Whoa I’m not used to a full week working the day job any more. It’s left me with a full Reader so if you’re waiting for a comment, reply or ack. Apologies for the delay.
My trips to London are always illuminating and this one was no exception. At dinner I found myself with three of the workshop participants who, between them, had seeded this planet with eleven little look-alikes ranging from 2 to 20 years. This left me the odd one out since I’ve never had the slightest urge to contribute even one mini-me to the human race.
This, to me unremarkable fact, created a fluttering of feathers in the dovecote; looks were exchanged; questions were formulated (in the nicest possible way). I sat back and waited.
“Don’t you feel you’ve missed out by not having your own children?”
No – my choice and no regrets.
“Don’t you feel, well …just a bit unfulfilled?”
Er, no again.
“Who will you have around you when you get old?”
I’ll throw myself on the mercy of the State.
By way of compensation for my childless condition, I was treated to the life and times of eleven completely unknown sprogs. Oh the births, the schooldays, the visits to A&E, the girlfriends/boyfriends, the costs – this epic of parenthood continued for a couple of hours until rigor set in and I fell off my chair. The empty wine bottles on my side of the table were pure coincidence.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not Cruella de Vil of baby world. Granted I find them difficult to get on with; perpetually moist at both ends, they cry lustily whenever a misguided mother tries to plant one in my arms. But otherwise when they’re a bit older children and me- we get along just fine.
Take the toddler on the train mining his left nostril and depositing the er…deposits on the back of the seat. We had an animated conversation whilst his mother chatted to her friend.
Or the exuberant, full of the joys of life youths throwing empty drink cans at my car in downtown Hull. Although their vocabulary range was just a teensy bit limited we held a full and frank exchange.
I certainly don’t get uptight about the fascinating, high-volume, fast-paced mobile phone conversations between girl-friends, you know, like, puncturing the silence of the Quiet Coach, you know, like, on the train. I have my earplugs with me.
I’ve even been known to go all warm and fuzzy watching little sticky fingers wave goodbye from the backseat as their mum’s car disappears down my drive and I reach for the stain remover and sponge.
No-one can accuse me of being insensible to the abilities of other folks’ children. In fact I think I can safely say I’m one of the most tolerant non-parents around in this part of the world.
Now, time to let slip the dogs and pull up the drawbridge.