Chopsticks: The Unspoken Hardship Of Adulthood

Sometimes, when you are an adult, you are expected to know how to handle yourself in certain situations. Like when a person lives in a cul de sac, you’re supposed to say something to acknowledge the fact that it is a cul de sac. When you go to a ball, you don’t wear a tiara unless you’re married. When you order a bottle of wine and the waiter pours a little in your glass first, you taste it, nod, and murmur “yes,” even if it doesn’t actually taste the way you expected. When your roommate comes back from vacation, you tell her she looks tan no matter where she went on vacation and no matter how tan she actually looks. When someone orders something gross at a restaurant, you don’t make a gross face every time they take a bite. And when you’re at a restaurant that only gives you chopsticks, you use the chopsticks the actual way you’re supposed to because you know how.

Unfortunately, sometimes, when you’re an adult, you find yourself not knowing what to do in some of these situations. Sometimes, you attempt to use the chopsticks for the millionth time and realize that, no, you are still not a person who can feed themselves with chopsticks. You look at the people around you and somehow they all know how to use chopsticks. And you think, What is wrong with me? Then, someone, for the millionth time, tries to teach you how to use chopsticks. “Hold this one like a pencil,” they say. And you say, Please, you are the millionth person who is trying to teach me how to use chopsticks, I promise you that you won’t be able to. And they say, Come on, just do what I say. Again they say, “Hold this one like a pencil.” You do. “Now take this one and…” and then they force the other one into your hand and move your fingers around — every time, they do this, as if they are hitting on you except you know that they are not for any of these reasons: they are related to you, they don’t like people of your gender, you just know that they are not  — and then they become frustrated that your fingers just aren’t going the way that they want them to. “Stop doing that, just let me–” they say, presuming that you are somehow forcing your fingers to not go the way they want them to, when in fact you want them so badly to just go the way they want them to because you are in a nightmare.

If they do get your fingers into an acceptable position around the chopsticks they say, “See, look, now try it,” and then they move their chopsticks around with incredible ease, as if their ease is supposed to somehow make you understand that using chopsticks is easy and oh yeah, you know how to do it. And then you try to pick up something with your chopsticks, your fingers still in the position into which they were forced, and you still cannot do it. You find that you can’t even move the chopsticks at all anymore. And your chopstick teacher looks at you, frustrated, dumbfounded, and pitying. “See?” you say, “I just can’t do it.” “That is so weird,” they’ll say, while you begin using your chopsticks in a very weird way — whatever way you can to make the food just go into your stupid mouth.

Then, one of two situations arises. Either your friend will ask, “Do you want a fork?” And you will say “YES I DO,” but only in your head, until someone just gets you a fork even though you’re pretending you’re ok without one. Or, a waiter will come over and silently leave by your plate a fork, or the child version of chopsticks with a rubber band at the end. You know that you should feel embarrassed, but you only feel relief. (Via Buzzfeed.)