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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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Monday
Apr172006

In which I use the word "cool" entirely too much.

It seems that we purchased a house today. Unfortunately I’ve changed my mind. I would like to stay in Brooklyn, please. Do you think the buyer of our apartment will let us stay? Maybe we can talk her into taking the New Jersey place.

My last-minute panic is based on nothing reasonable, except that where we live is cool, and where we will live, while probably cool in infinite ways, is not as cool. Period. We will never be this cool again. And we weren’t all that cool to begin with. You may think, reading this, that I have long placed my coolness in high esteem, but in fact I have never bothered much with the coolness. I didn’t have to, because I live here. Not that I even got much pleasure out of the cool things here. I can’t afford them, and even if I could, I’m too old. And I spend my time with a preschooler whose idea of fun is playing air accordion while blasting Led Zeppelin. Actually I don’t disagree with him. Even if I had never had a child I would probably be doing that. In my underwear, probably. And not the hot kind of underwear, oh no. I’m talking Jockey For Her Hipsters with sagging elastic because I still own panties that my mother purchased for me in 1985.

Oh my god, what am I talking about? Do you see what this has done to me? I am weak with panic. What the hell was I thinking? I’m going to have to drive places. And my god, I’ve just made my holiday shopping a million times more complicated. In Brooklyn we are steps away from so many damn clever shops that are so crammed with hip whimsy that it can give you a migraine if you take it all in at once. In New Jersey we will be steps away from a KFC, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and a CVS. And I don’t think my mom wants a six pack of Crispy Nuggets for her birthday. I could be wrong about this.

But a person cannot live in a neighborhood just because of the cute shops, right? Right? They can’t, right? Oh god, what have I done?

It’s not just the coolness and the cute shops and the friends who will never move to Jersey and I see them every week and what was I THINKING. Crap, it’s everything. I can’t believe we can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ve lived here for fifteen years. Almost every day, I walk out of our house and I run into someone I know and love. Or someone I know and don’t like very much. Either way. I can’t believe I’m moving to the suburbs. I think I might throw up. I know I need to get over myself. I do. And I’m sure I will. Maybe in a year or two.

Reader Comments (111)

I completely understand. The only cool thing about us is that we live in the city of Chicago. No, not the suburbs, not a surrounding town, not on the border, but within the actual city limits. I just can't give up my one coolness point. No, not yet!
April 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJessi
This is very interesting because my primary experience when I even come within 5 miles of New York is to be engulfed in the horror of my uncoolness nay my very insignificance. To suddenly recognize that not only am I uncool but I am absolutely NOTHING a NO ONE who owns no handbags to speak of, has insufficiently thin thighs and well, is not young enough to be waiting to hit the big time and not famous and not rich. And totally unknown and not Julian Schnabel or related to Julian Schnabel.

It's like when you stare out at the stars in the sky and realize you are a speck in the universe and finite and don't really matter, etc., etc.

In New Jersey, there is at least the chance that you will get to feel superior to everyone else.
April 19, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterozma
On the offchance that no one has already mentioned this . . . shortly you will be so damn busy you won't have time to think about much of anything except how you'll get what you need done around the new place. Focus and breathe, focus and breathe. You've become a new homeowner and by all acounts you will be living in the house of your dreams. It doesn't get any better, or worse! Congratulations.
April 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNeoCleo
You are so silly. Didn't you know that "they" (aka the Burbots) pump in a mind-alterning fog when you sleep? Give it a week, you won't even remember what the city was like -- you'll be too busy matching your white pants with your white sandles (pastels are the color of spring ladies!) and sipping mojitos (cuz that's all the rage in the burbs now).
April 19, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersallyman
To use the local parlance, I am feeling you girl.
April 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
Mmm. We just moved last week from NYC to a semi-suburban place out west (as in west coast) and I, too, am mourning my lost cool. We are uncool together.
April 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Congrats Alice! It will all work out for the best. Really.
April 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPaula
Oh god, I know exactly how you feel. I had the exact same panic attack when I left Brooklyn for Phoenix four years ago. If it helps any, I've adapted, and only have Brooklyn-missing sadness attacks like every 3 months now.
April 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
Thanks, you made me feel better about moving to the city (from the burbs). Err...I mean, you'll LOVE it out there!!
April 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara
You're moving awfully far away from the Pegasus. I doubt you'll ever find another breakfast muffin as delicious as theirs. Not in Jersey. ;)
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStewbie
I passed a hair salon on the highway yesterday in Jersey called "Curl Up and Dye." HILARIOUS.

Seriously, as I may have mentioned in a previous comment, I moved from Amsterdam to Jersey to Cambridge to Brooklyn and back, and each place COMPLETELY has its own charms. I don't know where precisely you're venturing to in the Garden State, but the town I live in doesn't feel suburban at all--it feels like a *town*, with a distinct identity, distinct beauty, distinct culture. It's hard to leave home, of course, but just remember that the next step will come with its own unique privileges.
April 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMer

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