ANYWAY, it wasn't until last week that I realized both the VW commercial and the Modest Mouse minivan spot ("for the New Mom") were aimed at Gen-Xers--those in their late 20s and early 30s who did well enough before the dot-com industry busted to have kids or a lot of extra cash. What tripped my flip-out, though, was a Gap commercial, featuring "Tempted" by Squeeze (off 1981's East Side Story), for what the company calls "broken-in jeans." "What, like Dockers?" I thought. Then it all hit me at once. I was being marketed to! After the Gen-Xers, and for less expensive items.
There are a group of us suspended between boomers and Xers, paddling around 40 but still living like kids. We are the first generation whose quality of life largely didn't surpass that of our parents. We're musicians, writers, and artists who throw our money around frivolously, so long as we have a steady income of some sort. A new car is out of the question, but some new pants or that box set of records we already have? Sure.
On the opposite end of the adult spectrum, though, when I attended the invite-only opening of fancy-schmancy new club the Triple Door last week, I looked around and thought, "Who are these grownups?" The concert space was breathtaking--a real dinner theater, not just a restaurant that has shows. Because we didn't RSVP, my friend and I were seated at a tiny table at the lip of the stage while everybody else sat on curved banquettes and shared platters of food with strangers. Others filled "private suites" that overlooked the floor, and beside that area was what owners Rick and Ann Yoder (also owners of Wild Ginger upstairs) call the Musicquarium, a regular cocktail spot where up to 150 showgoers can "enjoy the traditional social verities of a great bar while still being part of a 'live' scene" (i.e., the cheap seats). A slide show illustrated Rick Yoder's love of music and determination to contribute to Seattle's music community, and as he reminisced that he and his friends used to "wax on" about music, my hands childishly went up to do the "wax on, wax off" thing from The Karate Kid. When Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet (which I misread as "Skerik's Separated Taint" once and now forever) was playing, I got the giggles because the trombone sounded like a vinyl seat fart, when only seconds earlier I had been thinking how nice it was to see a band dressed in white-tie formal. So I'm so not a grownup, I realized. The montage of historical black singers and musicians in the earlier slide show was strange and pointed given the mostly white audience, and when a black soloist joined the band after much fanfare, I headed out of the theater--it felt so forced. I ran into some familiar faces huddled by the exit who, like me, didn't know how to be about all this. The space would be perfect for a band like Sparklehorse, or Modest Mouse even, but Yoder's mission statement--"By building a reputation for providing a great experience, we want to help people take the leap into new areas, open up and listen"--probably just means jazz. Or Ryan Adams. The rest of us who want new experiences are to be crammed into the crappy Seahawks Stadium.
As always, Seattle likes to think it's more sophisticated than it is. We are so not grown-up.