In Aspen, 30 is the new 13
Silly me. All this time, I thought I wanted to get married. I finally realized I should just have a bat mitzvah instead.That way, I can just throw a big party for all my family and friends, collect gifts and money, and wear a pretty dress in any color I want. (Let’s face it, white is just not that flattering.) I can learn how to read a different language even though I don’t know what the hell it means. I can read from the Torah with the antique silver stick pointer thing and all the boys would don those shiny little beanies just for me. Best of all, I would get to be the center of attention and wouldn’t have to worry about all the crap that comes with marriage – stuff like divorce and having to live with a roommate. I was thinking about all this last weekend during my cousin Matty’s bar mitzvah in New York. It was so over-the-top it made me stop and think: I mean, now is as good a time as any to induct myself into adulthood, right?Apparently bar mitzvahs are a major production these days, and Matty’s was no exception. For starters, CBS News came to film the ceremony for a segment it was doing on youth and spirituality. The film crew only added to all that attention brought on a 13-year-old boy who, let’s face it, is at the most awkward stage he’ll ever be at in his life. I mean, no offense to the wise dudes or whoever came up with this whole tradition, but wouldn’t it have been better if they waited until the kid was a little older, at least had his driver’s license and a deeper voice? The cantor was this big jazz singer from the city, a large woman whose bellowing voice seemed to come from deep within, amplified by wide hips and ample bosom. She belted out prayer songs like Tina Turner, with that little screech on the end of each note so it was like, “Barrruccc—a Atoyyyyy-a! Elluuuuuhayynuu-a.” I just kept waiting for her to jump out from behind her organ and start prancing around in a miniskirt. Rabbi Reuben was this cute little hippie dude whom I’ll admit I sort of had a crush on. He just had that whole exotic wise man thing going on with his prickly grown-out beard and sideburns and cute little custom-embroidered yamlka – very Africa-meets-Israel, very one-world-nation. I also love the name Reuben. It’s one of those warm, fuzzy names, a good sensitive-guy name that just rolls off the tongue like butt-ah. It turns out Reuben is so alternative he doesn’t even have a temple. “I think he does hold services in some basement somewhere in Yonkers,” Matty’s big brother Josh said. Reuben tutored Matty privately once a week for two years, coming to the house like a Hebrew delivery man. At the service, he busted out a bongo and got everyone to dance. He kept us plenty entertained, even though I was doing just fine with my own thoughts, wondering what life with a spiritual man would be like (unless you want to count that time my boyfriend and I got stoned floating down the river last summer spiritual). The real entertainment, as promised, was the DJ – a huge bald dude with biceps like tree trunks accompanied by a troupe of four sexy dancers dressed all in black. His crew got these kids from the suburbs throwing down hip-hop moves in no time. They knew how to get the party started but were a little aggressive, grabbing you as you walked by and dragging you into the middle of the dance floor. The big dude got to my mom and she shook it so hard that she injured her hip and had to be carried to the car. I saw the way she was grinning ear to ear at him, knew he had her all wound up. I totally saw it coming.I also love my crazy New York family. Even though they live in one of the biggest cities in the world and are all Ivy League-educated, they’re like rednecks, insistent that they can’t function anywhere else. “How do you live awl the way out the-ah in Col-lah-rah-do?” they always ask. “Isn’t it freezing out the-ah?” I had to field all those questions that will never go away, like, “When are you going to get married and settle down?” Or the ever-subtle, “You better get on it if you want to have kids. You don’t have that much time left, you know.” But watching my little cousin Matty – the awkward star of the show with his wire-rimmed glasses and pink cheeks, oversized feet in polished shoes and fancy suit he’ll probably never wear again – made me realize I’m more like him. I’m just on the verge of growing up, too, of tackling this thing called adulthood. I mean, I’m just as unsure about my future now as I was then. But being confused was a lot easier when that future in question was a lot further away.My bat mitzvah in Aspen would be awesome. Rabbi Reuben would fit right in with his bongo and embroidery, dancing on top of Aspen Mountain. If 40 is the new 30 in New York, I’m so sure 30 is the new 13 in Aspen.Every time I see my family back east I’m like, “This is why I am the way I am.” But this time I had even more of a revelation. Like maybe it’s time for me to finally become an adult.The Princess is really trying to get her act together. E-mail your best wishes to firstname.lastname@example.org
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