It’s Too late To Say I’m Sorry the newest book from Joey Comeau of A Softer World.
Alastair‘s sister is visiting this week, so we have been rushing around cleaning and trying to make his apartment feel like a civilized adult lives there. Saturday we went to IKEA to buy furniture, so that meals may be eaten around a table, as grown-up’s traditionally claim they do. I’ve been joking that we should paint on coffee rings for added verisimilitude. He dislikes IKEA, but it doesn’t bother me, I like the futurism inherent in the company, (the IKEA catalogue is the only book printed in more languages than the bible), but it bothers him how they homogenize apparent individuality. As if in retaliation, he’s been threatening to go to Costco, which just makes my skin crawl.
Yesterday the Boy called to (accidentally) gloat about the warm L.A. weather, “I can even see the HOLLYWOOD SIGN FROM HERE.” (Here the sky remains a sheet of gray with occasional attacks of vicious rain. One shower smashed my umbrella and left me hiding under a tree for fifteen minutes.) He told me about a mylar balloon he watched escape from someone into the clear blue sky. He thinks he might be able to see Gerry and Suzi’s place from his building. I told him how my mother wants to do a motorcycle road-trip in his direction this summer. The idea of meeting my mother makes him nervous, which I understand, but still find amusing. His voice made my day, I think, as well a pleasantly delaying a return-a-wrong-thing trip to IKEA.
None of us can think of an appropriate name for the flavour of yuppie they are, these technocratic boys, only that it’s markedly different from the Gap-Shopping Two-Point-Three-Career stereotype that over-ran Joseph Epstein’s classic definition. (Originally yuppies were defined as “a market segment whose consumers are characterized as self-reliant, financially secure individualists who do not exhibit or aspire to traditional American values.” Values having shifted, thank you baby-boomers, the last bit has fallen off in the back-lash, leaving us with a cold vision of consumer based living.)
Caught in the middle of a surge in media and technological advances, they grew up generationally bilingual, technicians yet artists, geeky yet culturally aware, raised on computers and television but almost entirely lacking commercial influence. They’re like Douglas Coupland characters, but instead of remembering nuclear emergency classroom drills, it’s the Berlin Wall coming down and the birth of the internet in the mid-nineties. (Back when internet was capitalized. Remember Altavista?) They work specialized jobs within what they refer to as The Industry, be it Video Games, Television or Film, and though there’s a high burn-out rate, they continue with 100 hour work weeks, generally too busy for families or “proper” homes, because they are financially available for unusual or exciting experiences later. (Travel to foreign countries, Burning Man, etc.)
Any suggestions? James? You’re one of them too.