Somewhere in between having the frame of my massive wardrobe fall on both of my feet and lugging a space heater on an uptown 2 train, adulthood really sunk in.
Which is kind of funny. Not the bruising-my-left-foot-and-breaking-the-skin-on-my-right-toe part (although let it be known that my father burst out laughing when I told him and, after reminding my mother of the time I almost literally broke my foot moving a heavy desk in my Medieval Lit class around this same time in 2011, she giggled too). It’s funny because by now, adulthood has already made its presence known in many little ways that would make one think I would notice it sooner: paying my own rent; worrying about finding doctors in NYC who take my insurance ( “Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield” sounds like a knock off of the “real thing”); turning twenty-two and having to work all day and then go to class afterward (yes, I just linked to my own blog).
Even still, writhing around my kitchen floor, hammering things in here and there, and scrutinizing the instructions while I had rather been cuddling in my bed watching I Love Lucy made me feel so “old” (and I use that term loosely). That whole doing things you have to do instead of doing things you want to do has never felt so real. This time last year I had two jobs while also going to school, but my responsibilities weren’t nearly as exhausting. When holidays came, I would be able to take two, three weeks off work. The coffee shop had plenty of baristas in rotation; Campus Rec shut down like everything else at UNC.
Now, not only can I not really take off that much time at once–I’ve yet to accrue any vacation time yet, anyway–I can’t really afford to. Because I’m going to need to, you know, pay for rent. And bills. And $5.00 loaves of bread. And beer.
Similarly, I couldn’t lie in my bed watching TV because eventually this wardrobe needed to happen. It wasn’t like one of my class projects that my mom would inevitably help me out with and excite me about once I’d lost interest1. My dad wasn’t there, either, to make it all look like a piece of cake.
On the other hand, a trip to the New York Public Library yesterday made me feel super young (mostly because I felt super inexperienced). I went to play around with microfilm for a bit, not really grasping what that meant. In the process, I learned that the archive room and the microfilm room are two very different things, and I learned that getting a library card is really easy. Once the security guard guided me in the right direction, and once I’d arrived in the right room, and once I’d received the so “helpful” information from an unsmiling librarian that the New York Daily News microfilm was “all the way in the back, on a self-serve basis,” I realized that I hadn’t really prepared for any of the actual research I’d been planning to do.
I knew what I wanted to find: the April 7, 1996 issue of the New York Daily News, in which my dad and I appear in a photograph that’s framed by a description of his court case against Golf Digest.
What I didn’t really know was that a) I was going to need a library card (just kidding–after fleeing from the microfilm room to get one, thinking I needed one to start the machine, I found out I actually didn’t need one at the time–glad I got one though.) I also learned that b) I was going to have to use an antiquated contraption in order to make the microfilm translate into anything useful. Choking on my pride–I’d just put together a wardrobe and bought a space heater, for Pete’s sake!–I YouTubed, Wiki-ed, Googled, just about AskJeeves-ed how to use a microfilm reader. I didn’t want to ask for help.
But the thing is, a lot of the microfilm readers I found online were fancy hi-tech ones. The ones that were open at the NYPLL were old ones, ones that I suspect had been there since the 1960s. So fiddling around with my phone while helpers (who didn’t include the unsmiling man) sat about fifteen feet away started to feel pretty counterproductive pretty fast. Once I finally broke down and had someone help me load the machine, it was smooth sailing.
Needless to say, I will definitely be back there. Considering how much I like old things, I can’t believe it took me that long. After I found the article on my dad, I perused through a New York Times article from 1898 about a failed train robbery. Story ideas, any one?
So that’s that. A wardrobe, a space heater (it even came with a remote!), AND microfilm research. Feeling like a pro. By the way, I still haven’t finished putting my wardrobe together yet. I literally need to put the drawer in and I’m done, but life just moves so fast…
1I’m remembering specifically drawing a picture of my pediatrician’s office, sometime around the time that incredibly diverse Rodgers & Hammerstein Cinderella premiered during The Wonderful World of Disney. By the way, I read that Keke Palmer is playing Cinderella in the first Broadway production that has had a black Cinderella. Is that rad or what? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtxPGAyESDA