signs of alien life

Confession: I’m surrounded by aliens.

That’s what happens when you live near a major metropolitan area.

Thankfully, aliens are pretty easy to spot. They cruise around in BMWs and Lexuses, march around in Louboutins and can’t stop talking about celebrity relationships and the latest sale on Gucci/Prada/etc. They’ve had an allowance since birth, got a car on their 16th birthday, and, in some cases, still live at their parents’ place which allows them to buy designer clothes instead of spending money on dull things like rent and food.

I’m not sure I even know how to communicate with this strange species of people. But I’ve gotten quite adept at recognizing aliens and people who were raised by them. Just in case you’re not as familiar, let me help you out with a few alien traits that make them stand out from the normals (i.e., those of us who can’t imagine paying $500 for a single item of clothing and grew up driving cars that made Herbie look cutting-edge).

Sign 1: Tagging.

I’m not talking graffiti here. The aliens adore monogramming – tagging their purses, clothes, towels, cat’s collars, you name it, with flowy scripted letters.

The normals are not so obsessed with monogramming. I mean, the kids of normals are lucky if they get their name marker-written on the tag of their jacket or lunch box. And even then, it’s usually not their first name, because it’s highly likely that item came down the line from an older sibling.

Sign 2: The greeting.  

The aliens can’t get enough of air kisses. I don’t know what it is about pretending to kiss someone’s cheek that they find so classy. It’s like “We’re such close friends, I’ll kiss you. But not close enough for me to actually touch you. Obviously.”

Normals offer a hug. Or a handshake. (Don’t knock handshakes. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a good, firm handshake.) But whatever they do, they actually do it. There’s no air-handshaking happening.

Sign 3: Polo.

There are horses, there are mallets, and there are people in fancy clothes. Apparently many aliens understand this and find it entertainment. Me, if I ride a horse, I want to actually go somewhere instead of up and down a field. I’m betting the horse does, too.

Aliens also share an affinity for lacrosse, rugby, rowing… essentially sports that most humans find strange or boring.

Sign 4: The help.

Aliens can be heard talking about such things as nannies, housekeepers, etc. You can hear them sighing about how hard it is to find quality child care that supports their 6-month-old budding genius’s educational goals and how applying to the best preschools is so demanding.

Normals are just excited they have a dishwasher. Like seriously. I don’t have to wash the dishes. Do you know how awesome that is?

Sign 5: Maintenance.

I’m not talking about their cars. I’m talking hair, nails, eyebrows, skin. They talk about getting their nails done the way normals talk about changing their oil: “I really need to make an appointment, it’s been ages.” They talk about strange maintenance procedures I’ve never heard of. And I really don’t want to ask.

I’ve got nail clippers. They work.

So there you have it. The five signs for identifying alien life. They’re not a bad species, these aliens, simply well-ensconced in their designer bubble worlds. Just don’t ever agree to go shopping with one, lest you see your rent/mortgage check flash before your eyes in the form of a purse. (And don’t use the term “purse.” They call them “handbags.” Why, I couldn’t tell you.)

Confession: I wore a $60 wedding dress. But don’t tell the aliens that.


I adore coffee.

Try to control your shock.

My husband thinks it’s gross. (Now you can be shocked.) He doesn’t even like the smell of it.

It’s funny to me, having grown up in a house of non-coffee-drinkers that I would be so delighted by it. The smell of the beans, the sound of it brewing. It makes me smile before I’ve even had a sip. What first drew me to the bold, potent concoction?

Maybe it reminds me of my grandparents, the first coffee-drinkers in my life.

Or maybe it was Calculus. (Didn’t see that coming, did ya?)

I tried my first fancy coffee drink when I was doing Precal homework my junior year in high school. Here’s a shocker: I never enjoyed math. Don’t get me wrong, there was something oddly comforting about algebra–follow these steps and everything will work out fine. But Precal and I were frenemies from day one. Oh, I pretended to be cordial. But the moment her back was turned, I was pleading with my friends to help me deal with her. Because that girl had issues. Dra.Ma.

But my real friends were there for me. Throughout Precal and Calculus (Precal’s snotty older sister), three of us met at a coffee shop to study for tests, and that was where I discovered fancy coffee drinks. A mocha was my gateway drug. And then came college when I got to experiment: white mocha, caramel macchiato, hazelnut latte. Oh the options! Coffeemakers were naturally forbidden in on-campus housing but that didn’t stop me or my roommate. Rebels, we were. (Plus, it had an auto-off function. We were cautious, responsible rebels.)

I never really had a type, though. No specific blend that was my regular. I liked variety.

But one day, I discovered Sumatra. A dark, rich, smooth roast. It’s everything I love about coffee in one incredible cup.

And appropriately, my discovery of my signature brew landed right around the same time I started to accept myself as a writer. It’s funny, isn’t it, how many things you realize about yourself when you take the time to listen.

I’m Sumatra. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally like a cup of hazelnut coffee or French roast. (And when I get in a Starbucks, who knows!) But at my core and in my home, I’ll always be Sumatra.

I’m purple chucks. That doesn’t mean I don’t wear (and adore) other shoes. But at my core, at my soul, I’m just a colorful pair of chucks trying to stand out from the crowd and dance my way through the world. Savoring my Sumatra as I go.