Michael Battalio

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Serious conversations (part 56): Adulthood part 2

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The fifty-fifth – fifty-ninth entries deal with adulthood.

        Previously I considered some criterion for adulthood. Here I talk about the reactions of people when they realize my age.

        The days of being mistaken for a high school student are waining, though I am occasionally taken for one.  I find being mistaken for a college student equally as annoying.  Though, that is a bit more understandable.  Sometimes once people realize my actual age, they do begin to treat me as an adult, but other times the disdain continues. Their disdain does soften to incredulousness but remains bubbling on the surface.  I certainly felt it when, for example, that natural gas technician from the last post (see SC part 55, June 6, 2014) came to turn the gas on.  I had a young girl come to sell cookies and ask if I was even old enough to drive. It also happened when I had a person soliciting tree pruning services at my door a couple of weeks ago.  The guy could not believe I was the owner of the house.  He asked if my parents were home.  Speaking of that, another reason that I feel less adult like is that I have a small stature for a male, so when I have to talk to people I am generally looked down to as if I were a child in height. That is obviously my problem, not the person I am interacting with though.
        However, it certainly isn’t that people continue to patronize me after they learning my age, but they do treat me differently than what another person might be treated.  It bothers me to such an extent that I dread having to interact with people on an adult level, as in dealing with adult type things like banking or calling an exterminator, etc.  I even think some of my introversion was caused by my fear of interacting with adults as a child.  I remember a particular instance when my dad was feeling lazy and had me go into the bank and deposit a check for him.  I was trembling with fear, and I ran out without a deposit slip.  I was embarrassed and confused, and I was probably a teenager at that point with no reason to be so frightened.
        In reflecting on that last couple of paragraphs I realize how much of a humble-brag it is. I’m sure a lot of people my age would love to be mistaken for a high school student. And I’m sure as I continue to age I’ll be more and more appreciative of looking younger than I do, as a lot of our society is based on looks. So I really shouldn’t complain so much. The fear I have with interacting with people is a real problem I must deal with though.

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