Sunday, December 30, 2012

I pretend to be an adult all day, but when I get home I’m the same person I’ve always been.

We’re in that nebulous time of year known simply as “the holidays.” Aside from the effort I put into reminding people that the season leading up to Christmas is Advent and that December 25 is the first day of Christmas, this doesn’t make too much difference in my day to day life just now. I am house-sitting in Durham, and working my feminist-writer-theologian butt off trying to get ready for my next residency at Queens. When I feel like my brain might explode, and remember that theoretically there’s this thing called “vacation” that people usually take this time of year, I turn to guilty pleasure television. Lately that means old episodes of Sex and the City.

Now you may be thinking, “The Femmonite watches Sex and the City? How can this be?” I got into it while I was in grad school at Duke, in truth, because I was fascinated by its popularity. I wanted to analyze it. But of course, before the first disc was over, I was hooked on the characters and the storylines. “Guilty pleasure” is not even an accurate term for it, at this point. I feel no guilt.

So I watch Sex and the City. I spend the rest of my time reading books most people would only use as doorstops. I’ve got nothing to prove.

In one of the episodes I watched last week the main character Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend Aidan moves in with her. Drama ensues. As she tries to adjust, Carrie dishes about the transition with her girlfriends at their favorite coffee shop. The trouble, she says, is that there are are certain things she likes to do that she would never want a man to see. That, and she just likes a little silence when she gets home.

As she and her friends discuss what Carries calls their “Secret Single Behaviors,” I couldn’t help but wonder (to borrow the phrase Bradshaw uses in every single column she writes for the New York Star) about my own. I realized, though, that while I share Carrie’s desire for silence, the things on my list aren’t things I particularly care about men seeing.

As a new year approaches I’m contemplating age, and the things that do and don’t change with the passage of time. What I’ve noticed is that, after playing adult all day, I like to come home and stop trying.

I wear pajamas with monkeys on them. I eat nachos for dinner. I make chocolate chip cookie dough for the sole purpose of eating it uncooked. And yes, that is my baby blanket on the futon over there.

I’m not sure that this says anything profound about me -- I value comfort, I like nachos and cookie dough, and my blanket has held up well over the years. But every time I find myself doing something like eating cheese and crackers for dinner without even bothering to use a plate, I shake my head and wonder if adulthood is all it’s cracked up to be. Oh, sure, I’m a relatively put-together gal most of the time. A gainfully employed vegetarian yogini and nonprofit board member who keeps her apartment clean and pays her bills on time. But here I am, in graduate school again, living in a studio apartment with a mini fridge. If you come over for dinner you may have to sit on my bed. My twin bed.

Anyway, I don’t have any Secret Single Behaviors, or if I do, they’re only secret by accident. I don’t think I’d mind being caught having nachos for dinner. Who doesn’t like nachos? You can join me if you’d like. I’ll even let you sit on my bed.