Six Signs of Insanity

Or, Indications You Are Now Leaving Your Twenties

1. You spend three days boomeranging back and forth between feeling desperately jealous of every pregnant woman on the earth, and feeling massively relieved that you do not have a passel of shrieking brats like that girl behind you in the Target line does. You say to yourself, at various points within the same hour, “We should have a baby” and “What are we, nuts? We can’t have a BABY! Where would we put it once it outgrows the cradle, the kitchen? What if it falls off the porch steps? What if it doesn’t WANT to be an astronaut or a civil rights lawyer but wants to perform in drag shows instead and can’t sing? What if it has exactly the same shitty taste in men that I have? What if it does as many types of drugs as he has? This is the worst idea in the history of terrible ideas and just having once entertained it is enough to make me take a power drill to my left temple.” You buy a pregnancy test, do not take it, stare at it, and eventually chuck it into the garbage without ever opening it.

2. You send away for information about the Peace Corps and have dreams about doing medical research in Africa. You have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and think camping is something masochists do to pass the time between cutting sessions. You fill out the Peace Corps forms and dream about living in the Amazon.

3. You are listening, without any attempt to seem coolly ironic about it, to ABBA. Worse, you are singing along.

4. You can have entire, adult, non-animal-noise-contest-related conversations with all of your siblings, including the one you call “furball” and the one you call “fizgig.” You discuss what to do with your parents when they become old and feeble. Your baby sister, who last week it seems was drooling and sucking her thumb, dissects complex dating issues with you. Your little brother is setting up a 401K and is interested in what you think about politics. You hang up the phone and are torn between feeling accomplished at your collective maturity and the sudden desire to check the caller id and make sure you really were talking the boy you used to pelt with jelly beans.

5. You, having been in a committed relationship with a wonderful person you love and adore for years, make out with a stranger in a bar. Failing that, you not only take irrational pleasure in being hit on at the tollway plaza, but you go out of your way to encourage it, including strategically timed lipstick applications and hiking up your skirt a little as you ease off the accelerator.

6. In the middle of the shopping mall, you realize that half the stores deal solely in capri pants and slutty tank tops now, and the other half in muumuus, pink polyester pantsuits, and tapered pleated trousers with fake tropical prints of palm trees and toucans on them. You go home, go on Ebay, and begin buying vintage dresses. Shopping becomes so traumatic that you can only do it at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and even then you have at least one freakout in the Limited, imagining paranoidly that the clerks are all watching you take seven inappropriate skirts into the dressing room and thinking, “Yeah, right, fatass.” You order a pair of shoes from a catalog and wonder if you’ll ever leave the house again.