The 9 to 5 people in Vienna--at the tram stop, on the subway--are serious. Expensive shoes, expensive eyeglasses. Briefcases. Combinations of clothes which could be described as "ensembles."
And then there is me. Sneakers. T-shirt. A duct-taped watch band. Holding a mug full of coffee from our kitchen. The mug reads "I (Heart) NY."
I'd like to be well put-together. I have the same style gods the other dudes have--Gregory Peck, Hank Fonda, Clooney--and they're all men who can rock a suit. Heroically. But the truth is, me myself and I more closely resemble a different Hollywood hunk: Woody Allen. And I drive like him too.
But I was flipping through a film encyclopedia last night, and came across a still from Annie Hall: Diane Keaton and the Woodman, in khaki pants and shirts with actual collars, standing and chatting, cocktails in hand, on a Manhattan rooftop. Suddenly I went winsome. 'Even Woody Allen looks more like an adult than I do.'
Was I ever a true grown-up In New York City? I was married, highly-paid, and a responsible cat-owner--in other words, I fit the description of a real man. But did anyone really take me seriously?
Thought the haze, I remember being at Manhattan rooftop parties, Mojito in hand, chatting with important and powerful people, but I know I didn't look as much like a player as Woody Allen does in those trousers. And I've heard plenty of people in my generation say the same thing: "I don't really feel like an adult."
Sometimes I think that since we moved here, and we met our second child, and I've become a manager, I've changed. God knows, by ten p.m. most nights, I'm as tired as an adult.
The conventional wisdom is that some people achieve adulthood, while others have it thrust upon them. I think I've backed into it. Wearing hip hop styles or raver pants is not an option. Long hair, or anything else which covers my eyes, is out. Maybe I've become an adult because I no longer wish to dress like a kid. That would hurt other people more than it would me.
I didn't become responsible so much as discover that it was required of me.
It's also practical: having breakfast with two small but quick-witted kids is just easier if you're sober.