Friday, June 03, 2016

Marks of adulthood

In the years just after I finished college, when I was working full time and living in DC, I was very concerned with the question, "Am I an adult now?" I very badly wanted to answer in the affirmative and worked hard to make it so, but when so many other people your age are still behaving like children, it's difficult to distinguish yourself as invisibly more mature. So I was always wondering when I would reach a point where my adulthood would be incontrovertible. Then I went to grad school, where the adulthood project had to be aborted as a matter of necessity.

But now, it is a lot easier to see the marks of adulthood. For example, I am drinking a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Ever since I started drinking coffee in college, I used to wonder at decaf coffee drinkers - for why? Coffee doesn't actually taste good; it's essentially a low-grade productivity drug to help you read more books and write more words, faster. Drinking decaf coffee is like taking placebo aspirin for a headache.

But now I see things differently. It's like the hat/elephant drawing in The Little Prince. Children are defined as those who see the elephant in the gullet of a boa, adults as those who see a hat. Neither can satisfactorily explain their perspective to the other.


Withywindle said...

Still not getting the whole de-caf thing. When I drink it, I know it's a placebo for the evening, to let me get to sleep. Also, Stumptown coffee does taste good, although I grant most doesn't.

Miss Self-Important said...

Yes, but why drink a placebo coffee instead of something else - a glass of water or even milk (blech)? Because now you are a creature of habit, coffee is your habit, you consume it even when you don't need it. You've also developed limits and you know them. I used to be able to drink coffee (caffeinated) before bed and it would have no impact on my sleep. But now it does and my sleep must be protected at all costs (see previous baby sleep post), plus my caffeine intake affects small human, who indirectly absorbs it, and so: decaf.

No coffee tastes good. Like, as good as a soda or a cocktail. There are just some coffees that taste perfectly like coffee and that's what makes them seem good.

Alex said...

We've talked about this. I never really understood your preoccupation with all the identifiers of adulthood. When I moved to DC at 23 and got a full time job, I considered myself an adult because I was supporting myself, full-stop. If I am "more adult" now it is because of physical aspects of aging, ie I am tired more and thus would rather stay home and sleep than go out.

Miss Self-Important said...

Yes, and I agreed, but this self-assertion was not necessarily sufficient b/c first, having a full-time job is an external sign, not something intrinsic to you. You can have a full-time job and be an irresponsible, immature nitwit. Maybe at some point, your nitwitittude would result in the loss of this job, but not immediately or necessarily. Plus, observers could not easily distinguish us from Sustainable Steve, who also had a full-time job, incidentally. And how do we account for the year of grad school I spent sleeping on a mattress on the floor of my crappy group apartment and otherwise living like a college student again? But now, I feel like adulthood a SOLID FACT and there's no going back. And anyone who disagrees with me is an IDIOT.