2 posts tagged adulthood
And If By Some Terrible Error You Do, You Will Handle It With Poise And Without Sobbing Brokenly On Your Stripped Mattress About All Of Your Failures
Let’s get something clear: Wallets are not actually the most intuitive invention. On the surface, purchasing one that you can whip out when buying coffee for a possible networking connection without embarrassment (for about six months during my senior year of college I would attempt to laugh off the fact that mine was covered in cartoonish, hugging otters - “Ha ha, don’t you like my otters?” I do not recommend this.) is a glorious moment of what feels like True Adulthood. In reality, you are keeping in one easily misplaced vessel some combination of the following:
- Your license.
- Your debit card.
- Possibly, at least one credit card. Maybe multiple credit cards. Maybe, like, theoretically $10,000 worth of credit cards. I don’t know your life.
- Maybe some cash.
- Insurance and/or prescription cards.
- Miscellaneous other: movie ticket stubs, MetroCard, Starbucks gift card, Barnes and Noble membership card, the number of that smokin’ hot barista at the Starbucks where you just used your gift card, whatever.
So what happens when you, as I did, leave your goddamn wallet on a goddamn fucking bus at noon a week before you’re supposed to get on a plane, and don’t notice until 10:30 at night?
Contrary to what we’re told as wee children and as pubescent teenagers, there is not a revelatory moment of adulthood where you screech “AHA!” triumphantly, startle everyone around you, and are suddenly imparted all the knowledge of the Adult Universe. Knowledge like how to balance a checkbook, or cook a piece of salmon without dying of food poisoning, or acquire a chic wardrobe without plummeting into debt and despair, or how to pack boxes to move, or admit your attraction to another person without choosing the most unimaginably awful scenario possible, such as the end of a six-hour drive from one end of California to another where it’s only the two of you in the car, and your iPod betrays you and starts playing a wistful love song the second you open your mouth and you have to immediately turn down the music, adding a level of Seriousness to the situation that does not ameliorate it in the slightest (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything).
No, these are skills hard-won through the Internet or experience or mortifying responses of “Uhhh… Do we take a left or a right at the exit ramp?”, but if someone had told me that at age sixteen I would have given up on the concept of adulthood. I would have Peter Pan-ed so hard they would have had to rewrite the Disney movie to include me, because if someone had sat me down in my junior year of high school and been like “Look, I know you think now that tongue-kissing your lapsed-Catholic boyfriend in the back seat of the late bus after Animal Rights Club and being mocked by incredulous and delighted middle schoolers is the most embarrassing thing you’ll ever do, but one day you’ll be 22 and sitting on your mattress in New Jersey, sobbing over all of your failures because you lost your wallet,” I would a) have absolutely believed you and b) refused.
For some reason this myth of the Graceful Adult — someone in their twenties or thirties who knows how to do everything and handle every crisis and can produce a four-course meal with an hour’s notice and wouldn’t be caught dead accidentally kicking Eddie Redmayne in the face on a sidewalk in London while he innocently attempted to tie his shoe — has infected all of our minds so forcefully that learning there is no such goddamn thing is kind of a massive shock. Like, Thor-bringing-down-lightning-on-you sort of shock. It’s pretty similar to the shock you’d get if suddenly all the knowledge of the Adult Universe was imparted to you, actually. Instead of an “AHA! I now know everything about adulthood and will go make this chicken caprese FROM SCRATCH and then FIND A PAIR OF HEELS THAT DON’T MAKE MY FEET HURT BUT ARE STILL ELEGANT!” you will have an “AHA! Every adult I’ve ever met has been lying to me all along! NO ONE KNOWS FUCK-ALL WHAT THEY ARE DOING!”
Don’t get me wrong: this is liberating, in the same way that I imagine learning you were right about your secret belief in vampires would be liberating. Now you know! And you were right! But also, death seems so much more likely!
But here’s the thing: when something shitty and inevitable happens, like losing your wallet, the Graceful Adult who exists in your head knows exactly what to do — and won’t tell you. They whip their immaculate hair and glare coolly at you from the back of your brain as you stick your hand in all of your shoes to see if it fell in them, or rip all of the boxed goods off of your pantry shelves because maybe you accidentally put it away with the pasta, or dig through the trash because maybe you threw it out with the shopping bags, or rip the fitted sheet off of your mattress because maybe it somehow wound up under there (??), all before you tearfully call your bank and ask them to put a hold on your card.
THIS IS BECAUSE GRACEFUL ADULTS DON’T KNOW SHIT. REAL ADULTS, IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, WILL CRY ON THEIR STRIPPED MATTRESS WITH THEIR FITTED SHEET BALLED IN THEIR HANDS, SELF-PITYINGLY SNUFFLING ABOUT EVERY MISTAKE THEY HAVE MADE SINCE AGE TWELVE.
Remember this, the next time you lose your wallet: It’s okay to cry on your mattress over it. And remember, even the most flawless people have probably whipped themselves into a rage-crying frenzy over a lost wallet. Thorin Oakenshield aka Richard Armitage, for instance. Meryl Streep. Jamie Foxx. Probably Elizabeth I once misplaced her coin purse and had a shit fit. It happens.
Graceful adults don’t exist. Only real ones do. And real adults will nod empathetically when you describe the time you lost your wallet on a bus and then ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s with your roommate.