Stuck in a Moment

En route. (Image compliments of my talented hubby!)

Age I got my first Barbie: 10

Barbies I owned: 3

Hours it took to get to the U2 concert: 3.25

I came late to the Barbie party.

I really liked Barbies and all of their accoutrements: the torn vinyl wardrobe, the vast shoe collection and the fun, open-air Jeep… but my mom was a Feminist. It was the ’70s, people, and Barbie was way, way too into her hairstyles. The only time I could enjoy Barbie and her carefree, California lifestyle was playtime in someone else’s split-level. There, Barbie and her clones were tossed neglectfully under the bed, at times headless… or worse, with a very bad haircut.

By the ’80s, I was almost too old for Barbies, but my mom had a change of heart. My sister asked for a Barbie, as if just asking can get you what you want, and… she got one.

Of course, I had to have one, too. My mom’s thought process about how her Feminist rhetoric had influenced me thus far probably went something like this:

“Well, I was trying to prep her for a career, possibly as a doctor or physicist, but she read Little Women and identified with Meg. She also skips around in circles and sings and likes to wade through muddy creekbeds. I heard her say recently that boys are better at math. I’ve failed. Heck, let her play with a doll that has no motivation other than a nice bra and her next date with Ken.”

By the time I got a Barbie, I was 10 and heading on to middle school in the not-so-distant future.

Mine was the prettiest Barbie, with waist-length, cooperative hair and a button on her back to make her arthritic, perma-folded arms move. But her face was kind, and she had a pleasant demeanor. She wasn’t one to cuss out the maitre d’, and she didn’t need a Ken in her life. She was happy with the journey, this Barbie was.

We designed Barbie mansions under the dining room table and spent hours getting her ready for parties. Sometimes it was a pool party, and she needed the perfect bikini and matching cover-up. Even though my mom thought heels with bathing suits were the dumbest thing ever, Barbie knew the right accessories could make her feel beautiful.

Perhaps best of all, we were happy with the process, the moments of anticipation while still inside the mansion. Her home and clothes and friends were all she needed to have a delightful afternoon. She never attended that party she was prepping for, but she was still smiling in her super-cool duds. She was a Woman Living in the Moment.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago.

My sister, a U2 SuperFan, was going to miss the concert in our town. She thought she could handle it, but she couldn’t. So she called me saying she had two tickets and did I want to go?

Well, sure. I never get out to concerts anymore, and I love them. Plus, the place where U2 was playing was only 20 minutes away. What could be easier?

I told her to meet me at my house around 5:30, we’d leave by 6, be there easily in the middle of the opening act.

We got there at 9:15.

I love where we live, but it’s not a city. It wasn’t ready by half for the excitement generated by the 360 Tour.

We got on the highway along with thousands of others in what became known (to me) as U2’s Highway Parking Lot Tour.

But this was the best part: I didn’t care. Then again, I wasn’t the SuperFan. My sister might have cared, just a smidgen. We got giddy, we waved at fans in other cars, we watched as people left their cars on the side of the highway and prepared to walk several miles.

They got there before we did.

We cranked up my satellite radio on the ’90s station and sang angry songs like, “You Oughta Know” and “Nevermind.” I found out that we both love Jane’s Addiction and that she knows all the words to “Jane Says.” She also adores the live version.

After three hours in the car, we parked at a doctor’s office, skedaddled over to the outdoor arena and sat in the bleachers on the most perfect autumn night in recorded history. Bono sounded great, and my sister was happy.

I try to remind myself daily that writing and running and raising children and becoming the person I want to be is a process. Even though there are goal races and novels to be written and levels to be achieved, my mom would be happy to note that Barbie set a good example. I can be happy on the journey, whether I make it to the party or concert or not.

But just in case, I’ll have on a nice pair of shoes.


11 thoughts on “Stuck in a Moment

  1. crubin says:

    Since I was so close in age to my brother and we were constant companions, the only purpose my Barbies served was to be kidnapped by the bad guys and saved by GI Joe. So much for feminism. And the worst part is, it never occurred to me to have Barbie save GI Joe. Oh, if I only could get my hands on them now… 🙂

  2. Holly says:

    HA! The drawing even has the sunset in the geographically correct place! Barbie did teach us well, didn’t she? Ours didn’t even need Kens around to show off for. Sharing her cute clothes with all her friends and parading around in stillettos was enough.

    I was doing ok being stuck in the moment until about 8, when my Spidey sense told me they were going onstage. That traffic jam was EPIC.

  3. Stephanie says:

    My sister and I used to play Operation Barbie for hours. One of us would sit on the second floor hallway, which had a railing to block the stairs, and the other would sit on the floor in the downstairs hallway. The sister on the top floor would tie one Barbie to the end of a ball of yarn and then lower her down. Then the other sister would untie her, tie on a new Barbie, and tug 3 times on the rope so that the first sister could hoist her back up. Hours, I’m telling you. Kids are weird.

    I’m glad you had a good time with your sister…even if she did miss her concert.

    • annewoodman says:

      Isn’t that what’s great about being a kid, though? The hours of living inside your head without interruption? What’s cool is to try to remember what you were thinking during those long hours–there was no clutter of having to remember to pay the bills or pick up groceries or wrap things up before the boss got back from lunch.

  4. Tania says:

    I didn’t go for the dolls that looked like real babies (they freaked me out), it was barbie all the way. Barbie in the place, in her pink house (of course I didn’t own these fab access but my friends did). I did have the barbie head on a pink tray where you could fix the hair and put on makeup (a lot of good that did me, I’m bleary eyed and bushy haired daily). I feel the same as you…even if I don’t write the next twilight (although that’d be nice, there’s a place down the road for a mill & a half that’s my dream castle), I can enjoy the process just the same.

  5. bearrunner says:

    I went to teh U2 360 tour here, took us like 4 hours to get to the concert… After parking, transit and walking… Great concert though


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