My daughter Eleanor is a marvelous storyteller. As I’ve written before, no one would say she’s reliable. But she has a gift for the gab. She’s been on stage since she was four. Each of her teachers eventually tells Eleanor she should be a lawyer when she grows up.
Ironically, it’s my daughter Rosalind who argues like a lawyer. (Eleanor just makes things up, then says them with conviction and panache. That’s a different kind of lawyer.)
Usually Eleanor is the more sophisticated one, but Rosalind is the sophist. She will pick nits and split hairs, and never answer the damned question. Of course as a lawyer I can’t resist getting sucked in and debating her. Until Rosalind’s logic gets a little too Alice in Wonderlandy, and I remember she’s 12 years old and it’s past her bedtime.
We have a friend who rents the mother-in-law suite in our house. This morning Rosalind observed she hadn’t seen him around much lately. (Actually he hasn’t slept in his own bed for over a month.)
I suggested he’d probably been spending a lot of time with his boyfriend.
Rosalind: Then why doesn’t he move in with him?
Papa: Er, it’s a small apartment.
Rosalind: He could rent a storage unit. (Rosalind is next in line to get the extra room if there’s a vacancy.)
Papa: Well, that costs money. And maybe they like having their own space.
Rosalind: Aren’t they boyfriends?
Papa: Yes, but it’s not a good idea to move in together until you’re sure you’re ready.
Rosalind: Why not?
Papa: Well, it’s important to get to know someone well, and both have your own space in the meantime until you’re sure you’re ready to live together. He had a bad experience before. [Forgetting his audience] I probably moved in too soon with my first boyfriends. [Remembering his audience] But that was a long, long time ago. I got more mature. Now I know how to do it right.
Rosalind: You’re never going have another boyfriend.
Later today, I recounted this touching story of filial piety to my visiting brother and his family. At this point my daughter chimed in.
Rosalind: I said you don’t need another boyfriend. You have us. Your life is full.
Papa: But you also said I’m never going to have another boyfriend.
Rosalind: Well, yes.