It’s getting harder to stifle my yawns when listening to other people’s bucket lists. If your best dream of excitement is jumping from a plane (with equipment that’s heavier than a frozen turkey) or swimming with a shark (you’ll be in a cage-the shark will be free to leave), by all means go for it. Spend your money on the shortest and most expensive high of your life. I much prefer rebooting; new recreations of me.
It’s never been a big deal to reboot. Children do it all the time. Kindergarteners switch future careers three times a day. They’ll say, “I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. I’m gonna be a lawyer. Someday, I’ll be a beautician like Marlene’s mom.” That’s because they view all endeavors as noble. The power of a courtroom closing argument is no more fantastic than the creation of a perfect hair-cut. We wouldn’t tell children, “You can’t be a dentist. You’ve already said you wanted to be a lion-tamer. No med school for you, young man-- you’re off to join the circus.” Yet grown-ups often stay where they no longer wish to be.
I believe we were born to search for our hearts’ delights. It’s why George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.” George was right. My first reboot was in high school. I was a soon-to-be-drop-out teen with bangs too long and skirts too short when my father made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, “your mom and I will work very hard to send you to private school. You pick the school and turn your life around.”
I rebooted at Eron Prep in Manhattan; surrounded by ultra-rich students (I can’t tell you what their dads did for a living so just think Donald Trump rich.) I was readily accepted by my classmates who liked my wise-cracks and never figured out what a struggle it was for my parents to make tuition payments. One day, a nouveau-rich mom arrived at school wrapped in Blackglama mink. My old-moneyed friends sniveled at her crass behavior, “So gross! My mother would never wear mink in the morning. Adrienne’s wouldn’t either. Right, A?” I nodded in snooty agreement, safe in the assurance that my mother had no furs to wear at any time.
I blossomed in my new environment-the rush of New York commuters in the morning, catching museum exhibitions after school, rocking at au Go Go at night and encountering film and theater stars who greeted me as they scooted to their limos. It was three years of living like an American princess and I loved my reign.
After college I rebooted to wife, mother, single-mom, wife again and teacher of the gifted. Each new choice helped raise a new me. The sudden pre-mature death of my father changed me overnight from the Adrienne who got by as a daddy’s girl into a woman. It was a tough rebooting, but it made me both bolder and more compassionate after my season of mourning.
As a teacher, I loved everything about my students, my subjects; English and History, teaching, sharing and learning. And as a teacher, I hated everything about administration, paperwork and the UFT. When cookie-cutter learning came in-I rebooted out to become a writer.
It was no surprise that my working title for Alice Again was Reboot. As I rebooted into a fantasy-romance novelist, Alice was rebooting in an alternate universe called Red Sky—Neither she nor I regret our decisions—