The first time I felt truly "adult" was when I was 23. OK, so some of you maybe felt that way when you were 18 and went off to college. Well la-dee-da, OK? I was always a late bloomer I guess. Anyway.
When I was 23, I was drowning in notices from the local gas and oil company demanding payment for. . .I had no idea. I knew there was a big oil tank in the backyard of the 2-bedroom house I was renting. I knew that when I attempted to turn on the heat for the first time there was a loud clunking noise from the pipes but no freakin' heat. They also called me at home, at work and even called my parents at one point---they got the emergency contact from the rental company.
Here's what I knew: I was a reporter at my hometown newspaper. I made about 12 cents an hour after taxes, and I was darned if I was going to cough up another dime for nonexistent heating oil when there were Ramen noodles and lip gloss to buy. Also, it's really embarrassing to have your Daddy call you at your grown-up job inform you that if you can't pay your bills you need to cart your delinquent self back home.
So, after many tearful explanations on the phone with the oil place (me) and cold, life-sucking responses (them), I went down to the oil place on my lunch break. One of the mixed blessings of living in a small town was that everyone knew you, your grandma and the fact that your Uncle Emmett was once married to a sheep. Not really, but you get the idea. Well, turns out that the important guy at the oil place did know my Granny. I told him about the thermostat situation, my empty oil tank and showed him the stack of notices. I told him about the evil, soul-crushing person who kept calling me. He gave a sideways look toward the older woman at the counter. I cast a quick glare myself. Within about 15 minutes, we worked it out. I wrote a check for about half the amount they'd asked for, with a guarantee that someone would be out to fill the tank. "When?" I asked? "I'll have Mike follow you out there right now."
So, I worked it out. Me, at 23. And I felt very grown-up. How the heck was that 20 flippin' years ago?? I'm 43 today and I feel exactly the same. Well, mostly. Also, I had this cute, funny co-worker when I was 23 who thought he was All That because he wrote a humor column with his picture at the top. Well, I guess he was All That, at least to me. Plus, he kind of liked me. Well, turns out he really, really likes me! Enough to travel to Ukraine with me to find our beautiful baby girl. Enough to not faint dead away when I got pregnant two months later. And, enough to take me to the fair on my 43rd birthday! Yaaaay!