"No," I said.
"Well, you'd better find someone fast," she admonished. "You're getting old."
You're telling me.
Lest you write this off as some sort of cultural tick, let me say that . . . it isn't. Really. How do you think about single adults in your deep dark head? This isn't so much an accusation as a question to ponder. I hypothesise that the older you get as a single adult--particularly a childless one, interestingly enough--the fewer people understand you, and the less they understand you, too. And let's face it. We are different. Single people don't generally act like married people--because we're not. For better or for worse (to borrow a phrase from . . . somewhere), we only have to be responsible for ourselves. (Stacey was talking about this recently.) And for some of us, that isn't enough motivation to be responsible. Either way, the single life is often difficult for other people to fathom. It's just that usually everyone is too tactful to admit it.
Today, after my opening shift at Starbucks, I spent a very nice afternoon at my friend Heather's. Heather and her husband have four children, ranging in age from four to nine. Just before dinner, I took the youngest (or maybe he took me) out of the kitchen to play. We were soon joined by his sister Hannah. At some point, I was told I was to big to play with a particular toy. Then Hannah looked at me quizzically.
"Are you a teenager?" she asked.
"No," I chuckled.
"Are you a grown-up?"
"Yes," I said.
"Are you a mommy?"
Hannah was looking more and more concerned. "Are you a grandma?" (Well, she is only five.)
Both children were staring at me now. There was a moment of silence. "Are you a grown-up?" Hannah asked again, as if desperately hoping a beam of light would suddenly illuminate this situation.
"Yes," I responded simply.
"But what are you then?"
Hey. At least someone said it.