supposed to die

In which I get to be the grownup

One of the first times I ever rode in a taxi was in New York City. In my home town, there might have been one taxi. Maybe.  My town was so small that even an escalator was something exotic. Anyway, that time in New York, I was in my 20s, I wasn't a kid, but still I got in the front seat with the driver.

This must have been a pretty big novelty, because he ended up proposing to me. He offered to drive us to a nearby state with no waiting period so we could be married immediately.  (I totally stole this scene for my first book, Circles of Confusion.)

It might also have been on this same trip that I was exposed to headphones that connected under your chin.  I was only familiar the kind that went over the top of your head in a band, but I figured the headphones they handed me in the plane were the same.  I ended up looking liking I had an antennae. I still remember how red my face went when I noticed my seatmate giving me weird looks.

It has surprised me that as I have gotten older, things still scare me and I still do things wrong. I'm an adult. I'm verging on old. Shouldn't I just know how to do things? For example, it still makes me nervous to drive a rental car. Even with GPS in the car and on my phone, I can easily get lost.

This week I'm going to North Carolina and then New York.  I still get a little anxious about the subway. About getting lost and panhandlers and rushing people. In the city, I tend to walk everywhere and tell myself it's exercise, but it also feels more like I'm in control.

As soon as I get back, I have to do something that is going to require me to be a grownup. I'm going to be with someone who is dying. Be there until the end.

When my dad was dying, he said, "You learn how to do it just by doing it."  I don't think he was referring to death - he had Alzheimers and was not particularly oriented (to the point he no longer remembered my name).  Still, what he said was true.  You learn how to do anything just by doing it.  And maybe it comes easy and maybe it comes hard, but you still learn.

And I will learn how to do this.

The only way out is through.
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I live in NYC and I seldom take the subway. I prefer to walk or take a bus. The bus service has improved, although it's confusing at first. The new Select buses are similar to Limited buses, both of which skip stops. But you have to buy a ticket before you get on a Select bus. Ask someone if you're not sure. Make sure you buy a metro card for either buses or subways. Aside from that, NYC is really an easy city to get around in. Hope you have fun.
Sorry about the grown-up part when you get home. There's not much to say except that you do what you have to do. Hang in there.
That's so true about doing what you have to do. We have all looked at people and wondered "How do they do that?" But when it's you, you realize you do it because you have to.

Thanks for the heads up on Select and Limited buses.
When I was in NY for my first time, I took a cab. I was so stoked to flag it down all by myself. Like a real grown-up. Sometimes it still surprises me. Grownupness.
I know what you mean! It's like you've watched it a million times on TV or movies, but you feel that if you yourself try everyone will know you are a fraud and only pretending to know how to do it.