Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Feel Intellectually Posh When Surrounded by Poo

Sometimes I feel like my life lacks depth that doesn't have anything to do with how far a berry is lodged in my toddler's nose. Eating Kroger-bought naan is probably the most cultural experience I get in a typical week, and I haven't read any heavy literature since I abandoned The Brothers Karamazov after making it barely halfway through. I understand I am kind of just in that season of life where I can identify with songs from Daniel Tiger more than I can with an aria by Mozart, but sometimes I look back on my college days and pine for evenings at the International Cinema, weekends enjoying BYU theatre (ooo fancy spelling!), and afternoons lounging in my regular chair at the Wilk, a copy of The Oresteia propped open in my hands. Contrast this with my morning today, spent cleaning poop off the legs and hands of both my children (don't ask).

My children care that I feed them at semi-regular intervals, not that I graduated with honors (ok, so nobody else cares about that, either ... but I did! I graduated with University Honors!!)

I'm not ready to completely abandon any intellectual sophistication I acquired in the past, so I've devised a few methods for keeping up cultural morale:

-Listen to music with lyrics in a foreign language. This always makes me feel posh and like I'm living in a new and exciting place, even if I'm just listening while stuck in traffic in my minivan. You can even be really dorky like me and try to sing along with made up words. Your kids won't judge. My favorite Pandora stations right now are Carla Bruni (Italian model turned musician turned former first lady of France) and Rodrigo y Gabriela (This is acoustic, so you can't belt out your feelings with it, but it is great flamenco guitar that makes an excellent soundtrack that livens up even your most boring chores. Doing the dishes was never so sexy.). Any stations/musicians you listen to when you are feeling too much like a bowl of vanilla ice cream from the suburbs?

-Eat weird food. It doesn't have to be prohibitively weird, but I think trying foods that scare you a little bit is fun and it makes you feel smart and fancy. Again, I'm not saying you need to go eat balut, but try eating some type of meat/animal you never saw on your dinner table growing up. You'll feel sophisticated as you ladle mussel curry onto your toddler's plate, check the cook on your bison roast, or Instagram your spring squab with persimmon compote. Frozen pizza never made me feel like Gwyneth Paltrow.

-Watch a foreign film/black and white film. Also, you have to call it a "film." Just try saying it: "Honey, do you want to watch a film tonight?" Your brain just got bigger. Pair your film with an artisan soda float for maximum enjoyment. (Cheat hint: UK films count as foreign! This means Pride & Prejudice, The King's Speech, and yes, even Hot Fuzz).

Watching foreign films will make you as posh as my top hat!

-Read a book from this list. If you need to, just read a few lines a day so you can namedrop that you're "in the middle of Leviathan" without lying. I've been doing that with The Brothers Karamazov for over a year. But really, these books will do more than look great on the arm of your couch when your sophisticated friends come over to share the sea urchin roe you sourced from the excellent fishmonger you met at the midtown screening of Citizen Kane (don't forget a strategically placed bookmark!). These are great books that will make you think, expose you to new ideas, and help you feel like an adult whose literary prowess extends beyond Little Critter.

-Make friends interesting. Don't I mean "make interesting friends"? No. What I mean is that pretty much everyone you meet has some awesome, intelligent hobby or passion that they would love to talk about and share with you if you are willing to stop talking about sleep schedules for thirty seconds. I know how important it is to collab with other parents about kid issues, but I find that my friendships really flourish and provide intellectual nourishment when I dig a little deeper, beyond the obvious, easy talk about babies and weather. Small talk is fun, but it is small! Ask your friends what they do when their kids are asleep or when they get off work. Then ask them what they love about doing that. Talk about what books you're reading, what projects you're working on, and what you're planning for the future. I am consistently amazed at how interesting people are.

If you want to upgrade your brain from a minivan to a Tesla, even if just for a little while, try one of these methods out. Or do you have some of your own cultural coping mechanisms? Please share.

1 comment:

  1. Pandora has a bollywood workout station if you want to enliven and enculture your exercise.


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