Let’s Be – air quotes – Adult About This, Shall We?

January 27, 2013

Humor

First, the winner of the photo caption contest – after much thought, much creativity, and probably much mild nausea, we’ve reached the winner for the, um, au natural photographer caption.  Please take a moment to visit the thoroughly interesting and well-written webiste Every Record Tells A Story, who is my new Featured Blogger.  Congratulations on your winning caption!

People often wondered why there were so few photos of Ansel Adams…

People often wondered why there were so few photos of Ansel Adams…

And as to this week…

I was talking with some friends the other day about how adulthood often feels like a charade, or illusion that’s thrust upon us.  You look in the mirror and wonder, when did that happen?  Or suddenly you discover that you are expected to make decisions that impact big, cultural things. You realize, in the midst of a crisis that someone has to handle this… and you look around and realize, “Oh. That someone is me.  Shit.”

"Hi, I'm calling to discuss my home equity loan - which is a thing I apparently have and expected to understand."

“Hi, I’m calling to discuss my home equity loan – which is a thing I apparently have and am expected to understand.”

For me, it often feels like there’s air quotes around these titles.  Like having the baby – I can’t help but make little air-quotes when say, “Yeah, I’m a ‘dad’ now.  I have a ‘daughter.’ Ha ha.”  And I know it’ll wear off – I’ve gradually stopped referring to my wife in air quotes, which I think she appreciates. – but the general feeling never does.

So what about you?  For our Sunday discussion, our Sunday question: what parts of adulthood still catch you off guard? What can’t you get the air-quotes off of?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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89 Comments on “Let’s Be – air quotes – Adult About This, Shall We?”

  1. 1pointperspective Says:

    Help! For reasons I do not understand my blog has been archived/suspended! I know it’s not cool to ignore your post and use this comment box for my own purposes, but my blog is essentially GONE! WTF?!!?

    Reply

  2. susielindau Says:

    The hardest part about being an adult for me is acting like one. I still use all the slang my kids use. I listen to their music. The scary thing is that age has given me confidence, so now I am not afraid to make a scene in public where usually some dancing is involved. I also plan to do a lot of crazy stuff on my bucket list before I die. Adult? pshhh!

    Reply

  3. mairedubhtx Says:

    I don’t understand taxes (since we’re in tax season) and economics and now that I’m an older person i STILL don’t understand them and I even less understand why I have to PAY taxes on my disability income. I just don’t get it. That’s my two cents worth.

    Reply

  4. TAE Says:

    The IRS.

    Reply

  5. becomingcliche Says:

    Mortgage payments take me by surprise. Because, “hey, didn’t I give you people money LAST month? Don’t be greedy.”

    Reply

  6. k8edid Says:

    The whole “job” thing…or maybe it’s just me. An employer tries to suck the joy out of your life with ridiculous rules and regulations (attendance, appropriateness, dress code) demands hours of your (unpaid) time, and expects you to be grateful…WTH

    Reply

  7. 1pointperspective Says:

    Sorry to clog your comments with this crap.

    Reply

  8. Jackie Cangro Says:

    In my mind, I’m still 18. And it’s been many, many years *cough* since I was 18. I keep thinking, “when I grow up I’ll do that.” Then I realize that I should probably start doing those things now.

    Does anyone else feel like time speeds up the older you get?

    Reply

  9. speaker7 Says:

    Raising a small human underscores how little I know about anything in the world. I pity my son that he’s going to look to me for help in navigating the world and my response will be “F— if I know, son.”

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      There really needs to be some sort of Warnings manual that explains, “Look, you’re being raised by people – people who are figuring it out as they go along, and who were raised by other people who figured it out as they went along, and so on. All of whom – ALL of whom – ignored any and all wisdom that was offered to them”

      Reply

  10. Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) Says:

    I still find it hard to believe that if I don’t put my dirty wine glass in the dishwasher, no one else will do it either. (By the way, I originally typed “fridge” instead of dishwasher…)

    Reply

  11. rossmurray1 Says:

    “Talking” to my kids about “making good decisions.”

    Reply

  12. Anka Says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that ‘I’m a role model’ to my children. The other day my three year old called me out for being a hypocrite. He told me “I’m the worst mommy in the world” because he couldn’t eat chocolate raisins for breakfast but I could.

    Reply

  13. Michelle Gillies Says:

    The mirror! It scares the hell out of me when I look in there. Who the heck is that old lady and what has she done with 23 year old Michelle?

    Reply

  14. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Parenting definitely brings out the air quotes. It takes years to realize you’re actually in charge of another human being. For the first few years you just seem like a volunteer personal assistant. Then suddenly you are a human Magic 8 ball who is required to questions like “why is the sky blue?” It’s really not until someone asks “are you so and so’s father/mother?” that it actually seems real. This can be the result of a snowball gone wild or an acknowledgement of greatness…either way you have to answer yes.

    Reply

  15. josefkul Says:

    I work as a charge nurse and am responsible for an entire floor and a half. Whenever I do something stupid at home (often) the air quoted irony is never lost between my wife and I when I say “you can trust me, I’m a nurse!”

    Reply

  16. Go Jules Go Says:

    Whenever my friends make a reference that’s way before my time, I feel like a kid again. They’re all so old. Crazy, crazy old.

    Also my parents aging. I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for the day when I have to take care of them.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yesterday someone mentioned taking guitar lessons when he was little, and that he didn’t want to play classical and scales, he wanted to play Nirvana. My immediate reaction was, “Ha ha! Silly, Nirvana wasn’t around when you were a little kid! Oh, right. They were.”

      Reply

  17. mistyslaws Says:

    Yeah, I hate to break it to you B-man, but that “parent” “child” air quote thing never really goes away. Having to be the grown up who is entirely responsible for another human’s survival is still something I struggle with accepting every day. I’m like, “how did I get HERE?” And still think of myself as a high school/college kid. Then I realize I have to be a good example and all that, and NOT act like a juvenile, and then I’m just tired. Buckle in, my friend. It’s a bumpy ride this adulthood thing.

    Reply

  18. Every Record Tells A Story Says:

    Wow. A lifetime’s* ambition realised. I thought I was destined to always be the bridesmaid. If you voted for me – thank you, and seek help…
    As for the week’s question, I often catch myself telling the kids lies that my own parents told me. Not just the tooth fairy either (sorry – should that have had a spoiler alert?) Stuff like “You’ll get square eyes if you watch too much TV” and “If the ice cream van plays a tune, it means he’s run out of ice cream”.
    Suckers….

    *not technically true: more like a few months.

    Reply

  19. Elyse Says:

    Being the “Older Generation” — I’m it and it sucks. I will never give in, though.

    Reply

  20. List of X Says:

    Maybe when I have children i will feel that adulthood is catching me off guard, but so far I’ve never really felt that way.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Really? I started feeling that way basically as soon as I had my own place.

      Reply

      • List of X Says:

        maybe I’m just a sad old dude who somehow skipped childhood, or maybe I adapted so quickly that I didn’t have air quotes around me for long. But I know that when I was getting married, I fully expected that I would use air quotes when referring to “my wife” for a while, and yet that stage only lasted a day or so.

        Reply

  21. tomwisk Says:

    The general feeling by others that I should “behave” like an adult.

    Reply

  22. Laura Says:

    I adopted a cat recently, and the volunteer who evaluated my application was a teenager. For a second I flashed back a time (many, many years ago) when I was her age and often ran into people who thought I was too young for whatever it was that I was doing. It felt really strange to be the adult in this situation.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I always want to pull the snarly, sullen teen who’s trying very hard to not help me aside and just explain that I get it, but it’s not doing what they think it’s doing, and everyone can tell that they’re being a jerk. I’m sure this would endear me.

      Reply

  23. Mama Bread Baker Says:

    I think I totally slept through the “parenting” phase of life because I went from a carefree 18-year old college student out dancing all night to “Mom, why don’t you just go to bed so you don’t hurt yourself.”

    Said by Sweet Pea and The Eldest in synchronized swimmer style unison when my knee popped last night!

    Reply

  24. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Oh my god. what DOESN’T?? I’d put air quotes around my entire life, B-man. Being old. Having kids. Etc.

    Funny thing about being a parent: that feeling never goes away. My son is ten! Just last week I sat down on the couch, looked at my husband and said, “Can you believe we’re parents? We have TWO kids?! And we’re responsible for them?” I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

    Reply

  25. skippingstones Says:

    For me it’s things like changing the oil in my car, renewing my license or tags, getting my car inspected. Every time it’s like, “What? Again? Didn’t I do that once already?”

    I have all my bills set to automatic pay because those companies are really annoying when they don’t bet their money, like, every single month. I just never really got the hang of those repeating kinds of adult “responsibilities”, so I had to find ways to by-pass my own involvement.

    Reply

  26. Renee B-W Says:

    Pretty much every age I get to, I look at people 10 or so years older than me and think about what it must feel like to be them. When I was 6 I couldn’t wait to be 12; at 12 I was in awe of the 16 year olds; at 16 I couldn’t wait to get to uni. now I’m 33 (and a “parent” and a “manager”) and although I have never felt the way I thought those people older than me felt, when I got to that age, I keep doing it! I guess inside I’m still the same as my 12-year-old self, with a bit more life experience, and it’s easy to forget that other people feel the same way too!

    And brussels sprouts. I’ll never come to terms with those.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’ve always had the “Oh, it’s too late to start ___” thing – and then a few years later I think, that was insane! There was plenty of time! But NOW it’s too late to start ____, definitely.”

      Reply

  27. pegoleg Says:

    When the toilet starts leaking or the garage door opener…doesn’t or the shower drain is so full of gross, slimy, soap-scummy hair that I’m up to my knees in yuck, I look around and think “where’s the somebody else who is supposed to take care of this?” And she is me.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I bet someone could make a living as “grown up.” Someone you call and say, “The garbage disposal doesn’t work, and the refrigerator’s making a weird rattle, and the cat threw up again, and I really want waffles but I’m out of eggs and I can’t find the waffle-maker.”

      “You just go watch TV. I’ll take care of it.”

      Reply

  28. thesinglecell Says:

    The constant realization that I’ve been around long enough to have learned some pretty formidable lessons and have become one of those women who nods sagely as younger girls spout off things they’ve just figured out. Gurrrl, I knew that, forgot it, and knew it again ten years ago.
    Also not being able to stay out til 2am anymore without SERIOUS repercussions for TWO days afterward. Regardless of how little I drink.

    Reply

  29. Jill Pinnella Corso Says:

    When I was 22, I was looking at a suit in a shop and the saleswoman said “Oh this would be great for you. Do you have like a debate coming up at school?” And I said, “No, I’m an ‘accountant’.”

    Still have those air quotes in my brain.

    Reply

  30. Madge Says:

    I get caught off guard when I’m around my children who are teenagers and their friends and they are talking about something and I chime in with an opinion and a joke. For example, they’ll be talking about some celebrities outfit on the red carpet and I’m like “She’s a total skank”. And then I’m like, oh wait I’m a parent, I can’t say these things.

    Reply

  31. UndercoverL Says:

    Is it okay if I throw a minor fit here and say: WTF!!? If I don’t get all adult up in this shiznit, all hell breaks loose! We’d be eating cheese straight off the block and dry cereal with our hands… but apparently I do have a husband who is supposed to be an ‘adult’ too, chronologically. He is begging me to let him retire in June and my response is: go ahead and retire, but you have to pass my ready-to-retire test, which includes: 1) doing laundry and not just your own, 2) changing Princess’s diaper more than once during a 24 hour period, 3) going grocery shopping and bringing home less than 3 bags of chips, only one six-pack of beer, and the makings of two entire meals, and 4) picking up toys and laundry for one day. If he can pass my test, I will go to work and he can retire. I would love to forget I was an adult for just 30 minutes. Crap… gotta go break up a fight.

    Reply

  32. rachelocal Says:

    I like to put air quotes around my age. That way it doesn’t seem real that i’m four years away from 40. (Shudder)

    Reply

  33. stettlerpro Says:

    Hope your blog is okay, and congrats to the blogger

    Reply

  34. AsimovSideburns Says:

    I’m technically an adult, but I don’t even like DRIVING.

    There is no way that I am responsible enough to steer a 4,000 pound torpedo.

    Reply

  35. Jennawynn Says:

    I’m about 3 months from 30. I have a 3 year old daughter, I spent 8 years in the Navy, and have been using my GI Bill to go to college for the last 2 years (graduate this summer, woo-hoo!) I still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up.” I still play video games on a daily basis. I’ve finally figured out that if I don’t clean up after myself, my daughter, and my husband, then nobody else will either. My husband wants to retire from the military in 6 years… and expects us to “switch” letting him be the house-husband while I work. I keep telling him he’d have to cook and clean, and that it’ll last about 2 weeks. lol. I am still shocked when my daughter comes up and reminds me that I’m in charge of this little creature… and that all my bad decisions now are going to lead to bad repercussions in her life. It makes me want to do better for her… until the next morning when I wake up completely oblivious to the beat of time marching on.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah, it’s the “what will be the long-term repercussions of this” part of parenting that’s the most daunting, in some ways.

      And on one level, there’s that whole thing about how the most interesting people don’t know what they want to be when the grow up… but it’s also kind of freaky and un-grounded feeling.

      Reply

  36. pjsarecomfyn Says:

    First off, being able to name your own kids….I mean, like we tell someone what their name is….what? Like there is no committee meeting about it, or a ‘give us your top 3 and we will pick the 1’….we get to do it.

    Also that I am in charge of my own nutrition and bedtime….both cases I probably still need someone overseeing

    Reply

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