In Which Being a Grown-Up is the Worst
When I was a kid I thought grown-ups were so boring.
Either that or they were just pretending. Surely they were just speaking in some kind of unfathomable grown-up code. Nobody could actually be interested in the mundane topics they always seemed to be bringing up voluntarily, could they?
Wow Bob, looks like rain.
Sure do need it, Susan.
You know that’s right, Bob.
And how about that construction over on the loop?
Well it really wasn’t that causing the congestion this morning, Bob; it was that fender bender over there on Magnolia Street!
Was that James’s boy?
Sure was, Susan. Such a nice kid — just a shame.
Oh you know those insurance rates are just going to skyrocket!
Blah. Blah. BLAH.
I used to stand in a kind of stupor in the grocery store while my mom got roped into one of these types of conversations and try to slink away to find something more interesting to do. You know, like stare blankly into a freezer or read ingredient labels or pretend the floor was lava and step from tile to tile until even that got boring, and I began to wish that the floor would open up and swallow me into its magma-filled abyss, since that at least would be more interesting than the conversation that my mother and I were being forced to endure while shopping for sustenance for our home. Maybe this is why people farmed for so long–not because they couldn’t figure out how to industrialize, specialize, then package and ship goods to stores for retail, but because they’d rather get up at the butt crack of dawn and milk their own cows on a daily basis instead of getting trapped, shivering, in the milk aisle by some guy they vaguely know from a church they used to go to, so they can talk about the weather for so long that rain becomes just a vague recollection.
So this is why I am ashamed to make this confession: Here I am at the tender age of not-yet-twenty-five, and I have begun the wretched transformation into one of these capable, intelligent human beings who suddenly, for no apparent reason, morphs into an unbearably boring zombie caricature of my vibrant self.
Yes. I am becoming a Grown-Up.
(Or a Grup, as my sisters and like to call them, based off this one Star Trek episode we really liked.)
Here are some things that I found not even remotely interesting circa 1998:
– Seasonal allergies
– Turning off the lights when you leave the room
– Pet dander
– Waiting until the dishwasher was full to run it
– How fast grass grows
– Zoning laws
– The cost of a gallon of milk
– When we might be getting some rain again, Bob
– Gas mileage (Although it is fair here to note that I did not have a driver’s license until 2006.)
As of 2014 I have some level of interest in every single item on that heinously mundane list. This is not okay with me.
But you know why all of the things on the list are suddenly interesting? It seems that my parents were sheltering me throughout my childhood from a very unfortunate reality about adulthood: it costs money. Lots of it.
Turns out the magic of childhood is not in the way that clothes appeared in my closet or sheets appeared on my bed or food appeared on the table, but the fact that I did not have to put them there, work for the funds that made them available, pay taxes to make them legal, or, most magically of all, ever wonder about any of the economic process whatsoever. And everything on that list in some way leads to something that ends up costing money.
I’m learning it’s not all doom and gloom, however. If you have a nice Manfriend, the two of you can have an extended conversation about which gender roles you will choose to adhere to in your marriage and decide how to assign tasks accordingly. I like to think of it as Domestic Utilitarianism.
For example, I don’t really like to cook, but Manfriend is really good at making Fancy Chef Ramsey Food, so he cooks, and I follow him around with a sponge and a bottle of 409 and do all the dishes, and at the end of the night we’re both fed, and I didn’t have to cook, and he didn’t have to clean, so we’re both happy. He cooks; I bake; clearly we’re both going to end up fat even though I don’t fulfill the traditionally female role of meal preparation. Just gotta play to our strengths. (And I’d say we’re both very gifted eaters. Why yes, I would like another scoop of spaghetti. Thanks.)
I invite you now to take special note of the “how fast grass grows” item on my list. This one is important, because it has implications beyond just the length of a lawn. It encompasses watering, mowing, edging, and fertilizing that lawn. It involves monitoring that lawn for pests and disposing of those pests accordingly. It involves understanding what type of soil you have. It involves maintenance. It is a gigantic pain in the butt. Guess which item on the list Manfriend volunteered for in order to properly maintain our level of Domestic Utilitarianism?
I am basically content to let the grass die. But my dad and stepmom came to visit over the summer and bought us some trees as a housewarming gift. Then my dad and Manfriend spent the rest of the weekend hauling bricks and deciding where to plant them and digging holes and basically doing a lot of things I dislike (moving heavy things outdoors in the heat in the dirt surrounded by bugs) while I got to stay inside. So I feel like I owe it to them to be a good steward of their gift by taking care of the trees.
Apparently this means watering the poor little dears every morning and every freaking night. Like what the heck. These greedy bastards are so scraggly and unimpressive and yet so DEMANDING. Even Betty is doing her part by providing ample fertilizer. Still this does not change the fact that I did not sign on for any freaking yard work but I’m out there twice a day–before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down–like some kind of non-mustached Lorax, trying to drown these damn agua-holic trees.
It is the worst. Just GROW UP ALREADY AND PROVIDE ME SOME SHADE.
Also when you are outside watering your helpless baby trees, you discover other unpleasant, nature-related things. Like fire ants. WHERE DO THEY KEEP COMING FROM. I think they’re growing inside the grass. Like at night the grass all gets together and has a secret meeting while I’m asleep about how it’s being neglected in Manfriend’s absence, and to teach me a lesson, it’s going to sprout ant beds every week in random places across the lawn.
“Oh? Not going to water us again, are you? Well, we’ll just see about that…” FIRE ANTS, GRASSHOPPERS, HORRIFYING-LOOKING LIZARDS. Bam, bam, bam. “Enjoy watering your lawn. …Bitch.”
Don’t tell me I’m being dramatic. My lawn is out to get me because it’s jealous that it doesn’t get watered every day like the lawn next door, which is owned by some zealous over-waterers who really need to calm down, since they’re making all the other lawns in the neighborhood jealous. It’s like bringing your kid Panera or Chick-fil-A for lunch every day when you know all his classmates are just getting soggy PB&J’s in hand-me-down lunchboxes. That’s just wrong.
And anyway, who really cares how green your lawn is, crazy neighbors? Are you competing in the Hey Everybody, Look How Green My Lawn Is Today competition that Fort Hood isn’t holding? Such a waste of time. Such a waste of money.
There are other wretched Grup topics that I foist upon innocent bystanders. I talk about how busy I am at work. I talk about my water bill. I talk about how high my energy bill is during the summer. These are terrible, boring, Grup-like things to do. I know it. I am confessing it to you here. BUT… If my stupid trees would become responsible adult trees and provide me some shade on my house I could have fewer conversations about my energy bill.
That is a lie.
I would have the same number of conversations about my energy bill, but instead they would just go something like, “It’s amazing how much less our energy bill is in the summer now that our house gets some shade from those whiny, high-maintenance Lorax-tended baby trees!”
I have to go now. The aforementioned trees are ready for their water. I can’t wait till they become tall, dependable, shade-providing, boring Grup trees that will bore the baby trees next door to tears. Lady Lorax out.