Respect yourself, do unto others, and turn off your cellphone: Charlotte Rahn-Lee's simple and sensational rules of the road.
What is the most memorable moment from your 18th year?
A lot changed in my life when I was eighteen. I remember my move to college: the wonder and excitement of it, and also the anxiety of starting life in a new place. The night before my twin sister and I were dropped off for our freshman year at Bryn Mawr College we stayed at a hotel with my parents near the campus. The town had an old-fashioned, loud fire bell that went off in the middle of the night. I remember lying awake, wondering what this frightening place was, full of emergencies. Also, in my eighteenth year, I won the Young Playwrights Inc National Playwriting competition and came to New York for a week of workshops, rehearsals and readings. I remember navigating midtown on my own for the first time, feeling very small, soft and quiet in a world of large, hard, tall things.
When did you feel like you became an adult?
Gosh, am I one? I feel like I've become an adult only by degrees. The time I had to apply for my own health insurance, I felt a bit more like an adult. The summer during college that I lived in an apartment in Philadelphia and had to learn how to do my own grocery shopping. Maybe later this year, when I become an aunt for the first time, I will feel even more like an adult.
What is the most important rule you follow?
What is the worst rule you’ve broken?
I'm very bad at breaking rules. I'm constitutionally unfit for it. I get very nervous and uncomfortable and turn bright red. For example, a few months after I graduated I stopped using my perfectly valid-looking student ID to get student discounts to things, even though I had very little money. I just couldn't do it. I have a horror of being found out. I don't like this about myself. I wish I could learn to break rules now and then. Without the ability to break rules, you're vulnerable to any authority, whether they're just or not.
What rule would you love to break, but haven’t?
I would love to call in sick to work once when I'm perfectly well and have a spontaneous Ferris Bueller-style day of fun. I can't do it though; see my previous answer.
Who’s the biggest rule-breaker you know?
At the moment, my sister's dog, Maya. She knows she's the world's most adorable Boston Terrier and in her old age she has decided that she can do whatever she wants, thank you very much.
What rule do you wish more people would follow?
I have two for you: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (the world would be so much better if everyone had more empathy for each other) and turn off your damn cellphone when you're in the theater!