Every so often, it gets brought home to me that I’m even worse at being an adult than I used to be at sports. The most recent round of self-flagellation was brought about by the realization that my Mysterious Engaged Friend, now Mysterious Married Friend, has never been to my apartment. The problem is mostly that, at any given time, my meal plan consists of Diet Coke and Doritos, I have a hamper full of dirty laundry that I can’t wash because I haven’t yet put away the clean laundry from last weekend’s chore-a-thon, and I’ve been saying I’ll mop the floor for approximately three weeks. My total score at being a grown-up wouldn’t get me past the first elimination round.
It starts early in the morning. I hit my snooze button about five times before I end up getting out of bed. I always mean to get up early, hope to get up on time, and actually get up late. It continues with lunch; when I go grocery shopping, I always fondly imagine my lunch will be a healthy salad with chopped broccoli, grated carrots, and cherry tomatoes. It usually ends up being stuff I got at the convenience store around the corner from where I work, so– pop tarts and fruit snacks. Then, when I get home, I think “Oh, I’m totally going to do chores now. This place is going to look great by the time I go to bed.” It could happen. No, it couldn’t. That’s never going to happen.
But Mysterious Married Friend is moving away (sad!), so I invited her over, along with her husband and another friend. I did this in total good faith, and also because my apartment is actually in fairly good shape for once, having been the subject of a recent cleaning marathon. I forgot one vital fact, though: I can’t cook. At all. I could have invited them over for tea, or a movie night, or–I don’t know–poker, but I didn’t. As I sort through various takeout menus and wonder what would seem the least obvious when I serve it on my nice (read: not paper) plates, I can’t help but wonder if I’m alone in this.
And, you know, I don’t think I am.
So I’d like to propose handicaps for adulthood, like they have for bowling and golf. For me, I think I should be able to add on to my total score another 50% of what my Sainted Mother would have been able to do in the same situation. If I can manage to have the dinner table completely clear by the time my friends come over, that’s like my mother having polished all the silver and ironed the tablecloth. If I find takeout that suits everyone’s dietary restrictions and doesn’t cause an allergic reaction in anyone, that’s like my mother cooking a four-course meal. Right now, my Sainted Mother is falling out of her chair laughing while thinking about all the Hamburger Helper she used to fix, which actually makes me feel better. Ooh, Hamburger Helper! I can totally manage that.