Wow, it’s late. As of half an hour ago, I was WIDE awake with no plans of ever falling asleep again. As of ten minutes ago, I’m wiped out completely. I can’t even imagine what kept me so wired, except for my utter failure at the “no more sodas” kick I was on, as I have been sipping on a Coke all evening. I guess my body just isn’t used to all of the caffeine and excitement. There’s quite a lot of both to be had in this city.

I wish I had more time to soak it all in. Since I arrived, I’ve been rushing. I’ve been going from 7AM to 9PM for three days straight without a break. That’s just unbearable when most of the day is spent hearing about new art books that are so obscure I couldn’t name five of them if you paid me. It’s not physically demanding (though I’ve done a lot of walking since I arrived, and a lot less subway-ing than I generally do when I’m here), but it is certainly mentally exhausting. I have a feeling that after this weekend, I’m never going to want to see another book again in my life.

Okay, so I exaggerate. Often. And clearly I love books, so never seeing one again would be rather tragic. But to do these conferences twice a year every year is going to either make my brain very wrinkly or I’m going to have to figure out a better way to give my mind a rest than watching hours of mindless television every week, and a more interesting (for my readers at least) way of brain dumping than posting my every thought here instead of my usual witty, insightful observations and comments on life.

Ha. Obviously, the influx of new information has caused delusions of grandeur. I suppose it could be worse; I could be having delusions of wealth and be preparing for a trip to Tiffany and Saks instead. That would definitely come back to bite me. I hear VISA doesn’t accept free review copies of obscure art books in exchange for actual payment…

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And the real story begins. I’ve been tripping over the edge of the sidewalk’s end for five years – married and moved out, finishing and finished with school, job hunting and finding… My lovely husband has to remind me regularly that I don’t need my parents’ permission to buy, say, a new rug, and my lovely parents still try to force me to exercise whenever I’m visiting. Part of me is excited to be living my own life on my own terms. The other part is begging my parents to step in and tell me how to live. (Note to Mom and Dad – ignore that last sentence. I don’t really mean it)

What do most people do when they’re in this “in between” place? When they aren’t children, but also don’t have children of their own? 

Here’s what I do: fake it.

  • “Hi, former-co-worker-at-the-high-school-where-I-spent-a-year-fearing-for-my-sanity-much-less-my-life, no, I’m not still teaching. Yes, I am absolutely thrilled with my new job. Of course, I just love the traveling salesman gig. Who wouldn’t?”
  • “Mom, I promise that I will exercise tomorrow. No, I haven’t had a chance to clean up the guest bedroom yet. I know, I know, it’s been nearly two years, I should have all of my boxes unpacked by this point.”
  • “Oh, my goodness! High-school-friend-I-am-reconnecting-with-for-the-first-time-in-eight-years! It’s so fantastic to see you again. Yep, I still write. Indeed, I still do love math. No, no kids. Who wants kids when they could take care of the virtual zoo my husband and I have started in our 1200 square foot home?”
  • “What’s up, neighbor-across-the-street-who’s-name-I-can-never-remember? Sure, I’ll bring in your mail for you while you’re on vacation this summer! No, we never go on vacation, no cash flow. I know! Everything is so expensive these days…”
  • “Holla, younger-sister-who-is-adorably-more-befuddled-by-life-than-I-am, I would love to offer you sage advice based on my years of experience in the real world. Please tell me your 4.75 college GPA hasn’t dropped a hundredth of a point! Oh no!” (Note: I didn’t know it was possible to get above a 4.0 GPA in college, either. Leave it to my sister to find that out…)
  • “Boss! Thanks for calling today, I appreciate that you took the time. I know, living in different states makes communicating difficult. It is weird not working out of a real office. Of course I’m adjusting to the traveling. No, I really don’t mind cold calling. It’s just ordering pizza that makes me cry…”
  • “Darling-sweet-and-wonderful-nieces-that-I-don’t-get-to-see-often-enough, never grow up. Never.”

It’s the talking to people who don’t quite get it that makes things so difficult. Are they really all that grown up, or are they really like me, faking it hard, and I’m just buying into it because I’m so desperate for someone to  have a clue what they’re doing?