I spent the bulk of my free time this past Sunday watching a My Super Sweet 16 marathon on MTV. I've only ever caught snippets of this show in the past (it must be on against something I normally watch). I found myself sucked in by the complete insanity of the teens in this show. And I found myself sitting there, in grumpy-old-lady style, saying to myself - I was never like that as a kid - what's wrong with these people?

And then I got to thinking about when I was 16.

True, I didn't get a car for my 16th birthday (I didn't want one because I didn't want to drive - long story!). But, if I had gotten one, my dream car, at the time, would have been an old Karmann Ghia painted either lime green or lavender (BTW, I would still love to have such a car -- but nowadays I am also in love with the new Rabbit, the Yaris, the glorious Miata, and the to die for Mini Cooper convertible)! I blame this obsession with tiny cars on the fact that when I was a child my mom had the cutest little mustard yellow 1973 MGB in all of So Cal. I am currently forced to drive an SUV because of living (the past 7 years) in places that have snow part of the year. But if I had gotten a car at 16 I don't think either of my parents would have gone as crazy as the parents of the kids on SS16 do. I might have gotten my Karmann Ghia, but probably not, and if I had -- I guarantee it wouldn't have been painted my dream colors and all cherried out (I would have been lucky if it ran). Why? Because crazy as they are -- my parents loved me too much to buy me whatever I wanted. And they loved me way too much to ever buy me a Beemer!

However, it's also true that when I got the very first card in my wallet, it was an AMEX (on my mom's account) and I was only 14. And it's true that the very first thing I bought on that card was a $250 Coach wallet (because it was cute) that I found at either May Co. or Nordstrom at the Brea Mall. When I stop and think about it -- that was kind of a an SS16 thing to do (considering my age), but it didn't feel obnoxious at the time. I used to love to shop when I was a teenager -- mostly at used bookstores and antique shops (what can I say? I was strange). One of my proudest purchases was a $50 crystal Art Deco vase that I got at the Lincoln Antique Mall in Anaheim and still love more than anything! I used to love going to all the little shops in the Orange Circle (after getting breakfast at Felix's Cafe!) with my maternal grandmother (antiquing was one of the few things we had in common). It was during this time that I started collecting old diaries -- I thought finding people's old diaries in these shops was so sad that I wanted to give them a home.

But it's funny when I think back on what I was like at 16. I had already pulled myself out of public school by that time (THANK GOD), most of my socializing came from Church, I didn't want to drive (which sucked only because my neighborhood was nearly a black hole on the OCTA map) so I stayed home more than was probably normal -- reading, listening to music, and watching tons of old movies. When I did go out, it was mostly to the library, to go shopping at bookstores, antiques shops, and the Brea Mall, or it was to go to the movies, or get the occasional coffee with old friends from school. I was cerebral, dull, and a happy little loner.

I can remember back when I was still in public school - in Jr. High - by the end, I would only go to school one or two days a week (in a good week). This is the time period I now half-jokingly refer to as my first nervous breakdown. Because I was "truant" - that's such a word! LOL - when I did show up, it invariably resulted in a trip to The Office (I found it hilariously ironic that I was in trouble for not going to school, and in response they would pull me out of class on days when I did show up!) I met some of the nicest girls in the world while sitting there outside the door to the Vice-Principal's office. They were open, friendly, and non-judgmental. Maybe they were there because they'd come to school drunk, and maybe they were rumored to be the school slut, but they were nice to me. They used to invite me to go with them to raves they knew about in Buena Park. I politely declined. Not because I had much of anything against raves in BP, but mostly because I wanted to stay home to listen to the Doors/Tori Amos and read Kierkegaard/Turgenev while waiting for an afternoon airing of To Catch a Thief or Now Voyager to come on.

I was strange.

But if SS16 is an indication of what is normal (and if there's a God, it isn't!) then I would much rather have been strange!

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