Jun. 25th, 2010

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Just like everyone else on the internet, I read Hyperbole and a Half's post on adulthood recently. As a result I have said, "Clean all the things?" to Best Beloved at least 76 times today. I expect I will be saying it regularly forever.

The post made me think about adulthood. And how I mostly do not get it.

When I was 10 and our washing machine exploded, turning our house into something more waterpark than domicile, my parents knew exactly what to do; they totally efficiently turned off the water, called the water company, and called the insurance people. All I could think of was to hold up my pants, which didn't want to stay on anymore once they'd taken on 40 pounds of water weight. I thought, I cannot wait until I am grown up and I know what to do.

When I was 17, I got my first flat tire, and of course I panicked and drove home on the rim. My father laughed and put on my spare tire and took my car out for a new tire, and then he explained why we don't drive on a flat. And I listened and looked forward to the day when I knew this stuff, when I just knew what to do.

When I was 25, Best Beloved and I bought our first house. I sat in the escrow office reading a stack of documents that I needed a ladder to get to the top of and thinking, Surely they will not let me actually buy part of this house. Surely they will notice I don't know what to do.

When I was 35, I sat in a wheelchair (despite my extremely reasonable protests) and carried a tiny baby home in my lap, and I couldn't believe it: they were letting me leave the hospital with the most important person in the world, and I still didn't know what to do.

Responsible adulthood did not happen to me. I never found a copy of the manual called What to Do. Instead, I have cobbled together a set of coping skills that let me fake being a responsible adult most of the time, while I stare in wonderment at the people around me who actually seem not only to have the manual but also to have read it and learned it to the point where they don't even need it anymore. And yet they never want to sell their old copy.

So, you know, now I'm wondering: how many of you know What to Do?

Poll #3627 Adulthood
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 786


Are you a responsible adult?

View Answers

Yes. Absolutely. I know What to Do.
19 (2.5%)

Basically. What other choice is there?
100 (12.9%)

No, but I'm faking it pretty well most days. I'm like the cubic zirconium of responsible adulthood.
205 (26.5%)

There are times when I can almost pretend I am. I'm the rhinestone of responsible adulthood.
317 (40.9%)

I've got the adult part covered! Responsibility is not really my thing.
69 (8.9%)

I've got the responsible part covered! Adulthood will come eventually.
40 (5.2%)

Neither an adult nor responsible, and, frankly, I'm enjoying it while I can.
25 (3.2%)

What responsible adult things do you do regularly?

View Answers

Personal hygiene! I am usually clean and wearing pants when I need to be wearing pants.
707 (90.2%)

Interpersonal hygiene! I can say I'm sorry when I am (and be sorry when I should be) and accept responsibility for my mistakes and not fly off the handle when I'm mad and stuff.
565 (72.1%)

Keep calm and carry on in emergencies!
516 (65.8%)

Sleep when I am supposed to and wake up when I need to!
313 (39.9%)

Clean ALL the things!
90 (11.5%)

Keep up with my finances in a way unlikely to lead to predictable disaster!
433 (55.2%)

Work!
545 (69.5%)

Kill insects bravely or co-exist with them happily!
560 (71.4%)

Keep a child alive and appropriately happy!
126 (16.1%)

Keep a pet alive (through its intended span) and appropriately happy!
440 (56.1%)

Keep myself and maybe others fed with real actual foods!
554 (70.7%)

Buy stuff I need!
606 (77.3%)

Get rid of stuff I don't need!
309 (39.4%)

Not buy stuff I can't afford or really shouldn't have!
368 (46.9%)

Go to the doctor and dentist without prompting and without anything falling off first!
279 (35.6%)

Paperwork! Bureaucracy loves me.
212 (27.0%)

Vote! Democracy loves me.
650 (82.9%)

Communicate! People love me.
287 (36.6%)

Own (or at least share with a bank) a residence or what have you!
212 (27.0%)

Advanced adulthood tasks!
113 (14.4%)

Something else that isn't on this poll, probably because the person who made it is not a real responsible adult!
79 (10.1%)

Let's go into more detail about cooking.

View Answers

Every single day, I cook three delicious meals from whole foods.
28 (3.6%)

Most days, I cook meals. They are tasty, or at least the people who eat them don't complain.
293 (37.3%)

I can cook meals. It just doesn't happen what you might call regularly.
333 (42.4%)

I can't cook meals, but I can cook things.
89 (11.3%)

I know how to call for delivery food.
20 (2.5%)

I know how to eat straight from the jar hovering over the sink.
11 (1.4%)

If someone else didn't feed me, I guess I wouldn't eat.
12 (1.5%)

Let's go into more detail about finances.

View Answers

I am like the god of fiscal responsibility. All my purchases are well-thought-out and carefully budgeted. I am not in debt and save extensively. Bankers everywhere want to perform oral sex on me.
53 (6.8%)

I am mostly fiscally responsible. I don't have that many impulse purchases! I don't run out of money! Bankers are willing to shake my hand.
358 (45.7%)

I have areas of difficulty, but I am surviving. Bankers may not look me in the eye, but they still give me most of my money.
277 (35.4%)

My finances are the monetary equivalent of that trash compactor from Star Wars. I avoid bankers, but I assume they want to punch me.
64 (8.2%)

Other.
31 (4.0%)

Let's go into more detail about cleaning ALL the things!

View Answers

Everything is always clean. If it isn't, I don't sleep until it is. The last time my residence was dirty, a natural disaster was in progress.
7 (0.9%)

My place is mostly clean, most of the time. I do all the major cleaning tasks on a regular basis, even.
113 (14.4%)

My home is mostly clean enough to prevent disease.
175 (22.3%)

Sometimes my place is clean. Sometimes it is not. It's all down to phases of the moon. (I may be a werewolf.)
112 (14.3%)

My place will be clean provided you give me 24 hours notice.
151 (19.2%)

It's more like 24 days notice, to be honest.
112 (14.3%)

There is no clean.
36 (4.6%)

I pay someone else to clean my place.
39 (5.0%)

Someone else cleans. I do not have to pay. I should probably thank that person right this minute.
32 (4.1%)

Something else.
8 (1.0%)

Let's talk about organization!

View Answers

I am so motherfucking organized that I can find YOUR shit.
78 (9.9%)

I can mostly find stuff.
298 (38.0%)

I know where at least one important document is, and I usually don't have to spend more than 15 minutes looking for things I use regularly.
253 (32.3%)

...It's around here somewhere. Um.
119 (15.2%)

I'm moving or have moved recently and thus am excused from having to be organized.
30 (3.8%)

Something else.
6 (0.8%)

When you fail at adulthood, what do you do?

View Answers

I don't. Not ever. For $700, you can take my seminar and you too will ALWAYS BE A WINNER at adulthood!
11 (1.4%)

Cry.
301 (38.4%)

Panic.
352 (45.0%)

Pretend. Failure? What failure?
405 (51.7%)

Call a friend or family member for help.
460 (58.7%)

Beat myself up, to the point where I am still regularly calling myself a dink for failures from past millennia.
388 (49.6%)

Ignore and repress until disaster strikes.
375 (47.9%)

Punish myself in a not-obvious way: run until I can't any more, say.
124 (15.8%)

Punish myself in a more obvious way: run until I barf, for example.
43 (5.5%)

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.
107 (13.7%)

Find someone else to blame.
52 (6.6%)

Distract myself. I NEED TO READ ALL THE LOLCATS. RIGHT NOW.
604 (77.1%)

Institute a brutal, iron-fist-style regimen to ensure it never happens again.
87 (11.1%)

Buy something.
233 (29.8%)

I have an even better coping technique! See the comments.
28 (3.6%)

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