The first time was earlier this season.
With the reunion? When she finds out she was mean in high school? Snubbing-less-she-be-snubbed? Ha-ha. Funny premise.
Weeks later...on Facebook and idly wondering what makes people friend some and not others...it hit me.
Maybe, in high school, I was some version of that Liz Lemon?!
I had thought, back in the foggy mid-eighties, that those prettier, more together, working harder, honor role kids just didn't *get* me. Because I just didn't want to play, I thought, conveniently, that I should get by on my (under-appreciated) looks and (underexercised) raw intelligence.
Now. Those same kids - the ones who tried? Who made it all so important when I, in my infinite wisdom (and 2.75 GPA) suspected it wasn't? In a different city, in a different time - those kids have kids. And their kids? Are in private school. With mine. Who are woefully unprepared.
They are unprepared because Mom still doesn't want to play.
On last night's 30 Rock, we saw the return of Dr.Drew Baird. (mmm..Jon Hamm...) The premise was that he is so good-looking, so graced, that people expect little of him and fill him with lies.
Jack Donaghy explains the Bubble, and the loss of the Bubble. I laughed 'cuz it was funny. A ridiculous premise?
I was driving home from my son's third grade play the next day, almost in tears.
Chief trigger was the set of Charlotte's Web. I had derided the moms that made a big deal of the stage, the props -( this is third grade, the play isn't blocked, each character is shared by six kids) But it looked great.
Two of my props were rejected as inadequate (and I fancy myself crafty...), and my son's Zuckerman costume was Not Quite Right. Even though we got the same Farmer Costume Memo as every other Zuckerman mom (and there were five of them!)
After my son performed the walk-up-to-the-mike rendition of a play, written for about 8 kids, along with 59 of his closest friends, perfect moms told me he was great - and I had no idea who they were. I should know, but I could not access their names from my back brain.
In this dull, inglorious moment in the car feeling sorry for myself, it hit me. I know the Bubble.
Because while high school may not be kind to the I -think-I-might-be-prettier-and-smarter-than-you-so-I-flirt-too-much-and-laugh-too-hard-when-I-get-the-grown-up-jokes-of-the-AP-English-teacher-and-treat-everything-with-a-note-of-disdain-and-irony... your twenties? Especially if you got to live them in the irony-loving nineties? In your twenties, folks eat that shit up.
All of the sudden - for a minute, maybe, or for something like six or seven years - I lived like I was It.
Cool job, witty, accomplished friends, free German cars. Professionally, personally - I felt untouchable. I flirted as I breathed. I got promoted. I worked way over my head and I gathered in large, chummy packs at the neighborhood bar in the tony neighborhood...that I walked to.
Because no one ever accused me of making things look easy, I assumed my aggressive wheel-spinning and frenetic pace meant I was working hard.
My eventual husband believed it, too. He would say later that his initial impression was that I was "out of his league." He imagined that I had it together - because there was so much of it, and it looked confusing to the outsider.
I was in the Bubble.
And inside, it actually WAS confusing. But it was contained, somewhat.
All that happened, besides growing up, and getting married, and having kids, and folding into private schools (quite by accident, but I digress) is that I outgrew the bubble. And now, 40, with those intrepid kids in tow ... the bubble is gone.
The mess is no longer contained by the walls of the bubble, and I am exposed to the (god love him, still-with-me) husband. I am invisible to those working harder, with better qualifications and a more complete rule set. My confusion confuses them. They expect more of themselves... shouldn't I?
Inside the bubble...even if I invented it... was better.
So somehow? Now, I guess? It's time to grow up. Or at least fake it a lot more convincingly.