Category / Nostalgia

Father working on computer while on train.

1. NOT SO HOSPITABLE. My youngest daughter recently took a train to New York city, and she described her process of deciding whom to sit next to if there were no row of seats she could have to herself. First, she looks for another teenaged girl, whom she assumes won’t mind having a kindred spirit by her side. Next, she looks for older women whose maternal instincts might prevent them from objecting to having a companion at their elbow for the journey. Finally, as a last resort, she’ll plop down next to a teenaged boy, as long as he looks like someone who won’t try to hit on her for the whole ride. I was shocked to learn that an older man in her father’s demographic wasn’t even in her consideration set. When I asked why, she explained, “Businessmen give you that annoyed look when you walk by their seat, like you’d better not dare to bother them while they work on their computers and phones.” I felt appalled that any man would glare so rejectingly at my daughter, until I remembered when I ride the train I probably use the same look to ward off other fathers’ teenagers.

Father trying to hurdle the messes kids leave around the house.

1. OBSTACLES EVERYWHERE. Clothes and books deposited on the stairs, apparently destined for the upstairs bedrooms. Nearly full juice boxes placed on the floor beside chairs. The doors of nearly every major appliance – dishwasher, washing machine, dryer – routinely left open. Mugs of forgotten cocoa perched precariously at the edges of tables. Instrument cases left smack dab in the middle of the living room floor. Sometimes I suspect my daughters are deliberately setting up an obstacle course around our house to see if I can make my way through it without spilling liquids or tripping over something. So far, my scores on the course are shockingly low.