on the Fleishmans, teen "no's" and going up the down
Fleishman Is In Trouble about an uber rich Brooklynite couple devolving. It features Clair Danes doing what Clair Danes does so well: emotionally breaking down. And Jesse Eisenberg being a little bit geeky.
One thinker who I read sometimes questions why we might want to spend time with such broken rich people. And in a way he’s right. But also, isn’t that EXACTLY why we spend time with these people? Because they’re so extreme, it makes them interesting. It’s also a warning almost for how not to live. Or even to aspire to it.
Old jeans I stopped wearing during the pandemic because I only wore sweat pants for two years and then when I came back from that moment, we were on to high waisted Mom jeans.
Now, inconveniently, I don’t know who I am. Or what I wear. Am I a vegetarian? Do I do morning pages? So I leaned into the unknown and plucked the skinny jeans from my closet—like I could just do that, making the rules in my own life—unsure of the woman I would see reflected in the mirror. She was different anyway. Jeans can do that. Also, lipstick and clogs.
Sometimes you need to act boldly, to jostle yourself out of work mode, character building, idea generation. Violet had already sat through an hour and a half at the coffee shop of me brainstorming a show with Simon. Patient girI. Patient husband.
Oh, along with the jeans I also suggested a different sushi place, different than our usual haunts. I know. After our dinner Simon said, “Let’s go to Aritzia,” just to keep the adventure going. He was getting the hang of this too. He thought Elsie might want to look for a semi-formal dress. She did not, having already ordered one. But we went anyways so she could have a chance to practice her no.
No, I don’t like that better.
No, that’s not what you wear to a semi-formal.
No, those are cropped. Why would you want cropped?
Simon is so resilient though. He was all, “No problem, daughter. My job is merely to present you with opportunities. I am joyful for and with you. Always. Amen.”
Me? Well, who knows because maybe I’m a vegetarian or maybe I’m not, but grumpiness is a trigger for my co-dependent emotions, which I will work on for the next decade. But…I coped in this alternative world we were in. And I managed not to take the “no’s” personally or take on her feelings. In fact, I learned that if I stay light through the “no’s,” and playfully oneup her “no’s” with a “no” of my own, she smiles! Hello strategy!
Later slipping into the bath, a wave of pride wafted over me. I had done some good parenting, letting my teen have the space to disagree and assert her own opinions. Which made me love jeans and sushi and Aritzia so much.
The end of the story is that we found escalators. And the kids spent five minutes going up the down. And then I timed them going down the elevator and up the escalator. (44 seconds.) And Violet said she never wanted to leave.
Violet taking in my swift about-face about what we should do in an afternoon:
“Wow, Mommy, big change of feelings in one woman.”
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