I Am Not Young & Stupid: An Essay

I’ve recently been talking to my friends a lot about fun college stories that we’ve all heard. The crazy parties, antics and anecdotes of my older friends amuse me, but deep down, I know that life is not for me.

I’m not a party person. I don’t like large groups. I don’t like the smell of alcohol, and secondhand smoke triggers my asthma attacks.

I’m a homebody. I like conversation, good food and a quiet night. I like sitting around in my hoodie eating Nutella straight from the jar. I like finding a nice place to sit and write or read a good book.

But I’ve noticed those preferences seem to come with a social stigma about them. I’m sometimes called a stick in the mud, a buzzkill, a prude, too bookish or boring. I’m like Cory and Topanga on that episode of Boy Meets World where they try to have a party to prove their friends that they’re fun and end up on their couch, smashing tiny quiches alone in their dingy, over-decorated apartment. That’s more my speed.

But the quote referenced in my oh-so-clever title (aren’t I original?) has been haunting me recently. What if I never get to be old and wise, precisely because I am not being stupid enough?

Mind you, this is not an excuse for me to go out and do something rash. That’s not how I roll. I’m far too over-analytical. I can’t handle doing something without some semblance of a plan or understanding of consequences. And if those consequences are severe, I won’t have any fun doing the rash thing; I’ll spend the entire time worrying about the severe consequences. So don’t mistake my words for a justification of my going, say, gallon-jugging or car-surfing.

My fear is simply this: I won’t know how to have fun in college. I won’t have any funny stories to tell. I’ll be known as a stick in the mud or a buzzkill. And then beyond, in real life, I won’t be able to advise my children on how to safely have fun because I’ve never experienced any of the things they might be exposed to. Or I will never have fun in any sense, never have funny stories beyond the time I went to Buckingham Palace while I was in London and wore a crown-shaped tea cozy, thinking it was a hat. Or the time my sisters paid a mariachi band five pounds to sing me Happy Birthday in the streets of a London alleyway. Or the time I pretended to push my little sister off the Eiffel Tower and nearly gave her a heart attack. Or the time our tour guide got our entire school group last minute floor seats to Wicked at the Apollo Victoria. Or when we got to go backstage on Broadway after The Lion King and played with every prop. Or, oh my good heavens, the time I had to call to make a reservation for a restaurant in Paris– completely in French. I was so nervous, my hands shook, but my mother was still impressed.

My stories are the kind that I don’t like to tell, because it makes people uncomfortable. I’m often met with, “I’ve never even been out of the country, and you’ve been to Europe five times!” or “God, you’re so lucky, can I just be you?” And those statements make me uncomfortable.

So I’ve had an idea! To make peace with my boringness, I’ll start a post thread about my travel stories. It’ll be fun, I think, maybe. Be on the look out for my future travel posts. I mean, just if you want to.

That’s all from The Leatherbound.

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