Sometimes I worry that I’m growing out of touch. It’s not something that anybody does on purpose. It’s just like, you get to a certain point, you’re comfortable with who you are and the stuff you do, one day you’re ten years old and you’re listening to Pearl Jam, Vitalogy on your little boom box, everything’s cool, you’re cool, you’re music’s cool, then you’re in college, you’re still listening to Vitalogy, you’ve got all of these new cool friends, and they all love Pearl Jam just as much as you do.
And then you blink and you’re 30 years old and you’re still listening to Vitalogy and, yeah, I guess if you really wanted to call up your old college buddies, get them on the phone, ask them point blank, “Vitalogy is still cool, right?” they’d be like, “Hell yeah, that’s such a classic CD. That’ll never go out of style.” And you’d be like, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” But honestly, when was the last time you even saw any of those guys? Do they still have the same phone numbers? Would it be awkward cold-calling all these years later just to talk about Pearl Jam?
And it’s not even about Pearl Jam. It’s about being in touch, or out of touch. Like I started seeing all of these posters on the subway for the HBO show Girls, season four. Before I had a chance to react, my brain just let out: ha, what a dumb show. But I’ve never even seen an episode. Not one. I know that some people rip on it. Or, I think I read something on Gawker one time three years ago that was making fun of it. Or the tone was snarky. Was that all it took to cement my opinion? I don’t even remember.
And then I think, what am I going to do, start bashing a show that I’ve never seen, just because, what, it looks like something that for some reason or another I’d assume wouldn’t be my cup of tea? What does that say about me, that I find advertisements for this wildly popular show somehow worthy of me thinking I’m better? That I’m better than the HBO show Girls?
That doesn’t make any sense. For one thing, I’m not on HBO. So I must be out of touch, maybe just a little, maybe more than just a little. It’s like I can remember being a little kid, and anything that came out that was too girlie, all of the boys made fun of it. Barbies? Ha. Stupid girls. Boys play with action figures. We make fun of Barbies. About how stupid they are. Stupid Barbie dolls.
I hope I’m not carrying around that much of my snot-nosed brat former child inside of me still, but I get a gut-wrenching reaction to a poster of a show that’s for some reason not marketed directly toward me, and this voice inside is like, how dare they? Don’t they know that I’m the prime demographic? This offends me. Somebody, when’s the new season of Walking Dead coming out? Anybody. Tell me about a new superhero movie in theaters soon.
I guess I could just watch Girls and try to make up my mind without any bias. But I don’t want to swing too far in the opposite direction either. I’m afraid that I’ll get so scared of losing touch that I’ll just start clinging automatically to whatever happens to be trending at the moment. I remember I read some article in the New York Times a year or two ago. The title of the article suggested that it was something about the dating habits of young people.
But after reading a few paragraphs, it was obvious that this piece was nothing more than a recap of the most recent episode of Girls. I remember specifically the author referring to the show as a “cultural weathervane.” I thought to myself, man, this person’s a journalist, they see one episode of a new TV show, they have no idea what’s going on and so they panic, they think, wow, I’m out of touch. I’d better wholly embrace this lest anyone suspects just how out of touch I am. They grasp desperately to the weathervane, please, point me back in the direction of what’s cool, teach me about this alien world of the new.
Now I feel bad, because in my effort to not make fun of a popular TV show, I just wound up taking shots at someone else talking about a popular TV show. I don’t know, was I thinking that maybe this piece would somehow make me feel less out of touch? Because I’m not out of touch, I can’t be. I still get new stuff. I just bought a new CD a month ago. It’s the new Pearl Jam. It’s OK. I can’t believe they’re still around. I didn’t even know they still put out new music. It’s definitely not as good as Vitalogy, but it’s still pretty cool I guess.