(*I’m not entirely sure what “being a real adult” entails, but I am pretty sure it’s not me.)
Let’s get this out of the way: while I may act (or even look) like a perpetual 24-year-old, I am 33. In fact, I am now closer to 34 than 33, so things like doing laundry, calling to set up appointments, taking care of sick friends, or finishing a Master’s degree and starting a tiny business should not turn me into a shivering ball of wide-eyed, snot-leaking, paralyzed fear. I lived alone for a long time, and sometimes I wonder how I ever survived on my own throughout most of my 20s. I killed all the bugs, went head-to-head with a rat larger than my dog, survived a neighbor almost burning down the entire complex, deflected the advances of many Mr. Wrongs, shrugged off a pretty scary break-in/burglary, and somehow managed to not burn the place down myself. In the past few years, I’ve had to change my life and my plans to take charge of a pretty excruciating situation, comfort my mom when her dog passed away, and give a eulogy for my dad. Sounds kind of like…an adult, right?
Wrong. Small things send me into convulsions of tears and leave me exhausted and afraid. I am notoriously underprepared, which I’m pretty sure is a difficult feat for someone so obsessed with lists and datebooks. I procrastinate on the important things (doing laundry, putting gas in the car, paying bills) and frequently need to be rescued. (It makes me feel loved. This may be odd. I’m not sure. I’ll save further discussion for another post.) Not being a real adult seems to get me into a lot of trouble. Staying up late to relive first-grade ghost stories by reading Can I Get There By Candlelight? is really not a valid excuse for being late for work. The trouble, though, is often outweighed by the fun, and the laughs, and the lessons.
The other day, I got a new mattress. Since my parents purchased my old mattress when I was a junior in high school, I figured it was time to finally replace the thing. I got it in place, covered it with a fitted sheet, and put the comforter back on the bed. Whenever I left the room, I took care to close the door so that little chihuahuas would not be tempted to pee on the brand-new bed. At one point, I guess I didn’t close my door all the way. I returned to the room to see a puddle of urine on my duvet cover (which was covering a 100% silk comforter) and a guilty-looking Ezra (Ezra is a crazy rescue chihuahua of indeterminate age.) Angry that I would have to do laundry again, I tried to gather up the edges to contain the pee puddle, so I could rinse it out in the tub before carrying it downstairs. I ended up making it to the hallway, where I noticed a fresh little chihuahua turd (Ezra again) in the middle of the floor. I danced around it, trying to avoid stepping on it (the sensation of stepping on a dog turd with bare feet is not my favorite) but ended up losing my balance and tripping into the bathroom, falling into the vanity. This graceful move achieved three things: I avoided the turd, but spilled the mug of coffee I had left on the vanity that morning (right on to the snow-white blanket) and effectively showered myself with the puddle of pee as I tried to jerk the blanket away from the dripping coffee. I wanted to cry, but I laughed. It was just a blanket. I could take a shower. The bathroom floor had seen worse spills than old coffee. At that moment, I told myself that I would probably always be a bit of a mess, always be a bit late, always be kind of eccentric…and never fully grow up. I also told myself that I would just start to embrace it…and that if anyone else doesn’t, well, I can just stick my tongue out at them.
P.S. against the blanket tag’s advice, I put it in the washing machine. It is just fine now.