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Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse


April 3rd, 2017

Monday Again... @ 11:34 am


 A lot happened since I last posted, however.  Mason and I went down to Mankato, Minnesota, on Thursday night. We had a fun time traveling together as we always do.  We ended up stopping early for "road food" in Burnsville.  Shawn laughed pretty hard when I called from the "Old Country Buffet," given that we hadn't even managed to break the exo-suburbs before pulling over.  To be fair, Mason had had one slice of pizza for lunch (one of those school fundraising things) and I was just generally starving, too.  Of course, the food there was.... meh. I always make the mistake of thinking the taco bar should be okay. (It's not.)

We only got turned around a couple of times once we reached Mankato.  The in-city map was printed very small and there was the classic confusion of is Stadium Road the same as Highway 58 (or whatever)???  Turns out it was, but we at least figure that out BEFORE we drove too far out of town.  Yes, there is great irony in the fact that we got LOST ON THE WAY TO THE GEOGRAPHY BEE.

We spent out hotel time doing geography quizzes based on Trivial Pursuit cards, which was our fun way of studying.  Mason did bring along some atlases and such, but it was much more fun to read the questions and think... is the answer going to be the USSR? Or some other country that no longer exists because this deck was printed in the early 1990s???!  We laughed a lot, which, IMHO, is the very best way to study.

On the day of, we got up early (too early in my case. I woke up precisely when the cats normally would rouse me: 5:45 am.)  We were too nervous to do much constructive, so we at at the hotel (passably okay) and then thew everything into the car, checked out, and headed to the bee, which was being held in the Student Union of Mankato State University, about four or five blocks away.

Here's another attempt at a picture:

Mason at bee 2017

This is a picture of a smiling (smirking?) Mason holding up the classic yellow National Geographic magazine's frame around his face.  He's wearing a blue plaid shirt and you can see his official geography be name tag over the right pocket of his shirt.  The wall behind him is marble-esque and has some letters carved into it, which make up some part of Mankato State University, I suspect.  

After some brief discussion, it was decided that I sit out the preliminary round. Two of his teachers were there--Ms. Lesser and Ms. Croone.  Ms. Croone was there as one of the judges, but Ms. Lesser went in with Mason to root for him.  I would have done the same, but we decided that me being there might make Mason more nervous. If you can't tell, one of the big themes of this trip for us was that we really, really wanted this to be as FUN as possible. No stressing about how far we made it in the competition, etc.  Just to accept that it's really pretty damn awesome that we made it this far--because it is/was.  Mason had to beat out not only his whole class, but also the other two grades that were eligible (there were some 6th graders in the competition: Mason is in eighth.) Out of the 500 people who got that far, only the top 100 scorers on the written test advanced to state.  

Out of those 100? ONLY 10 advanced to the final round.

Mason wasn't one of those. But both he and his teacher thought that he did very well in the preliminary round, but he was eliminated. You have to get a near perfect score (only one wrong is allowed, two wrong and you're OUT) to advance.  

We stayed to watch the final elimination round and it was INTENSE.  There were a couple interesting things that happened.  At one point, in the second round of questions, you could hear someone in the audience give the right answer. What I found fascinating is that, though there was an admonishment from the National Geographic judges to the audience, that question was allowed to stand (no re-take) and the person who answered that question went on to be the final-place winner.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the judges decided to let it stand.  I'm really surprised that they didn't give that particular competitor a different question. But, whatever.

it's also interesting to me that the winner was actually the previous year's winner... and home-schooled.  I've been trying to decide if I feel like homeschooling is an unfair advantage here, or not.

Also, 90% of the competitors were white and male.

As Mason wondered out loud, "Why? What about geography has a gender bias?" Outside of institutionalized sexism and racism, I have no idea. Two of the ten finalists were obvious PoCs, but they were all male.

Other than that depressing observation, we had fun.  I don't know if there is a high school version, so Mason may not have a chance to do this again, but we ARE planning to watch the National bee when it's aired.  Despite the weird start, we ended up liking the state champion.  Mason called him, "The Han Solo of Geography Bees" because it was very clear that he was making a lot of educated guesses that were turning out correct (you could tell by his occasional SHOCKED expression.)  That made him very likable, so we will root for him in the Nationals.

The drive home was fun. Mason LOVES road trips, so we had our usual enjoyment of watching small towns roll by, commenting on especially creepy rural cemeteries, etc.  We managed to leave behind Mason's school iPad's cord, but that was the only even vaguely dark cloud on the whole trip. (Cue a lot of calling the hotel, not getting answers, and then finally what I think of as a brush off, which was, "Nope we never found it." The next whole rigamarole will be getting a new one either from school, or apparently the Apple store, but that's a whole other headache. Though, it should be noted, ultimately VERY solvable.)

Saturday was Shawn's birthday. She has now successfully leveled up to level 50. When I went out to fetch the birthday cake and coffee on Saturday morning a lot of the people I interacted with asked, "So BIG plans?"  I had to say, "Listen, Shawn is an introvert. It's big enough we're going out to dinner." And, it was true, after the excitement of cake and presents we spent much of her birthday doing a lot of napping and jigsaw puzzling on the porch.  It was so lovely out that I did a little garden prep, but that was about the pinnacle of excitement for us.  :-)  Dinner was at the Indian place in Maplewood, per usual. Shawn and I both really love that place.  Turns out, Mason loves it now, too, so that's extra wonderful.
 

 



 

March 30th, 2017

Sitting in the Coffee Shop.... @ 07:52 am


 ...waiting to head back up the hill to pick up Shawn to take her to physical therapy.  For those of you who have been following along with all of Shawn's back problems, I'm happy to report that she's doing better (?)  The screaming pain, at least, is being managed. Shawn tells me that parts of her leg are still numb, however, which seems pretty BAD, if you ask me. She considers this progress, so I have to take her word for it.  I guess the PT guy told her that what they were aiming for was for the pain to mostly return to her lower back, and Shawn says they've got it there.  

I still yell at her any time she tries to pick things up.  

She's also still forbidden to do laundry, but Mason has been very happy to take over that duty.  So, it's working out just fine. (Well, Shawn will tell you that no one is doing things WHEN and HOW she would, but we would counter that things *are* GETTING DONE so that ought to count for something!)

Meanwhile, Mason and are getting pumped to head off to Mankato tonight.  We've booked a hotel so that we can be there bright and early for his big state National Geographic geography bee competition tomorrow.  We were looking through all of the material again last night and I realized that there are only 5 students from the Minneapolis/St. Paul school system going.  Actually, there is at least one person who qualified who is listed as homeschooled. I can't remember if they were one of the Twin Citians or not, though.

OF COURSE one of the other Saint Paul schools that qualified a student was Capitol Hill, Mason's deep, deep rival school (thanks to Math Club.)

it should be a fun time, no matter what happens.  I'm only sad that Shawn is going to have to stay home.  Because, wouldn't you know it, Mark's memorial service is tomorrow.  One of us really needs to go to that. Shawn decided that it would be her because she really wasn't sure how her back was going to do with the trip to Mankato, anyway. It's not THAT far away, but Shawn has been really working to not sit too much--she even got a standing desk at her PT's advice.  And being stuck in a car is different than sitting for a half hour at a funeral home chapel.  

I'm a little bummed to be missing the service, actually. Many of Mark's friends are flamingly fabulous and it might be quite the thing to see how Margaret deals with all of that gay on display.  Plus, I'd like to be there to support Joe, Mark's partner.  But, it's not like we could send Mason to the bee on his own.... 

So that's that, I guess.

Fingers crossed we have fun news tomorrow!
 

March 29th, 2017

Teaching and Late Nights @ 07:09 pm


 Who on earth thought it was a good idea to teach a class AT BEDTIME??!!

For those of you who don't know this about me, I've been a lifelong 'lark.' A morning lark is the opposite of a night owl.  Even when I was a teenager, I used to regularly get up an hour or so before my parents and make coffee, go for walks, and generally enjoy the solitude of the early hours. To be perfectly honest, in high school, I often used the extra hour or hours to do All the Make-Up and my hair. (Hard to even imagine now, isn't it?)  

These days I wake up a little earlier than I'd like. Mason's school starts at 7:10 am (first bell) and so our house is up starting anywhere between 5 and 5:30 am.  That's a bit early for me, and a lot of days I push it by pulling myself up long enough to brush teeth and get dressed and then I collapse back into bed until 6:00 am, which is much closer to my natural wake-up time.

I also typically really prefer to get 8 hours of sleep. So, staying up past 10 pm gets rough.

My Loft class **STARTS** at 7:30 am and goes until 9:30 pm. Yesterday was my first class and it went well--aided by a bit of caffeine from the coffee shop at Open Book.  I have an even dozen students, who all seem very smart and engaged. I think we're well-primed to have a good class in terms of discussion, etc.  For those of you who have taken classes from me (or, frankly, have seen me on panels at local conventions,) know that I put a LOT of energy into my teaching.  I'm also an extrovert, which means I leave class with INCREASED ENERGY.  Coming home and bouncing around until 10:30 pm = NOT GOOD COME 5 AM.

SUPER. NOT. GOOD.

I was Madame Cranky-Pants in my typical low point (--my biorhythm is such that even on good days I'm lackluster from about 2 pm - 4 pm.) I may or may not have shouted at my family, "I'm not passive-aggressive, I'm just aggressive! No, I'M JUST ANGRY." But, luckily, at this point Mason and I were lugging this ridiculously heavy kitty litter box out to the car and alternately yelling and laughing. Even so, I had been seriously bitchy previously.  

I'm NOT made for late nights.

And, yes, yes, you night owls are all laughing your heads off about how "early" this all is.  Just try to imagine having to teach a class at 6 am and you might understand.
 

March 28th, 2017

What Does Democracy Look Like? @ 04:51 pm


...An overcrowded, stuffy room in the State Capitol building, apparently, at least for me, today.

Sometime ago I got invited to the "traditional constituents luncheon" for district 64. It sounded like a very relaxed sort of affair, boxed lunches for $11 from Cecil's deli, and "conversation" with my Minnesota Legislators: Dick Cohen (Senate), Erin Murphy (House 64A, my district), and Dave Pinto (House 64B).  Senator Cohen looked out over the standing room only crowd with more than a little trepidation and apologized profusely, "We don't have enough seats. Honestly, we normally expect about ten people."

Well, they got at LEAST 50, possibly more. I'd guess close to 80.

These are Democrats, representing staunchly Democratic districts in Saint Paul.

Let me tell you something, these people were all woke.  When they spoke, they mentioned specific bills, by number! (I was really pleased that I'd been following WatchYourReps MN enough to at least know which ones were being talked about by reputation, if not actual number.) And more than that, most of the people in the room leaned HARD Left. The biggest applause (nay, it was more of a spontaneous CHEER,) happened when Representative Erin Murphy suggested they push for Medicare For All for Minnesota.

Meanwhile, poor Senator Cohen was having a little trouble reading the room. After her big cheer, he cautioned that he'd be behind that, but it'd have to be economically sustainable, (which I actually agree with, but DUDE. CLEARLY, the 80-some people here want to hear you leading, radically, up in the front of the pack!)  But, I ended up liking Cohen. He reminded me of our governor, honestly. Kind of a slow build to any kind of fire, a bit plodding, but secretly very, very liberal.  Also, he's a career politician, with simple ambitions. It was a little hard to trust Rep. Murphy because she's running for governor.  So, she has been reading the room and knows EXACTLY what we want to hear. My sense was that she was at least somewhat sincere, but I watched her playing that room--calling certain people by name, waving to others as they came and went.... so, you know, grain of salt there.

The room was also damn near lily white. Only two easily discernible PoCs in the crowd that I noticed, which given the population of my district is... wrong.  On the other hand, this "luncheon" was clearly meant to be something for retirees and self-employeed people like me who can make time to be at the Capitol at 11:30 am on a Tuesday.  Especially since it officially went until 1:30 pm.  Also this was NOT MEANT as a town hall type meeting (though it kind of turned into one) and Senator Cohen kept stressing that normally this is very informal, but because so many people were there they basically were forced to make it a rapid-fire Q&A session rather than a conversation.  Apparently, there is a town hall scheduled for my district, so I'll have to look into attending that, too, and see if it's a different population or if this is basically my SUM (Stand-Up Minnesota, our Indivisible breakout) District group. (The invite to this luncheon got shared on my SUM group e-mail, which I'm not sure was 100% kosher, since I *think* this was an invite only event. They asked for RSVPs.)

Things I learned as far as activism goes:
     1) Go ahead and call and write the governor's office if something passes that's egregious. He's not likely to veto EVERYTHING, but he'll probably veto MORE if he knows we have his back.  This was good to know. I've been hesitant to bombard his office like I have been the legislators'.
     2) You can contact representatives out of your district on bills/issues, but they really stressed that should only be done if you have a strong, specific story that relates.  Better to get friends and relatives who ARE in that district to bug their legislators.
     3) Corporate interest show up at these things. I was really, really surprised to hear someone in the audience identify as a business owner (NOT RESIDENT) in the district, and they pointed out several other people in the room who were the same.  I'm really, really glad residents--actual constituents--outnumbered these people or this would have been a very different meeting, at least with a very different tilt, I suspect.  As it was our legislators all heard that what we wanted was strong defense, strong leadership, and for everyone to go as hard left as they possibly could.

So, that's about it. It was a fairly interesting time, I'd say, honestly.

Now I'm getting ready for my Loft class (12 students!) which STARTS at bedtime.  OMG, I don't know how I'm going to do this whole starting teaching at 7:30 pm gig.  WISH ME LUCK.
 

March 26th, 2017

Sunday Morning Blues @ 09:48 am

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 A cinnamon pull-apart loaf is rising in the kitchen. I hope it turns out.  It's a new recipe and so I have no idea if I did all the steps right, you know?

I managed to write and submit a 300-word short story to the Queer SF Flash Fiction Contest.  300 words is a serious challenge, especially given the amount of stuff the contest expects you to try to pack in, but it was a good exercise for me. These last few days I haven't much felt like writing anything, not even fan fiction, which is VERY unusual for me. I blame Trump, I really do.  I find myself so very anxious about the news and when I'm anxious the last thing I want to do is sit still and write. Instead, I tend to want to do something physical.  I had had a really good method of dealing with stress in the past. There used to be a web site called Project 1491 that sent out daily progressive activities. I found that if I made the calls they asked of me first thing in the morning, I could feel like I'd done my part for the revolution and I could go on with my day.  They disbanded.  And I've been hunting around for other similar organizations, but I've not found anything that works quite as well for me.

I signed up for Daily Grab Back, which offers daily actions, but I find some of them kind of... I don't know, but today, for instance, they want me to donate my gently used shoes to some organization or other. That's a great idea, if I had a lot of extra shoes lying around.  But, that's not who we are. If we buy shoes, it's because the soles have fallen off the last pair, and I have LITERALLY worn shoes that other people left behind. Plus, this doesn't feel like direction action to me.

I also signed up for Do a Thing. Do a Thing is very much set up for the revolutionary who wants and needs simple, yet-sometimes abstract things to accomplish.  Do a Thing is for the activist who is in survival mode, who really needs to be able to participate, but who also has to do a lot of self-care. I signed up for this one knowing it wasn't going to fulfill the same shoes as Project 1491, but as a counter-balances for those days when I can't even. Like one of the things Do a Thing suggested was "Feel Feelings." This is good advice, but not exactly frontline revolution, you know? They do also offer concrete things, however, like donating to Meals-on-Wheels and or signing up to volunteer.

I just found this one: The Loyal Opposition, which looks to be more what I was hoping for--something with a daily phone call to make. Because part of my problem is feeling overwhelmed by all the things that are ON FIRE in this administration and not knowing where to pour water first.

I still, of course, get information from MoveOn.org and Daily Kos.  I like MoveOn.org because they have a local group that does #ResistTuesdays where they gather at the local offices of our senators to protest and to talk directly to the senior staff there. For the last few months I haven't been able to go, however, because I've had to work on Tuesday mornings. I should be able to get back to it starting in April.

All that went on hold, too, during this last week, dealing with Mark. In his honor I feel like baking a lot and bringing stuff over to Joe. :-(
 

March 23rd, 2017

Papers, Please @ 11:24 am


 I'm sorry to have been MIA, but this has been an insane week.

Last Friday (on Saint Patrick's day) our old, beloved car Steve finally gave up the ghost.  Through a series of fortunate events, we already have a new car: Patrick Bryce.

Yesterday, my (step) brother-in-law, Mark died.

Mark was Margaret's son, Margaret married Shawn's dad some time in the late 1980s. Our families never mingled terribly well. Shawn like to explain that instead of becoming a melded family, we were more like 'adjacent.' For a long time, we really didn't even cross paths with Mark or his sister Karen, not even at Pat & Margaret's place, where it would seem likely.  But, Mark lived here in the Twin Cities, and one Pride Festival (probably in the mid-1990s), I ran into him at the "Tubby Lovers" booth. Neither Shawn nor I had ever realized Mark was gay.  He's just not the sort that automatically trips a person's gaydar, and he was always pretty closeted around his mom.  It was one of those things, though, where had we thought about it realistically for five minutes we would have realized that OF COURSE Joe was not just Mark's roommate.  

Mark always had a lot of health issues, and in these last few years his kidneys had mostly failed and so he was doing dialysis. Sometime after Thanksgiving, Mark fell in the parking lot of his dialysis place.  The hospital determined that he had sepsis--which is the catch-all phrase for a body-wide infection. Likely culprit was the dialysis port.  My father had sepsis (as did Mason, actually,) and it is ALWAYS life-threatening.  Mark seemed to be doing fairly well, recovering, however.  Joe had been keeping people posted on Facebook and the news was mostly of the "I can't believe we're still doing this, but Mark is okay" variety.  This was very familiar to me, because my dad's recovery was just as long and frustrating and the longer you stay in the hospital or hospital-type settings, the more vulnerable you are to other infectious diseases. But, as I said, Mark seemed to be in the kind of holding pattern you're in when you're dealing with this kind of major illness.

Until last Sunday night. 

He ended up back in the hospital.  Joe had just left for home when he got the call to come back. Long story short (and it is a long story), we lost him yesterday.

Joe and Mark never married. They've been together for 22 years, but for reasons, the biggest one being Mark's health insurance, they never tied the knot.  I wish they had. Partner is not a word that carries much weight (even though it should). But legally, you might as well be roommates. Things worked out for Joe, but I just want to put this out there for my unmarried friends--queer or straight--GET YOUR DAMN PAPERS. Do NOT depend on he kindness of relatives to include you, because, legally, they don't have to. You might be saying, but they've always loved me. Yeah, I'm sure they do, but will that be your consolation when the death certificate you're going need to close out bank accounts and credit cards goes to someone else? It's not that hard or expensive to have a health care directive. Wills are a good idea, but they are more of a commitment. But, there's no excuse for all y'all not to be sure you have a health care directive ready to roll.

/public service announcement

So, the car. It's lovely. It's a Ford 500, metallic green, with (by chance, since it's a used car) heated leather seats. This car is, in point of fact, the most TRICKED OUT car we've ever owned. Apparently, the first person who bought it originally did NOT see an optional feature that they did not want.  So, now that it's been passed to us, we feel like we're driving around in some kind of luxury sedan.

The story of how we ended up with it is kind of funny, but not one I'm entirely up for recounting today. Suffice to say that probably the LUCKIEST part of this unlucky day was the moment when Shawn's brother Greg called up Shawn and said, "I just got your email about that car you're thinking about. I'm sitting in my car, taking a break between work sites, and I can see the dealership from where I'm sitting. You want me to go check it out for you?" This is why our car now has a second name of Bryce.  (Greg's middle name.) The car was also DIRT cheap.  Our budget for new (used) cars is under $5,000.  Also the whole thing was kind of a whirlwind. Car was pronounced DOA at 7:30 am and I drove our new (used) car off the lot at around 2:30 pm.

Other news. My Loft class is viable, so I'll be starting teaching next Tuesday night for about eight-weeks (I think.)

And... Gizmodo linked to an article I wrote for Bitter Empire.
 

March 13th, 2017

Monday the 13th @ 08:59 am


I would like to petition the universe to change this whole superstition around FRIDAY the 13th and shift it to MONDAY the 13th.  I just looked up "Friday the 13th" on Wikipedia and the connection between Friday and the number 13 seems wholly unsatisfactory.  Apparently, there are some bits of folklore associated with Friday that are unlucky, but they seem mostly related to Christianity and the idea that Jesus died on a Friday. The vast majority of people in the world are non-Christian, so let's dump that whole thing, shall we?  Meanwhile, in the UK, more people commit suicide on a Monday than any other day of the week. And, frankly, we all KNOW Monday starts the workweek in most places around the world, and therefore is just plain YUCKY.  I think we should all agree that Monday the 13th is way, way worse than Friday the 13th, ESPECIALLY WHEN A FULL MOON FALLS ON SAID MOON-DAY.

That is my general complaint about today.

My specific complaints are as follows:

The hardest thing about the last couple of days for me has not been the time shift (ALTHOUGH THAT DEFINITELY SUCKS,) but the fact that I haven't felt like writing _anything_.  It's been true for a while that getting motivated to write original work has been daunting, but lately the well has been completely dry. I'm not even excited to write fan fic, which is *very* weird.

I'm hoping that what this is, is my brain gearing up for something. I've been finding myself thumbing through my old astrology books, because I've been toying with the idea of trying my hand at an astrological murder mystery.  I'm not sure I'm a mystery writer, but the idea of doing something creative with my half-a$$ astrology knowledge appeals to me.  Of course, I say this like I'll actually do something with this idea, and I probably won't.  

Eh, ignore my bad attitude. I seem to have caught it from Mason who woke up in a bad mood(or I have my own hormones to blame, because while I am nearly 50, I am still getting my periods... yay.) 

Meanwhile, Shawn's back is still not making much improvement--or so she feels, at any rate. This is another one of those moments where I'm sure she *is* making some, small improvements, but it's super-difficult for Shawn to sense them. The problem is that she's still in a LOT of pain, and, I remember from my own nerve pain, it's really, really hard to see past that.  What she's not remembering is that the weekend before this last one literally all she could do was lie in bed. She spent a huge amount of time upright this weekend, functioning, AND doing her physical therapy exercises.  

So, yes, I would please like to chalk today up as the bad luck of Monday 13th.  Who's with me?
 

March 11th, 2017

You Know You Might Be Writing Your Local Legislators Too Often When... @ 07:44 am

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 ...you get an invite for a meet-and-greet at the State Capitol from the office of your district's Senator.  

It's not a fundraiser, either. Believe me, that was the first thing I figured and I thought, "Good luck! I can NOT afford 'luncheon' prices!" I've seen those things come through my in-box before and they're out of my league in _so_ many ways.  

But, this is not that. It's a RSVP/invite-only event, from what I can tell, BUT you can brown bag it if you want or they will provide a box lunch from Cecil's for $11.00.  Eleven bucks?  I can afford that! So I hit the RSVP button and emailed the staffer my lunch preference.  Because why not? The ironic thing is that I'm NOT all that up on what's going on locally. I mostly just follow what Watch Your Reps MN  tells me to do. But that DOES mean I've been e-mail a LOT.  

With the local representatives, I haven't been calling that often, honestly. I called about the transphobic bathroom bullshit bill and I broke down in tears on an answering machine that seemed to be shared by several Minnesota Senators. Most of the bills I've been e-mailing them about aren't as personally important to me, so I've decided it's okay not to call unless it feels (like the bathroom bill did) urgent and personal.

Anyway, that's near the end of the month on a Tuesday, in the middle of the day (11:30 am - 1:00 pm). I'm guessing it will be one of those things where you mostly sit and listen to boring speeches and shake a few hands, but I love Cecil's Deli, so why not?


 

March 8th, 2017

Day Without a Woman @ 06:15 am

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 I'm wearing red today, but, like a lot of woman in my economic situation, I *have* to go to work today.

What are you talking about, Lyda? You're a writer, you don't have a job.  Actually, I have a couple, but the one I can't skip today is my job as a library page. It's not an IMPORTANT job or a critical one like being a police officer or a firefighter.  I don't get scheduled often, and, had I been thinking ahead, I could have remembered that today was a day I was supposed to try to stay home.  I didn't think of it, because I tend to say yes to whatever hours fit my schedule because we need my extra income.

I don't get sick time. I don't get vacation. I don't have to work often, but the fact is: if I don't go into work today, I don't get paid.

Shawn is going to work, too. Ironically, if she had not had her back go out, she might have been able to stay home.  But, she's up to the line: any more days off and she has to go on unpaid leave.  We definitely can't go without her income.

I like the idea of this.  It would be very powerful, indeed, if every single woman could just not show up.  I feel like, if we could really do it, certain entire economies would collapse.  I heard on the radio that there are several school districts that had to close because so many teachers were asking for the day off.  (I hope that's true.)

I stand in solidarity, however. I'm wearing red. Hopefully, people will notice all the women around them wearing red, if nothing else.


 

March 6th, 2017

Adulting @ 09:12 am


Today, I woke up thinking about "adulting."

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with a friend of mine.  We met at Eli's East, which I had never been to before.  As usual, I had a great time chatting with this particular friend, who is someone I've recently gotten to know after last year's Gaylaxicon.  At one point during our conversation he said that even after marriage and divorce, the thing that made him feel like a real adult was caring for houseplants.

At the time, I mostly let this comment go by, unremarked, because I was far more fascinated to know that he'd been married and divorced already. (He's younger than I am by a decade... or possibly two.)

This morning, a half a week later, I woke up thinking about this idea: what are the sorts of actions, events, etc., that make people feel like an adult?  What constitutes "adulting" for most people?

I was thinking about this because I remember the first time I felt really independent, adult.  It was the first time I took my own laundry down to the basement laundry room of my college freshman dorm building. I was seventeen. It was, in point of fact, the first time I'd ever done my own laundry.  Despite a lot of other independent acts in high school, for some reason, doing this job that my mother traditionally ALWAYS did for me, felt like the true moment of independence.  There were things about it that also felt very... Big City. I had to have quarters, figure out the machines on my own (and all the sorting rules!), and some weirdo tried to convert me to Lutheranism--he was very affronted that I had not accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

But, then again, my generation has, I think, less issue with "adulting" as a thing.  We grew up in that mythical era when parents flung open doors to the very young and said, "Come back by dinner time," and we really did roam far from home without any supervision whatsoever.  I regularly had to solve problems like, "Holy heck, how do I get my shoe out of this muck I have wandered into in the local marshlands" without being able to use my nonexistent cellphone to call for help and being miles (often literally) from home.

And I wonder if it's some of this early practicing with independence that made the transition into "adulting" a little less... noticeable?  Or, maybe more accurately, MORE noticeable on a smaller scale.  I mean, for my friend it was the small thing that made him feel grown, too.  But, it came much later for him than for me.  MUCH.

I guess my question is, how about you? No matter how old you are, do you have a singular event where you said to yourself, "Wow, this is IT.  THIS is the moment I am independent. THIS is the transition into adulthood!"?? No shame if it's something "traditional," like, "The day I signed the lease to my first apartment" or "got married" or "got my driver's license." Similar, no judgments, if it's something really odd, like, "The day I bought my first pair of underwear" or something I can't even fathom.

I'm also curious if you find yourself in your late thirties (or forties or fifties or whatever) and you're still not feeling like "adulting" is a thing you do regularly.
 

Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse