Thursday, April 23, 2015


A few weeks ago I was on the train with Baby, as we do. Baby, as you know, is adorable; so much so, that passerby often feel the need to express how adorable he is; and I, despite my well cultivated misanthropy, have learned to accept such remarks more or less graciously.

But when someone decides to talk to me for ten minutes about how cute my child is, I feel my limits are being pushed.

As with most talkers, he had no intention of actually communicating any information. I know this because Baby actually tried to talk to him, and since Baby's conversation starters generally consist of

You watch Thomas show?

You watch Elmo show?

You watch Thomas show, Island of Sodor?

he was completely confused and instead, because he had the compulsive need to talk, just kept saying how cute Baby was, in slightly different ways, over and over and over again.

It took an unusual number of avoided eye contacts and one-word answers, but he finally got the hint and left. To the other side of the car, where he began talking to another stranger about how cute my child was

and then topped it off like a stupid alcoholic cherry with the remark "That guy, though. Kinda sinister, like maybe he's not really his dad, y'know?"

Because the only reason I wouldn't want to make small talk endlessly with such an exceptional conversationalist was if I had abducted a child.

The rest of the trip was, for me, an exercise in acting natural, since apparently this doesn't come naturally to me.

“Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them.” --C. S. Lewis

It was a long rest of the trip for me, though Baby seemed none the worse for the experience.

When I got off the train with Baby in the stroller a couple of stations later, of course this man got off at the same station and we made eye contact on the platform.

Without even meaning to, I sent him a glare that said

I am everything you think I am and worse

Go ahead, say I'm not his father to my face

If you tell me how cute my child is again, I will throw you off a tall building

He started, and looked down after only a millisecond of that glare. But after that, believe me, I kept that glare on him until I had completely walked past.

Because I may be kinda sinister, but I am Baby's father.