on and frets, “Is it my nose?” At least, this way,  it is easier for Hebrews than it is for Christians to appreciate the true meaning of the celebration, and to not get lost in its commercialization. And the Hebrew children are better off, too,  because they end up sitting on exponentially fewer grown men’s laps.

But don’t think Jakkob didn’t get his share of lies; he was convinced that there was a Chanukah spirit who drinks from a glass of wine on the table until 9th grade!

After all, what are the holidays without a healthy dose of deception?

 

 

 

 




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Posted January 7, 2015 by Avery in category "Uncategorized

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