I brought my three girls to school this morning and in tow I had the two year old boy and the baby in a stroller. We wait with all the other children in the parking lot outside school. Although I tend to be an anti-social lout the baby tends to be an attention grabber and a gathering point for moms, dads and children.
And as the baby can’t answer any of the questions posed to her I am dragged into all sorts of uncomfortable conversation. Because after I answer the obvious questions, “She’s eight months” and “She sleeps through the night” and “good eater” then we feel like we still have to talk. This is where I’m not good -at all.
Look, I’m the ideal plane passenger. You sit down next to me I’m polite, I’m showered (usually), I chew with my mouth closed, and I won’t ever start long winded and pointless conversation. Pretty much you’d be hard pressed to get me talking until I actually saw the engine fall off somewhere over South Carolina. Even then I’d probably just pray pretty quietly. So I’m good for a plane ride but school parking lots are not my thing.
I don’t chit chat. You can’t even get a chit out of me, never mind a chat.
But today a little tiny five year old girl walked up to us and she announced nonchalantly that she has a fish named Francis.
“That’s a nice name,” I say because I don’t mind children speaking nonsense to me.
“We got another fish named Nemo yesterday,” she adds.
“Oh!” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Nemo ate Francis,” she said.
“Oh?” I responded.
“Now Francis lives in the trash can,” she said nonchalantly.
“Oh,” I said.
Then she turned and walked away as if she were simply doing her duty of promulgating Francis’ demise to every short chubby bearded man she saw.
Sometimes I think if parents could speak more to the point like their children we’d have a lot better time in the parking lot.