Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cooler than thou

Last weekend we went to a recently reopened cafe and discovered it had been totally reinvented. Ownership had changed and that wasn't the only thing; food, decor, clientele, music, wait staff, etc. were also totally different.

The first five minutes were fun; we were admiring the hip new decor, the new floor plan, and the different cakes out on display. As we stood waiting for a table to open up I started getting that feeling, the one that says, "You do not belong". I ignored it, but as we sat down at a table I noticed the glances coming from our neighbors. I recognized those glances because they were the same ones I used to see in middle school. The glances and expressions said, "You're not cool enough".
My first reaction was to think "Seriously? Are you seriously looking at me like that?!" and then, shamefully, "Ugh, they are so right. Look at what I slopped into here wearing; the only good thing about this outfit is the purse (ahem, handbag). And I'm so overdue for a hair cut (aka, visit to the stylist)." As I sipped my overpriced hot chocolate and nibbled at the mediocre cake I watched customer after customer go by in the perfect skinny jeans, boho cardigans and oversized Buddy Holly-esque nerd glasses. I sighed.

But I gradually started noticing other things. The girl who was trying too hard, the boyfriend not paying attention, the texting table companion, the child ignored by its parent, the insecure adjusting of scarves.

Then I looked at the people sitting at my table. People smiling and discussing and laughing and loving each other. People who I knew really and truly didn't care about looking cool or being hip. And I thought how I really liked my table. I really liked being me, especially being me with these people in my life.
via Pinterest (no original cited)
It's easy to lose perspective. I don't want to keep up with the Jones' or the cooler bloggers or the better dressers, etc. I don't want to be the best science editor ever but have no time for my family and friends. I'm so glad I have people around me to remind me of the important things in life. I hope you do, too.


Spotted Sparrow said...

*applause* Amen to that!

Carolyn said...

LOVE this, Juliette. I've felt more of a freedom being myself since moving abroad than I ever have. It shouldn't take moving across an ocean, but a different perspective (and different mentality in Austria than the 'fancy' area of Texas I grew up in) do a lot. I've never been a real follower, but I admit I like having 'cool' things from time to time. Real people are way more important though...authenticity is key. And fake glasses just for fashion is so contrived!

Monica said...

Love the print and the sentiment!

Traveling Mama said...

I think you are totally cool. Tight pants have nothing to do with coolness. Being yourself is what really makes someone cool!

Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess said...

Ich liebe this post! Love love LOVE it. The older I get, the more I come to realize that most people who seem cool are just good at faking it, and sometimes the coolest-seeming ones are the ones with the biggest void in their lives. Sad. But I love that you turned that into a happy appreciation!


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