At BEA, I received a signed copy of “Make Good Art,” the book form of Neil Gaiman’s commencement address to…. In it, he talks about the “fraud police,” a term which I understand exactly. Living here, away from home, in my very own apartment, working an actual job in an actual office, I regularly feel like the fraud police are going to show up at my door. “Excuse me ma’am. We’ve been told you’re acting like an adult, which you are not. You’re going to have to come with us.”
At 23, I’m not sure when feeling like an adult actually happens. In the other Neil Gaiman book I read recently, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, one the characters observes that inside, adults are just children. So maybe all adults are just pretending. But it still feels like the fraud police are going to call me on my act, tell me that I’m not qualified to be an adult. Or even worse, that I’m not allowed to do some things because I am an adult. “Excuse me ma’am,” the faud police might say. “It has come to our attention that you have been taking blue raspberry lollipops when you go to the bank to make the deposit at work. You are 23, therefore it is illegal to eat things that will turn your mouth blue for the rest of the work day.” Or perhaps “As a 23 year old, you are not permitted to eat the oatmeal with the little eggs that turn into dinosaurs when you add hot water.”
I suppose adulthood isn’t not eating dinosaur oatmeal or having art in actual frames on your walls. But then what is it? Is it paying bills? Is it being a certain age? Does it feel like anything? I don’t think anyone has any answers to these questions. But I’m an adult now, and like the xkcd comic says, I get to decide what that means now.
And what I decide it means is this: Hot summer nights in the grass listening to the philharmonic with best friends and plenty of wine. Once the musical and the stage door after, fangirling Arthur Darvill. Late nights in the West Village. Drinks at Gallow Green with fortune tellings and charms. As usual, it was a busy and delightful couple of weeks, despite the heatwave. And tomorrow, I’m flying home for a week. I can’t wait!