May 26: speaking as an unparent

People with children (yes, people with children are the majority of the population) are very tiresome when they talk about their kids whom you have never met. They tell you some laborious tale and you have to fix a contented, honorific smile up for its duration. All the while you are thinking but I have never met Oscar or Felicity. Sometimes Oscar or Felicity are now grown up and this is an ancient tale, as ancient as the House of Atreus, and you still have to be imagining them young as when this story was first minted. It is like when you listen to canned laughter from an old sit-com and you know that all that laughter is from dead people. Stale dead laughter from distant galaxies. And when that is the case and the story is from when Felicity was a cute little thing of three and winningly tripped up and fell into a dish of jelly and got a glace cherry on her nose and now Felicity is thirty-two and lives in Milton Keynes with her computer programmer husband with an ugly beard and tatoos and Felicity ain’t no looker herself nowadays, when it is like that even Felicity finds these ritual repetitions of the glace cherry story unbearable too, then you suddenly wonder what the telling of this story is all about and who it’s for. Not Felicity who isn’t here and hates it, not us who don’t care and have never met Felicity young or full grown. It’s for some strange psychodrama of your life. Speaking as an unparent, it is fascinating but tiresome.

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