Last week on the subway, I walked in on an awkward scene: A kid of maybe 11 was talking to a guy about my age who was either his father or his uncle. The kid was jabbering nonstop—something about how he wanted to be dropped in the middle of the city and find his way home, and about how he wanted to create a secret club for native New Yorkers—and his desperation was palpable. That’s because the dad/uncle, reclining, his hoodie pulled up, his eyes closed, was mostly nonresponsive.
What a fucker, I thought. But I was thinking it of both of them. The fact is, the kid was massively annoying, and if I was his caretaker I’d’ve tried to block out his stupid grating voice as well.
It reminded me of how much I hate kids’ conversations in general. If you’ve ever been in the subway between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m., you know what I mean. Something happens when kids hit the age of 11 or 12—they get stupid, they talk about stupid shit, they become loathsome creatures you’d rather just avoid.
Or at least this is true of other people’s kids. I’m sure we are all in awe of our own children’s communicative abilities, no matter that outsiders find their words at best unintelligible, at worst inane. To me, Sasha saying something like “Yes, I really, really like lollipops!” is unbearably cute; to the rest of the world, it’s probably just unbearable. And my own words to her probably aren’t much better—I coo, I mutilate English grammar, I say her name way, way, way too often. If I weren’t me, I’d move to another car.