Something has happened to me in the past few months. Something that no one warned me about. Guys…I am an adult now. And being an adult has brought along with it many weirdnesses and changes. I document the three biggest ones I’ve noticed in the last week here: not knowing what to do at the doctor, realizing I am an evil Jersey minivan driver, and finding young dads attractive. In your free time, pray for me, and read this so it doesn’t happen to you too.
Big Kid Doctor Visits
Going to the doctor alone once I got my license was weird enough. Co-pay? Insurance account number? What? Where is my mommy? No one ever gave me instructions on how to go to the dentist. I’m just sitting here, reading the February issue of People magazine trying to look adult-y and inconspicuous, and all I want is some clean teeth or for this cough to go away. Not trying to hurt anybody.
The first of my new adult complications: I have to fill out a document with all my medical history because I have to see my new grown-up doctor instead of the pediatrician. (Or so my mother and I have decided. I wonder though…at what point do pediatricians kick their patients out? Is there a limit? I wonder how long I could’ve lasted there!). This is when I realize that I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. Who even am I? What was the name of that complex medicine I’m allergic to again? Eh who cares I won’t fill that in. Ummm…wait have I ever gotten shots for avian flu? Or TB? Do I have legs? jk I actually know the answer to that last one. But seriously…isn’t my mommy supposed to fill this out for me? Nope? Welcome to adulthood, I guess.
Next, I am horrified at this new adult office. There are no cute murals on the walls or Disney movies or bubblegum grape-flavored fluoride here. This is REAL LIFE and real life is TOUGH so in the adult world people only get MINT AND SADNESS flavored things and all the walls are GREY. When I get my X-ray taken, I don’t “look at Minnie Mouse” for the picture, I look at the picture of a DOT. And excuse me…no goody bag? I’m disappointed, America. I want to walk away with free sample-sized floss whenever I frequent a dental establishment. I expected privileges when I became an adult. Now I just have this taste of sadness in my mouth, so if this is adulthood, I don’t want it.
I won’t even talk too much about the awkwardness that ensues when I am done with my appointment and try to schedule my next visit or pay for anything. For some reason I feel utterly incapable of making basic calendar decisions. I just raise an eyebrow and say adult words to the receptionist until she tells me what to do: “Hey! So…insurance…credit card…co-pay…visit…form…payroll…retirement…hedge fund…Medicare…potato?” And then run away as soon I can, feeling accomplished but also burdened with the responsibility of being medically responsible for myself. Such is the awkwardness of being 20.
Realizing I Am a Driver From Hell
It all starts so innocently. Some poor little person is trying to inch their way into oncoming traffic. I have pity, WWJD-style, as I am instructed to do as a Christian, but I can tell right away that I have made a grave mistake. You are the rare Dodo Bird of Drivers, and I have just trapped the 50 other cars behind me in some funeral-esque 22mph parade for the eternity of the next 5 minutes. Jesus, the inventor of WWJD, would’ve just cut him off in the spirit of doing unto others. I was not nearly so wise.
The next step in the “Being Nice To Drivers Who Don’t Deserve It” rage spiral is to formulate some awful story for this person’s idiocy so you feel justified in riding their ass all the way down Route 27. Maybe they just moved here from a foreign country and are having trouble adjusting to speed limits. Or their car is rigged with a bomb, Speed-style, where if they go over 22 mph they will explode. Either way, they shouldn’t be out driving with the normal people.
I am certainly not alone in my frustrations: the car behind me makes direct eye contact with me in my rearview mirror and we share a moment. It is clear during this interaction that their anger is 50% directed toward the Slow Idiot and 50% to me, the Idiot Who Let Them In. I’M SORRY EVERYBODY. I’M JUST SO SORRY, OKAY?
There are now three options to choose from in proceeding with this issue.
1. Relax and drive and just deal with it.
………..But seriously LOL I really for real can’t do that
2. Try to make eye contact with them in their side mirror to convey your frustration at their lethargic pace, and also communicate your disappointment: Hey. I thought we had an agreement here. I showed you great mercy in letting you join this wild ride we call driving down a street. You were supposed to fulfill your end of this contract by complying with state speed limits. Now you’ve just let us all down. Badly done, Dodo Bird. Badly done.
3. Play this song as loud as your speakers will go with all your windows rolled down.*
*DON’T EVER DO THIS
It didn’t used to be like this. Back when I was first cruisin’ around Central NJ in my green minivan, I braked for STICKS. I sat at stop signs until everyone else went first so that there was no way of a potential collision. I made left turns at a slow-motion speed only known to sloths. In the rare instance that I ever braved Route 1 or 287, I camped out in the right lane like a toddler clinging to the side of a skating rink as people whiz past.
But now, in a reverse-evolutionary twist, the prey has now become the predator, and my transformation is complete. The frightened permit driver is now a bona fide grown-up Jersey road bully, left hand constantly hovering over my horn should someone dare to cross me. And on the rare occasion I deign to be kind to some dumb dodo who’s sticking out too far into oncoming traffic and he ends up failing all of us, you better believe that I will tailgate him out of this state, where he can go annoy everyone in PA or something, where driving is not life or death. Hunt or be hunted, buddy. I’m a big girl now. Sorry not sorry.
The answer, of course, is no. It’s too good to be true. For as I fish around for some reason to call out to him with a quinoa-related pickup line, yknow, so that I can get a closer look at his tatted sleeve and see if he put a Bible verse in there somewhere so I can decide whether or not we should get married, I hear the dreaded word coming from behind him:
No. No no no…but alas — he squats down, beaming, and picks up his little child who has been lollygagging behind him. He’s…he’s…a DAD. As he and his daughter spin around to Disney music that only I can hear because I am making it up in my head, I slink further down in my seat and basically question my entire life. Well, actually, it can be boiled down into one terrifying thought: “am I allowed to think that young dads are hott with two t’s now?” To make it worse, his wife rolls up with their two other children in a dual-pod stroller, diaper bag and toys in tow, so now I am not only committing some sort of awkward adultery — of the tattoo admiration/grocery choice appreciation variety — but also now have the fully adult capacity to be attracted to a man who has been on this earth long enough to father three children.
Excuse me while I shrivel up and die.
That’s all I got so far. What do you find most noticeable (good and bad) about suddenly being an adult?