I'm on the road again this week. Lots of reading time on the plane. Not a problem, however, because my wife gave me a book called The Knockoff, about a woman named Imogen in her early forties who returns to work in the fashion industry after some time away, but now has to deal with younger millenial co-workers. Me being in my mid-thirties, I'm finding her observations hilarious. This part killed me (I'm editing it down a bit as there's much more going here):
"Try living with your parents all the time," Ashley said.
Ashley lived with her parents? Imogen tried to conceal a look of surprise.
"Are you staying with them until you find your own place?"
"Yeah, I figure I'll be there a couple more years. The building is getting a new gym next summer," Ashley replied.
"You don't want your own place sooner than that?"
"Why would I? We all live with our parents." The others nodded. "Why would be get our own apartments when we get everything we need at our parents' places? They have all the right food. There is laundry service. Besides. Who can afford to live in Manhattan on our salaries?"
Imogen felt sad for them. These women would never know the joys of sharing a tiny space with two other friends, all in the same boat, all trying to make ends meet over Pringles and bits snuck home from a fancy store opening. One time her roommate Bridgett snuck an entire bottle of Dom Pérignon down the front of her Calvin Klein shift dress. They stayed up that night talking until dawn about the women they wanted to be when they were finished being the girls who stole champagne and smoked a pack of Marlboros in a day. The apartment was little more than a one bedroom closet with small nooks carved out for sleeping. Had it not been for that apartment and that sense of ambition that can only be born out of struggle, she wouldn't be who she was today.
Amen. I remember living in a studio on Market Street near 18th, busting my ass waiting tables at Pier 39 during the day, then working the night shift at Tower Records until closing. After work we would drink shitty beer out of cans, then go up on my roof and smoke a pack of Kamel Reds while looking out over the city. It was in those moments that every bit of hard work became worth the effort. I absolutely would not be the person I am today without that struggle.
I still cherish those memories today. Bravo to Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza for summarizing something so quintessential about the new generational divide (and including booze and cigarettes).