Friday, June 03, 2011


When the kids are not with me in the car, I can finally listen to something besides Radio Disney. Thank god. I can only listen to Taylor Swift so many times before I want to calmly remove my ears. I would gladly go Back to December if that meant the Story of Us wasn't on the radio every 4 songs. But it's not like the kids are really cramping my music style because the moment I have the car to myself, I turn on 90s radio. I love it. The minute a song comes on-- like 3 a.m., which is what accompanied me to Panera this morning-- I know ALL the words as if I JUST heard it the other day, probably while I was sprawled in the sun at Sunset Pool like the too-tan, unemployed sloth I was every summer of my childhood and college years.

The scary thing is that these songs feel completely current to me. 1996, 15 years ago, the year I graduated high school, is as current as 2010 in my mind. Will it always be that way? Or will 2011 be the new 1996 in 15 years?

Maybe it is because I am pregnant and wearing a freaking tennis skirt to the damn pool and making fashion choices that are quite a bit about comfort (OMG-- Birkenstocks! Best, most comfortable shoes EVER-- why have I waited this long to wear them???) and elastic waist jeans, but I have recently realized just how much I am NOT like the college girls I see drifting across campus. You are probably thinking, no shit, man--you're 33. But you have to remember, in my mind, I graduated from high school JUST THE OTHER DAY and I have been in college or at college ever since. I should be the one with the long side pony tail and the huge sunglasses and the off-shoulder shirt and the where-the-hell-are-my-pants leggings and the giant shoulder bag that costs more than my mortgage, right? I feel like that person, and then I catch my wide reflection in a storefront and I have on horizontal stripes (why all the maternity shirts with horizontal stripes? WHYYYYYYY?) and mom-capri jeans that adjust around the middle like a toddler's and a sensible backpack, and the humidity makes my supposed-to-be-hip, eyebrow- brushing bangs curl under mid-foreheard, just enough to look like I probably styled them that way, just like all the 1996 moms I used to know. And I am surprised every time.

In 1996, Give Me One Reason was Tracy Chapman talking straight to me and my friends, all of us about to scatter for the res of our lives. In 1996, I already knew Ben, knew where I would go to college, had started to make many of the choices that would lead directly to this moment of contented suburban motherhood. In 1996, I had no delusions of grandeur. I knew exactly how cool I was (not cool at all) and was vain enough to know that I should appreciate looking 18, but I didn't know how quickly I would go from that to this and how blurry the time in between would be.

In my car (minivan, oh holy hell, I drive a minivan), though, thanks to the wonder of 90s radio, I am free to remember yesterday like it really was yesterday.


  1. I whole-heartedly agree with this post. I think I did just graduate from high school yesterday (or 12 years ago... whichever). And I love '90s radio. Every growly song.

  2. Tripod9:06 AM

    What a nostalgic and sad post! You are tons cuter than the current coeds. Life does go by so quickly! It feels like yesterday that I was a child of 40!

  3. You speak my language.

    I don't feel any different than when I graduated but holy cow, I sure am.

  4. Yes yes yes. It's a slap in the face every time I realize that I'm twelve years older than my students. And that the nineties were fifteen years ago. It's so trippy to realize that I am older than my parents were when I was old enough to remember them. Like, I *remember* when my mom turned thirty, and now I'm thirty-one. Mind blowing, really.

    But at the same time, I am so much more confident and content than I ever was then, you know?

    I also enjoy the nineties music.

  5. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Every post you write, I feel like I'm you!! I was just telling my husband the other day about another of your posts and how it was exactly what I'd been thinking (the one about Whole Foods) and then wham! I read this...I literally just had this very conversation with my husband about the 90s station on XM funny!

    Such a great post! I know exactly what you are talking about! :)

  6. I listen to 90s radio online at work and love it. I also feel like it was just yesterday (I graduated in 1996 also). I also think I am in my mid-20s and think everyone else thinks so, too. Until I look around and have 3 kids trailing me. :)

    Blackstreet was playing in Starbucks the other day and I commented that I felt like I was at a basement fraternity party.

  7. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Sarah for the record, we were cool in 1996 and to say otherwise is just crap. I too am astonished by the fact that 1996 was 15 years ago but I refuse to change my opinion about my own age. I also refuse to listen to Radio Disney. L & M can jam to Tupac and as Kim so eloquently noted Blackstreet. I still have my sorority bottle opener on my key chain and I am still in my heart that simple 19 year old who loved the University of Iowa and her sorority and has loved you since I was 5. So stop trying to make us feel old!