Things About Being In Between

It was an odd weekend for me. The home school prude that still reigns stealthily under my swaggering, brash exterior was given a run for her money.

I am in my late 30s. I am the mother of four teenagers. I am an EMT. I like television. And the Internet. At this point in my life, it would seem safe to assume that I have seen and/or done it all. And it wouldn't be far from wrong. But being home schooled like I was, and married early, and all college-educated online, there are a lot of crucial life experiences that I missed out on - most of these are thoroughly documented in a plethora of crass movies starring people like James Franco, Zac Galifianakis and Seth Rogen. I have seen some of the movies - or at least the parts that I could manage without total embarrassment (enter the prude), and the parts I haven't seen have been mostly explained to me or re-enacted by the middle school boys I know. This weekend was kind of a mini immersion into para-maturity and quasi-responsibility.

It started with a stop at a wedding expo so I could write about it for the paper. I tried to get my "colleague" to pose as my fiancee and do a mystery shopper routine through the show, but he declined once he saw a bevy of younger, more attractive girls to network with.

After the expo I had an interview for the paper. A local musician who was wearing what I can only safely call a dress, which is fine, unless you are a 27 year old male singer/songwriter. If you are a 27 year old singer/songwriter coming from a tiny town in Stevens County Washington and you have made it to the relative Big Time, selling out international shows and dating an Australian Yoga Instructor, I guess you can wear whatever you want, including a dress. It really only feels a little awkward when you are scratching your balls. But I get it, you just came from yoga class. In your skirt. It was a fun interview.- my first semi-celebrity one. My "colleague" insists I was all fan-girl fluttered out, but I protest. After the interview, I drug the "colleague" down to Spokane then on a mission to do some investigative journalism for work, and meet with my "real journalist" cousin. She has a college degree that gives her legitimacy, plus she's fun. She gave us some good pointers and shared a pitcher of beer with us and we went on our merry way.

I dropped my "colleague" off at a buddy's house and I did what any full-grown 37-year-old adult would do with a night off in the city all by herself. I checked into a cheap hotel, took a long hot bath, and watched Law and Order SVU all night. To be fair, and with every good intent, I kept my iPad open in front of me with a blank document staring me in the face all night, so I could get some "writing done". I was able to stave off the need to order in delivery pizza, only because none of the delivery places reached my hotel. The few people who know me well know that the secret to my eternal happiness lies in a hotel bed and delivery pizza. Nothing feels more decadent, luxurious, and PRETEND-GROWN-UP. After rationalizing the $50 the room would cost me compared to A) a bar tab at a brew pub, B) a fitful night on a couch and/or C) staying up way later than I really felt like, it seemed like the appropriate course of action. So, spurning all of the judgement from friends and family with couches, beds and Good Financial Decisions, I took a night for myself. Ironically I laid awake half the night thinking of the stories I could make up about where I stayed so people wouldn't make fun of me for staying at a hotel alone. In the end I decided one-night-stand alibis were probably not the best course of action, so here I am, truthing it out. Luckily most of the friends and family won't ever read this so I have nothing to fear.

In the morning, I went to pick up my "colleague". Enter the James Franco narrative. I've been in college apartments before. I've slept on air mattresses and used jerry-rigged faucets and cooked on hot plates. Ain't no thing. But this morning, I got to settle in on a futon-type set up on the floor of a studio apartment between two guys that were mostly my age and watch really ridiculous Australian TV shows all morning. What else do kids in their late 30s do on a Sunday morning? I couldn't think of a single thing. When that got old we went downtown and watched Hot Tub Time Machine 2 at the theater, because apparently that movie needed a sequel. The best part was listening to the two boys giggle like 12-year-olds at every penis joke. I suppose this goes back to my not having boundaries, getting pushed into ridiculous things like this, but then again, why not? Maybe I can never get those hours back - but if I had been home I probably would have wasted them scrubbing toilets or doing laundry.

I have a lot of "responsible adult" friends. Ones with mortgages and retirement plans and life insurance. I have a lot of young friends who don't even know what those things are. But I find myself more closely related to the friends of mine that aren't young any more, but they certainly aren't "responsible adults". We shouldn't be going to movies at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. We should be paying bills, or going to church, or raking lawns. We shouldn't be sleeping in hotels when there are couches and beds and Real Expenses to worry about. We shouldn't think about going to Iceland when we might not be able to make the car payment. We should be concerned about mortgages and life insurance and retirement plans. It's a hard balance to find. Living life or letting life run you over. Being responsible but still making life worth being around for. A responsible adult would probably be watching the Oscars right now, not Animaniacs, which I am absolutely DELIGHTED that Aspen seems to have discovered in my absence. Here I go making poor adult choices again, and never quite regretting it. I wonder if I started to make Good Choices if I would regret those? I should try it and see...

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