Authors: Jen Lancaster
Other Titles by
New York Times
Bestselling Author Jen Lancaster
Bitter Is the New Black
Bright Lights, Big Ass
Such a Pretty Fat
Pretty in Plaid
My Fair Lazy
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First published by New American Library,
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First Printing, May 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Jen Lancaster, 2012
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Lancaster, Jen, 1967–
Jeneration X: one reluctant adult’s attempt to unarrest her arrested development, or why it’s never too late for her dumb ass to learn why froot loops are not for dinner/Jen Lancaster.
1. Lancaster, Jen, 1967– 2. Authors, American—21st century—Biography. 3. Maturation (Psychology)—Humor. 4. Conduct of life—Humor. 5. United States—Social life and customs—Humor. I. Title. PS3612.A54748Z46 2012 814′.6—dc23 2011048451 [B]
Set in Bulmer MT
Designed by Spring Hoteling
Printed in the United States of America
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For former slackers everywhere and
for Karyn, who gives good title
We were stuck between meanings. Or we were the last dribbles of something. The fall of the Soviet Union, this was, the death of analog. The beginning of aggressively marketed nachos.
—Milo Burke, Sam Lipsyte’s
Generation Xers were brought up on television, Atari 2600s, and personal computers. They are the generation that was raised in the 1970s and 1980s, and saw this country undergo a selfish phase that they do not want to repeat.
We’re the middle children of history . . . no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.
—Tyler Durden, Chuck Palahniuk’s
Note: Due to formatting issues in electronic files, the footnotes now appear within the text, bracketed and italicized.
hanks for completely ignoring me.”
I’m standing here in my cashmere coat, shaking. Whether it’s from cold or from fury, I’ve yet to determine.
thank you for completely ignoring me
. I sat out there with my hazards on for the past twenty minutes.”
The valet blinks heavy-lidded eyes that don’t quite function in unison. “Guess I didn’t see you.”
“Didn’t see me?”
I am incredulous. How did he
see me? I was in an SUV the size of a school bus and let’s just say I was liberal with my use of the horn. I was impossible not to see. Helen Keller could see me. Andrea Bocelli could see me. Stevie Wonder would be all “
Do I Do
I’m trying hard not to punch this guy smack in his red windbreaker, so I’d wager it’s the anger that’s making me shake.
“Didn’t see you,” he confirms, not meeting my glance. Instead he scans the street looking for other vehicles he might park.
. Not only did I wait twenty minutes for his attention, but once I realized he was never getting to me, I had to park myself. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but a) because I’m very, very lazy I specifically get my hair cut here since they have a valet, b) he’d already made me late for my appointment and c) the nearest garage was blocks away.
I had to drive down three stories into the belly of this semiabandoned building to find a cavernous parking area where the only light came from a handful of fifteen-watt incandescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling thirty feet above. I never met a parking garage that didn’t feel all
and like a sexual assault could happen any minute, but this?
was the rapiest rape garage that ever raped.
Then after I took the elevator upstairs I found myself in the atrium of an eight-story, vacant shopping mall. The only reason I could even see where I was going was because a few stores up front were still open and casting light, but ninety percent of the rest of the stores were dark and empty and foreboding. George A. Romero wouldn’t have to make a single change if he wanted to film another
of the Dead
movie here. That no one tried to eat my brain is nothing short of a miracle.
Which is why I can’t let this go.
I level my gaze. “Listen, I was in a six-thousand-pound SUV fifteen feet away from you right next to the sign that says
. I beeped, I waved, I sent up little smoke signals from the tepee in the backseat. Then, when I got out of the car to talk to you, you jumped into the car behind mine. When you came back, you ran over to the car next to me, yet you walked so close to my car that you set off my parking sensor. So, with all of these factors in mind,
how do you claim to have not seen me
He shrugs. “I don’t know.” When he exhales, I smell Snoop
Dogg’s tour bus. Ah, that would account for the slow blinking and vision obstruction and serves to piss me off more. Seriously, in an economy with people begging for jobs, this asshole thinks it’s kosher to get baked at work and then drive my car? [
In theory, I mean.
I fight the urge to ask if he knows who I am.
Because I suspect that if I don’t walk away, who I am is the lady who gets her car shat in the next time she valets.
hen Douglas Coupland wrote
, he was writing about me.
I mean figuratively, not literally.
in my second [
Of six total.
] senior year of college, in the time in which I briefly traded my loafers for Birkenstocks, khakis for flannel, and Wham! for Nirvana. As a poster child for all things considered “slacker,” [
Including cynicism, apathy, and un-cute plaid shirts.
] I clearly recall nodding my head and saying, “Yeah, man. You
Until I stumbled across
Bridget Jones’s Diary
six years later, I’d never identified more with a novel. Coupland gave voice to the ennui that every twentysomething felt at the time, back in the day when we were long on promise and short on opportunity. He understood us because he was one of us—trapped between the perpetual, collective optimism of those he labeled “Global Teens” [
Later characterized as Generation Y or the Millennials.
] and their Baby Boomer parents, our generation defined ourselves by… nothing.