List of Boring Adult Things I Do

 
 

Complete minor safety recall services on my car in a timely fashion
Make mental notes about tax deductibles
Rinse out ziploc bags, turn them inside out, and line them up neatly to dry for re-use
Talk about the importance of self-care at parties
Set up automatic renewal of checks from my bank
Use checks at all
Research the glycemic index
Collect names for children even after deciding not to have any
Pay for digital media because it’s easier than stealing it
Become aware of hormonal decision-making
Keep several plants in every room and secretly feel this makes me superior
Prioritize early mornings over late nights
Spend $70 on a trash can that looks nicer in my kitchen and enjoy many compliments
Consider how much more I like myself now than I did when I was younger
Become a Sustaining Member
Go days without engaging entire muscle groups and suffer the consequences
Nearly fully grasp global geopolitical events and make efforts to weave this into conversation
Spend a lot of money on skincare
Get drunk at 4 and go to bed at 8
Find hope and joy in the routine nature of everyday successes
Feel guilty about my lipid panel
Feel guilty about everything
Buy comfortable, unnattractive bras
Choke on the preciousness of life while watching children play in a fountain
Keep track of dry spells from sex and liquor and dairy products
Come to feel ambivalent about physical flaws and wonder if this is maturity or simply giving up
Listen to podcasts for nine hours straight and consider this a triumph
Realize with some panic that middle age is now closer than my college years
Abhor and scold my superficiality
Speak from experience more often than from imagination
Sulk in the chasm between my Self and my Imagined Being
Keep a reliable supply of benzodiazepine
Find trashy reality TV suddenly unpalatable and wonder if this is maturity or arrogance
Deeply fear that my skills and charms are merely figments of delusional self-preservation
Love people enough to self-destruct in their interest
Cry hysterically while driving because it is the only space I am assured to be alone
Resonate so deeply with art, and music, and prose as to be left quivering and stupefied
Find the pain of nostalgia unmanageable and disassociate to cope
Come to accept that I’ll never be as great as I thought I’d be when I was a little girl
Redefine greatness and know this is wisdom
See the future and consider it mine
 

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Graham Hart

Stupid

Alcohol is making me stupid.

 
 

Yesterday I was slicing up a pear with an insufficiently sharp knife when I forgot your name. I knew it wasn’t Adam or Steve, but I had no idea about any of those J options, Justin or Jordan or Jeff. I squinted, because squinting is the international sign of remembering stuff, but all I got was a blurry pear that I wound up putting in the blender anyway. It was only okay. I’m too stupid these days to mind drinking my food. Then I read your name in an email from the landlord complaining about your boots, still in the hall, all eight pairs, or maybe seven and a half. Now I’ll never know if I’d have remembered your name on my own, or if my recently stupefied brain had tossed it to lighten to load, the way you do when carrying all your worldly possessions while attempting to outrun a tsunami, which is a dream I constantly fucking have. It’s exhausting, and totally inconvenient because it happens while you’re sleeping. Like what the fuck.

Youtube is also making me incredibly stupid. I used to read lengthy articles in reputable publications and come away with cogent thoughts, but now I just lap up Youtube from a bowl on the floor. I haven’t seen a stipple portrait in over a decade. I was trying to explain this to the librarian downtown, but she didn’t recognize my request for a delicately scripted fig.a, ideally in the original latin—please, miss, anything with a footnote will do, I said, but it came out “fupnuff” and then my tongue slid out wetly from between my jaws and collected in a pool at my feet, too stupid to keep the company of my teeth, which have purpose. 

Other things making me stupid include flavored water, everything packaged for one-time use, and Sears; an establishment I never enter but whose vapors permeate the atmosphere and turn the rain into Windex. Convenient, but it’s poison. If you don’t bring your boots inside they’ll be indigo blue by spring. 

Being so stupid, I miss the subtleties which used to guide me, so I oaf around my life with heavy confusion and trample many daisies. Tolerance is a burden, art is overrated, rejection melts pointlessly where it once impaled. I don’t find this ignorance blissful, as the freshman philosophers warned, but it’s a wide, smooth blankness to splay across, and it’s easy on my back. If you told me that you were leaving for good, or that you loved me deeply, I may have missed it, too stupid to listen—but send me a text.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Graham Hart

Crumbs

In a moment of highly distilled, 140-proof girlhoodness, I extend my seeking fingers into a bag of drawer contents (circa age 12) which had been decanted from some post-dresser storage bin into a small Anthropologie shopping bag under the pretense of “do something with this,” and come out grasping by only the treads in the pads on my fingers a seated unicorn, small and white and porcelain (read: ceramic), golden illegible Chinese sticker intact on grainy belly and all. Of all the small objects in all the rattling plastic jewelry boxes in the world, this was mine.

 
 

One darkened motionless drawer-sit and 150% of a decade later, the keeper of this unicorn and its herd will evolve into a soft bellied woman plagued by ladies' minutiae: the waxy negotiation of eating a bite-into-it fruit with lipstick on, the sting of hips imprinted by high-waist jeans, the stains and flesh and sighs, each mechanism of the body broken by the very task it was designed to perform.

Nostalgia’s curse is the sick smile that precedes tears, it's the pleasure inside grief. Sadly the amnesiac finds no respite in sleepit's just more blankness, and I can't give up my bed. These fragments of your life you may miss so desperately as to be left bewildered and dully pained by the sloping imprint in soft gray matter, by memory's absent bruise. Maybe there are some people you spend your life missing, maybe I’ll die choking on your name.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Graham Hart

Nobody

“Nobody will ever care about you as much I as do,” he said to me, for himself. 

This, I know, is impossible to state. He’s always doing that: making statements of fact which quantify the immeasurable or inform the ineffable or somehow (or other) cross over those all-important boundaries which separate words from meaning. He’s always doing this, throwing substance to the wind like so much useless chaff, preferring to enjoy each word in the vacuum of its individual resonance. He’s always behaving this way, igniting tiny explosions, and the carelessness of his overwrought expression makes my lip twitch. And not in a cool sexy way, like an ingénue fighting her way to first billing, but in quite another way altogether.

He’s looking at me now, eyes pleading, his face a screwed-up confusion between the two very different sentiments he’s expressing as one, smashed together in an incongruous and ultimately soggy emotional sandwich. He looks at me; challenging, insulting, baring his teeth, an ornery toddler kicking helplessly at a blue-veined parental ankle. And yet his purpose here, the jelly center buried beneath layers of molting pastry crust, is to keep me and resign me to the truth he knows, awaken me from the evil spell that’s stolen me away and return me to fat n’ happy Day-Glo devotion. Because I couldn’t possibly, couldn’t conceivably know what I want. And I’m so wrong. But, he says, when I realize this mistake, I can return. He will take me back; he says to me, for himself.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Seth Barnard

Keys

I may not have _____ but I have this one thing.

 
 

It is a comically oversized, perfectly tactile everywhere-with-me companion, and it descends from my ignition like the ornamental tail on state fair blue ribbon beast of burden. I purchased it online from a 80px by 80px avatar who lives in Iowa crafting things by hand and eating, I assume, at Arby’s, as one does. I paid $13.95 for shipping, expedited.

Mothers may cry GERMS, and fathers SELF-INDULGENCE.

What would possess me to spend one fifth of my financial holdings ($500ish dollars and some long-forgotten Paypal bucket dregs) on this one beautiful thing? Is it the professorial appeal of gen-u-ine leather? Is it the tangible effect of it, whether grasped by rounded palm or grazed over thigh in a fringy salutation? No. It’s because it is so much itself and nothing else, in the way that an apple is the fruitiest fruit, far fruitier than a banana or pear. It’s because it makes me happy every time I see it.

And besides, what else is one’s money for? (TO EAT! you may hear echoing from down the long cold hallway of your personal growth and development, TO SAVE AND GROW!) I can’t hear you, you’ll say, and motion to the cans ensconcing your ears. Podcast, you mouthe. Bluetooth.

This thing of mine ages with me, it is a timeline. Brand new it was completely perfect. Worn, it is more interesting. When the materials are good, there is no worn “out.” Tell that to your daughter when she is 29 and sniffing for mold.

Without this one thing, I go nowhere. My car is a rock. My front door an obelisk. My nervous hands left empty. It is the impetus of both going and returning---surely the two best reasons to move. People are always losing their keys in case studies and spanish language exercises and sitcoms and big fat alibi lies. How the fuck do you really lose your keys? I can’t. I never ever would.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Graham Hart

Exams

Last night, during what would prove to be an insufficient sleep (even now, at 10:34 a.m., I look not unlike a boiled radish as a result), I dreamt a Sunday edition four-panel comic strip.

 
 

Window pane layout, wiggly hand drawn borders, tiny precise signature and all. In it, four established characters, the types of ne’er-do-well animal scamps to inhabit the Bloom County universe, or some neighbor to it, lounged in a cardboard box. They nestled head to toe, like high heeled shoes arranged neatly in a tissue’d square, their furry ears and elbows spilling over droopy sides. They napped, or near napped. Floating above them may have been an open-air asterisk, or some other tool of the cartoonist’s pencil which communicates such things without there being a rule book or MLA guide to define them.

In the second panel, someone awakes with a start from either sleep or reverie. WHEN ARE EXAMS?! he demands. Or maybe WHUNAHREXAMS! would suit the purpose. This, I believe, is a dream we all have, recurring for years after the minacious grip of the semester (or—pitiably, for most—quarter) system is released in favor of one long, beige block of Job. I’ve missed the exam. The exam is today and not un-today as I’d thought; and I’m not ready, I have no bluebook, I have a bluebook but it’s sopping wet, every line is filled in with scribbles, it disintegrated in my hands, it’s made of stone, of ice, of live worms, my pen is out of ink, my pen is not a pen but something else altogether, my pen is a carrot. I have an exam but never went to a single class, what class is this? Seminar? Workshop? Where’s the syllabus? I fail. I wake up.

He wakes up, this badger or beaver or vole. WENUHRXMS! His fellows gaze at him, languid eyelids drawn with a greasy sheen. They smile, serene, as wise to this plight as we readers. Everyone in the box gets to have a chuckle. This box is for easy-breezy meadow folk. Admiration all around for the Best Life Ever, one so good it’s populated by the only-imaginable, the impossible, in color every Sunday. The final panel offers a fat n’ happy speech bubble coming from one or the other as he settles comfortably back into inanity. “King of the castle,” he says. King of the castle.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Seth Barnard

 

Breakfast Nook

I am sitting in a breakfast nook when I find that I am inside out.

I am seated on a sort of banquette, but wider and more plush than those found in a Denny’s or a Hometown Buffet. It doesn't smell like a Hometown Buffet either, except for a faint plasticky flavor to the air, which at a Hometown Buffet would be emanating from the vinyl upholstery of said banquette seating as it is compressed and re-inflated by the crush and absence of ample adult rears and children’s feet. Here, though, the smell is most likely the not-unexpected side effect of a cheap automatic dishwasher unit, coil too hot for the correspondingly priced plastic-wear on the bottom rack.

I find that I am inside out, and the petroleum smell hanging in the air is promoted from annoyance to a vague concern, as I do not know the effects of such molecular aggressions on my now-vulnerable, now-outward innards. Being that I am inside out, a Hometown Buffet may have been a more appropriate choice, as a vinyl banquette is surely easier to clean than a plush one, and yellow no less. I am sure the staff there deals with spills of all varieties regularly. I imagine the frequency of vomit to be higher there than, say, a Marie Calendar’s—but it’s possible I only have this impression because of a story once told to me about the ritualistic feasting of an entire water polo team.

Anyway, they start with sawdust.

Words by: Adria Kloke
Illustration by: Seth Barnard