I know. Comparisons are odious. But sometimes they just happen. Take me and Britney Spears. She and I are the same age. She has always been out there, some weird unparallel parallel. The measure of the awkwardness of my adolescence.
1999: Hamming up the girl-next-door-turned-star act, she got taken on a shopping spree by some hip New York designer. I hung out the bridge over Ravenna park in my mom’s old dust-colored Gortex coat and believed I was invisible.
2000: Dress like Britney Spears! the magazines suggested. I was the superior and awkward college kid in the check-out line, noting the irony and the constructed construct of the pop star.
2001: She was dancing in those ads for Pepsi. I watched them awkwardly with my mother in the suburban theater where I did not want to be.
(Then years with no Britney moments. This was a good sign, I think.)
And then, 2006: I was at home at my parents’ indefinitely, done with grad school, lost in writing my novel, with no romantic prospects or clear sense of where I was going. I was restless and vicious and lonely. I went online one day and the AOL headline blared, “OOPS I DID IT AGAIN!” What do you know: Britney was pregnant with her second kid.
OH MY GOD! I thought. SHE’S HAVING HER SECOND KID!
WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE???
And then I stopped. Self, don’t compare yourself to Britney Spears, I told myself.
But maybe that was premature: pretty soon after that, she went seriously downhill. I didn’t follow her personal issues. My next Britney moment was of sitting on my awesome Alder St. roof deck in the sunshine while Toxic whined out of some neighbors window. What the heck is that crap? It’s a beautiful day, was my review.
Now, I am back at my parents’ at the end of another restless, vicious, lonely day. They hit you sometimes, you know? Britney is selling some house for $2 million bucks and the newspapers are commenting on her sweatpants. Hell, it’s all life.