Friday, October 07, 2005

How to be a teenager.























For an image to accompany this post, see http://www.tu-chemitz.de/phil/leo/bilder_neu/politicallycorrect.jpg (If the link does not work, try Google images for "political correctness.")

N.J.'s hackers prevent me from posting images, or accessing my writings at MSN, while suppressing my second book and obstructing all publication efforts.

I made the trip out to JFK late yesterday evening, waited for hours for my daughter's plane to arrive (it was about an hour late), carried her bags, took a cab home ("$45.00 plus tolls," gulp), because she was "too tired to take the train." I tried to communicate by hand gestures as she listened to her CD player, told her how much I missed her and loved her ... all of it so she could say: "Duh ..."

This morning, however, she was very talkative and explained that she had purchased a souvenir for me in Canada, better known in our home as "Rachel McAdams Land." If she makes me see The Notebook one more time I'll go into convulsions.

Life with a teenager is an alternative universe in which the same person, in an instant, is transformed from a gregarious, warm and affectionate child into a surly, angry, taciturn stranger from the land of semi-Goth, wearing black Converse high tops "as a sign of mourning for the human condition."

I would not give it up for anything in the world. I have no idea why it is true, but I love kids, even teenagers. It's adults that I can sometimes live without. My daughter is a world traveller (China, Canada, plans for Spain, to say nothing of Disneyworld when she was younger).

It occurs to me that most of the people I love, whatever their ages, are children. Both women who are closest to me are child-like, there are several kids that I love, and my mother in her mid-eighties still plays with her grandchildren and will always see The Wizard of Oz.

It may be a curious genetic mutation that runs in my family. And yes, the women I love are family. If it is, then I am not complaining about it because preserving a bit of childish wonder and innocence may be essential as a coping mechanism. Maybe there is a bit of a child-like quality in me. You think?

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