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By definition, yeah, I’m an “adult.” I pay my own bills, I work a job that requires me to sit in a comfortable office chair, and I own Tupperware.
Unfortunately, at my core, I still don’t think of myself as an adult. While I can get by in life doing just fine, there are certain tasks that escape me day-in and day-out. It never occurred to me in high school that I would’ve been better served learning how to do my taxes than learning calculus, but part of becoming an adult is realizing that there’s no guidebook for surviving. While I’ve figured out some things along the way, there are still several seemingly simple tasks that I’ve refused to touch.
I’ve done my own laundry since I can remember. All it took was one shrunken Abercrombie shirt in middle school for me to tell my mom, “Nope, I’m in charge now.” Sure, she didn’t try to shrink it, but I don’t think she realized how much that shirt meant to me. I was the king of the hallways when I showed up with that fake ski resort logo on my chest.
But even through all the years of doing my own laundry, I never dabbled in bleach. Frankly, it scares me. A little too much and all of the sudden I’ve ruined a t-shirt. Dilution and stuff? I have no clue how that works and as someone who coasted in chemistry class on the coattails of others, I’m not about to bust out beakers just to clean a white shirt.
Clean an oven.
I’m almost positive that there’s just a “clean” setting. The difference with going out on a limb with that, though, is that the stakes are simply too high. Sure, if I ruin a shirt using bleach, that’s a low-cost worst case scenario. But if I fuck up cleaning an oven? The worst case there is that I burn the entire place down. I don’t have renter’s insurance because I also don’t know how insurance works, and I’m not making enough money to replace all my belongings just because there’s a funky stench coming from my kitchen.
In the meantime, I’ll just use the bottom oven in hopes someone will do it before me.
Change the oil in my car.
When I walk into an auto shop, you can actually see the workers get excited because they know they’re about to shell me. I don’t put out “maintenance” vibes despite the fact that I know you can YouTube how to fix just about anything on your car. Can I check to see if that stick thingy is still wet before heading in for an oil change? Yeah, dad taught me that years ago on my ’95 Subaru Legacy Wagon. Is it a good idea for me to pop under the hood and start poking around rather than just pay the $40? No, under no circumstances should I be in charge of my own motor vehicle. I’m barely capable enough to drive it.
Set up utilities with the city.
For my entire life, I’ve never had to actually take the adult steps to setting up my own utilities in a place I call “home.” Thankfully, it’s just always been included in my rent.
I recently saw someone on a city-created website attempting to set their’s up and it looked like an absolute beating. If I’ve learned anything in my years, it’s that cities rarely have their shit together. I’m deathly afraid that a leaky faucet or a rogue light I never turn off will transform my utility bill into a multi-thousand dollar month. No, I’m not proud of it, but I am proud that I’ve avoided dealing with this shit up until this point.
I’m 99 percent sure that the reason succulents are so popular these days is that they’re easy to keep alive. Sunlight? Sure. Water once a month? Drop an ice cube in there. It’s literally the only thing millennials are unable to kill.
When it comes to ferns or figs, I lack the green thumb. Water is either going to some creeping out of the bottom of the pot because I used too much, or I’m going to leave it bone dry and then forget about it for the next week. I’m a big believer in plants and the outdoors, but putting me in charge of a plant is more irresponsible than putting me in charge of a baby.
Mow the lawn.
Possibly the most egregious task of the bunch. If anyone wanted my “Man Card” before this, here are your grounds to just rip it out of my hand and tear it into a million pieces. It wasn’t that my father never put me in charge of mowing the lawn — he always handled the yard and garden by himself. It’s his passion and I can’t take that away from him.
For me, I always got the equivalent satisfaction from shoveling snow. It’s the same premise to me except without something that can chop my hand off. I’ll have to learn someday, but hopefully, I’ll have a son by then and I can just tell him to figure it out.
And I’m not talking about just punching something into Google Maps or Waze. I’m talking the simple directions — North, South, East, and West. In 1st grade, I failed the “left or right” test with flying colors. My teacher had to pull my aside and talk to me about it because she couldn’t fathom how I could be so bad with my lefts and rights.
Admittedly, I’m still that way. Lefts and rights make no sense to me unless I do the L-Trick with my hand, and there’s just not a chance in hell that I’ll ever know which way east is without a compass in front of me.
As it turns out, yes, I’m truly lost in more ways than one. .