My parents, Nick and Francine, won on coolness. They are officially and incontrovertibly much, much cooler than me.
Deep down, I've known this for awhile, because they have always been cooler than me. (For example, I mocked them for listening to Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan when I was a tweenager, but who's laughing now?) Anyway, my suspicion that my parents lead much cooler and more exciting lives at ages 69 and 70 than I do at 38 (or really ever did at any age) was confirmed anew when my mom called me last week from a hip neighborhood in lower Manhattan.
"We just ran into one of your friends from high school at a restaurant in Chelsea!," my mom reported cheerfully. "She's just moved back to NYC from Paris," she added, before updating me on the rest of the encounter. At the same time, my phone buzzed with a Facebook message from said friend: "Just ran into your parents in Chelsea!"
I listened to my mother narrate her night on the town as I pawed through our pantry for an after-dinner snack, opening and closing it over and over again like it was the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia. Somehow, I was certain that this time, something delicious and appealing would appear that hadn't been there ten seconds ago.
My mother's call from the depths of Chelsea was the straw of coolness that broke the back of the camel also known as my life as a mother of two in Juneau. Don't get me wrong, I like my life. But it is not--I repeat NOT--cool.
My mom and her Annie Lennox haircut still work more-than-full-time circling the globe trying to cure AIDS, while adhering to a strict anti-shits protocol that prevents her from barfing in places like Rwanda, Manila, India, and Nepal, so that she can keep Doctors-Without-Borders-ing the world without gastrointestinal disruption. My dad has the sweetest gig ever working from home (also full-time) for the New York Times, where he translates press releases on scientific research into articles about how coffee and wine are good for you. Half their friends are my age. I know this, because whenever I come back to visit, my mom tries to set my kids up on play-dates with her hipster friends' kids, all of whom dress better than I do.
My parents are NEVER home. I try calling them, and where are they? The opera, a play, a museum, a fucking fundraiser for one of the 1,000 foster care and AIDS-related boards my mom sits on. The last time this happened, my dad informed me that "a guy from run something" was the keynote speaker.
Hold up hold up. Run-D.M.C.?! M'kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay dudes.
So let's review: my septuagenarian parents are listening to Run give a keynote speech at the very same moment that I am scouring my cabinet for tortilla chips while breaking up a fight between a 5 and 8 year old over: (1) who gets to sit on what identical stool; (2) who got to have more sugar this week than whom; (3) whether 40 x 4 is 160 or 44; and (4) whether Tuesday is the day after tomorrow or the day after the day after tomorrow. And I'm screaming "DON'T MAKE ME READ SIBLINGS WITHOUT RIVALRY!" while removing a magenta rhinestone sticker from my barefoot heel.
As Isaac would say, the disparity in coolness between these two tableaux "makes me sad in the face."
O.H.M.'s Parents: 1; O.H.M.: = 0.
My parents, Nick and Fran in Alaska, eating the shit out of some crab as they are wont to do.