I fear that I may have actually grown up. I guess it was a matter of time, but I was avoiding it successfully, or so I thought.
I never felt like an adult until I had kids. I guess I should say, adulthood didn’t occur to me until the kids arrived. Nine years have passed since that day they inexplicably let my wife and I leave the hospital by ourselves with a baby, and for most of that time I have only been masquerading as an adult. That has changed.
Apparently, sometime recently, I actually became an adult. I didn’t know it had happened until our best friends had us over for dinner a few nights ago. It was a lovely evening. The kids played upstairs together, sustaining only minor injuries, we watched some of the Sochi Winter Olympics and marveled at how simultaneously strenuous and boring cross-country ski racing is, and we ate a delicious dinner. Everything seemed perfectly normal until the end of the evening when someone remarked at how our dinner conversations were different than they used to be. We collaborated on a short recap of all the topics we could remember, and the mood fell somber.
Here’s a list of our evening conversation topics:
Health care providers
The Affordable Care Act
The bleak irony of the term “Affordable” in the name “Affordable Care Act”
Mattress quality (unfortunately, with respect to back pain, not anything fun)
High-fructose corn syrup
The room was quiet for a minute as we soaked in the fact that none of us had thought the conversation topics were odd during the conversations. Only after the fact did we realize - Holy crap. We’re old. This is old people stuff. Since when are these things our stimulating conversation topics?
Looking back, it’s been sneaking up on me. When we got home from dinner and put the kids to bed, I put on my slippers and sat quietly in my easy chair under a quilt as I reflected. I realized I should have seen it earlier. There were warning signs.
I have begun to turn the car radio off when looking for an address or using the ATM, so that I’m able to concentrate. I used to give my parents endless grief for doing that when I was a kid. They are laughing right now.
I sit down to put on pants. Classic old guy move.
My face is going numb. I regularly have food stuck to my face while eating and have no idea. You see old guys all the time eating dinner with food stuck to their faces. My chin is completely dead.
I grunt when I bend over and I moan when I stand back up straight.
The other day I noticed my “Forever” postage stamps have the year printed on them. That made me think the U.S. Post Office wasn’t really planning to hold up their end of the “forever” bargain, and that made me mad. Only old men get mad about stamps.
And don’t even try to get me started on my joints. No, seriously. It’s really hard for me to get started on my joints.
There it is. I’m old now. I’m an adult, I guess. Bummer.
It won’t be long until I’m the old guy in the gym locker room, wandering around butt-naked for a half hour, just casually having conversations with other butt-naked old men, none of us ever once thinking to get a towel and cover up a little.
I may as well get my lawn chair now, to put out on the front porch and yell at the kids to stay off my grass. Damn kids drive too fast down the street, too.
Come to think of it, that was another one of the dinner topics.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2014 Marc Schmatjen
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