Three princesses and a platypus

Three princesses and a platypus came to my door Tuesday night.

That’s two Ariels and a Rapunzel. I know she was a Rapunzel because she announced it several times while her hand was stuck in the candy bucket.

Also, the long blond wig was a hint.

The Ariels were quieter, I suspect in part because they are younger. They are twins, the grandchildren of one of my neighbors who I swear is not old enough to have grandchildren, though I have to admit she is younger than me.

So much for reality.

I don’t have grandchildren. Heck, I don’t have children. Once, I overheard a friend of mine tell another mutual friend that I don’t like kids. Well, that’s not true. I love kids. I’m fascinated by kids.

They terrify me.

They terrify me because they are so in touch with the kind of clarity we adults seem to sail away from as the ship leaves the shore at birth and heads out to the open sea.

Kids don’t know yet how scary that open sea can be.

For one thing, there are choices.

Is there anything more apt to send us adults into a tizzy?

And we face them every day.

Oo.

We ask ourselves, Why, Lord, do I have to make this decision now?

I know I’ve muttered that under my breath a time or two, and probably not in such a politically correct way.

But choices are part of adulthood.

I know that now because I put off being an adult for as long as I possibly could.

It’s things like my neighbor’s grandkids dressed as princesses that remind me I chose adulthood a while back and I’m sticking with it.

That means I can utter any complaint I want to, but they are all meaningless.

I am an adult.

I embrace it.

And the choices that go with it.

On Tuesday, those of us who have chosen to be adults will go to the polls and vote in the municipal elections.

There will be children disguised as adults who will fuss and give all kinds of reasons for not doing this.

I don’t have time.

It doesn’t matter.

It won’t make a difference.

Here’s a question: How do you know?

I like that question. And I use it a lot at work. I mean, if, say, a reporter comes to me with a tidbit the first thing likely out of my mouth is, How do you know? And if he can’t answer that, he’s sent off searching.

You see, we often imagine that we know things.

One of my friends — who is very adult — calls these stories. They are telling themselves a story, she’ll say.

She is not referring to the kinds of stories you tell to a child at bedtime to help them sleep.

She’s talking about the kinds of stories we tell ourselves that frequently take the place of truth. They’re the kind of stories that help adults dock at the island of unreality and get stuck there.

Away from that island, in real life, there is time.

It does matter.

It does make a difference.

Why?

Because we adults have been tasked with preparing the best community we can for the three princesses and the platypus who came to my door on Halloween, trusting that I would give them candy and handle the choices for now.

Jane Curtis is the editor of The Messenger.

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