No Touching

Today is my birthday. I’ve reached the last year of my twenties, and for the past few weeks I’ve been wanting to do an inventory, of sorts, of things I’ve learned in my (almost) three decades on Earth. Last week I sat down and tried to do exactly that, but I ended up just staring at the blinking cursor for an hour then slowly sinking into a disappointment nap. Since then I’ve been able to actually come up with a few things I’ve learned, but I’ll let you be the judge of exactly how helpful or applicable they might be to your own life.

1. On Eyesight: I was a bit late in becoming a member of the glasses-wearing crowd. I should have been wearing them a few years earlier, but up until about six months ago I had always assumed that the ability to see clearly past about a half block away was just not possible for human eyesight. This has led to a lot of mishaps, usually wherein I don’t recognize people until they’re really close and have (in their mind) been ignoring them. After getting glasses I’ve learned two main things; no one will warn you how much it sucks to wear glasses in the rain, and it’s not smart to let anyone else try them on, lest they stretch them out and as a result they’re forever slipping down your nose.

2. On Restaurants: The other night I had a stress dream that I was back working in a restaurant that I worked in from ‘05 – ’10. All those familiar feelings of anxiety came rushing back in a head cloud of 86’d menu items and “water with no ice.” Guys, for the love of Desmond Llewelyn, please be nice to servers. Don’t snap your fingers at them, and no touching. I know this is a novel thought, but there’s actually no need to touch someone’s lower back while you’re ordering. And if you’re the type to run to Yelp to whine after an establishment runs out of bacon or you feel the server wasn’t ecstatic enough while bringing you your food and drinks, then at least make an effort to post to Yelp when you have a positive experience as well.

3. On Success: The older I get, the more I start to feel more sure that no one actually feels like they have it “together,” whatever that means. I feel fairly confident that the conventional norms and markers of a life lived “successfully” of marriage and children are most likely not in the cards for me, and that’s totally fine. I find that I’m happier bungling along, identifying my own markers of success and not comparing myself to others.

There you have it, the three small things I’ve learned in 29 years. I’m sure I could probably dredge up a few more, like to always keep the cap on a bottle of Lonestar, and that it’s totally acceptable to think Timothy Dalton is the best Bond. (I said it. I’m not sorry). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fire up The Living Daylights and pour myself a birthday drink. Cheers.

Zooey Mae has been working as a writer monkey for Synthesis Weekly since 2007. Her favorite things include (but are not limited to), Jeffrey Brown, bubble wrap, Craig Thompson, pillow forts, receiving handwritten letters, and whiskey. She spends her free time stockpiling supplies for the impending robot Apocalypse and avoiding eye contact with strangers.