Arts journalism in 2013: opening a book review by disclosing that you’re an Internet friend of its author.
For Chelsea Fagan, the “here” in the title of her new book I’m Only Here for the WiFi seems to refer only to a coffee shop, but for many of her prospective readers, it might generally refer to life on Earth.
Chelsea Fagan’s new book I’m Only Here for the WiFi is subtitled A Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood, but an important thing to understand about Fagan’s approach is that, while she acknowledges that you might have mixed feelings about shuffling towards personal independence, Fagan is grown up and she’s not sad about it.
For a twenty-something to be writing a guide to life as a twenty-something might seem to some observers like a classic example of Millennials’ vaunted solipsism, but Chelsea Fagan is savvy to her socio-historical moment. “I think it’s easy to forget how amazing it is when someone reminds you, in your twenties, how ‘young’ you are, and how you have ‘so much time’ to be looking for what exactly you want out of life. That is such a huge step forward from pretty much every other point in history.”
In I’m Only Here for the WiFi, Chelsea Fagan helpfully subdivides the achievement of “reluctant adulthood” into eight categories: getting out of bed (and onto public transportation), getting a job (and striking that delicate income-generating/party-friendliness balance), finding a hobby (and spotting creepers at dance class), going out (and achieving no more than your desired level of drunkenness), dating (and knowing the pros and cons of banging someone in the copy room), balancing your budget (pro tip: have one), making friends (surprisingly difficult in adulthood), and generally “growing up.”
In I’m Only Here for the WiFi, her new Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood, Chelsea Fagan defines “adulthood” in terms that are both generous and challenging. To be an adult, she ultimately suggests, does not necessarily mean having a full-time job or being settled down with a partner or having kids—it means attaining emotional maturity.
Much of Chelsea Fagan’s Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood consists of general-purpose pep talk, but there’s some practical advice as well. For example, I just checked the balance of my bank account. Funny how you forget to do that.
Is Chelsea Fagan’s I’m Only Here for the WiFi for you? “It’s starting to feel like Chelsea wrote this book for me,” says Daisy Hinding of Wisconsin, Instagramming a chapter sub-headed “How to Find Things to Do That Don’t Depend Entirely on Drinking.” Hinding’s friend @carlyecurly, seeing the pic, promptly pledged to add it to “a massive reading list comprised of ‘books to read in your twenties’ that will likely take me the rest of my twenties to finish.”
There’s much in I’m Only Here for the WiFi to reassure young adults who are anxious about their life decisions, but perhaps the most comforting disclosure comes late in the book: Fagan, a self-assured woman with a happy life, a published book, and millions of blog hits, has somehow managed to accomplish all that without ever living in New York City.
“There is only one time in your life when a bunch of your closest friends are all going to get together and get drunk, run through a suburban neighborhood and draw dicks all over political lawn signs,” writes Chelsea Fagan in I’m Only Here for the WiFi, “and that time does not come after the age of nineteen.” That hasn’t exactly been my life experience…but that’s okay, I liked the book anyway.