It had been a peaceful bus ride until then—a group of elementary school kids tend to pull one’s attention away from even the most mundane reading (and this was far from—a recommendation from a friend…Chalmers Johnson’s “Sorrows of Empire”…most excellent and disturbing critique of the current administration). I was a little annoyed at the disturbance. But once I decided the reading was a wash, I was happy to sit there and eavesdrop. Kids are so damned cute without even trying.
There were about six of them—third graders, I’m thinking. Loud, loud, loud. There was an elderly man sitting next to two of them, and I initially thought he was lamenting his deplorable choice of seating, but it turns out he was quite taken. The chaperone had told this one little boy that he should tie his shoes so he didn’t trip. The kid made a face and pretty much ignored her. Then the old man said:
“You may not want to, but it’ll make her happy. That’s the reason men do things. There, I’ve let you in on one of the secrets.”
BOY #1: Then you get her heart?
MAN: (laughing) Hey! That’s the other secret!
BOY #2: I already knew both those secrets. I like a girl. She hates me.
GIRL #1: Yeah, and her name’s A-man-da!
(laughter all around)
BOY #2: So?
He looked down at the ground then and smiled a super shy smile revealing two dimples. So stinkin’ cute!!
A conversation ensued regarding what these boys knew about women.
KID #1: Actually, I learned another lesson: girls can talk a realllllly long time.
KID #2: Yeah, and they like to yell.
I thought maybe they were talking about their mothers until Kid #1 chimed in again
KID #1: When I don’t listen to my sisters, I’m a REAL man…I think.
Apparently, the women these boys know just love to scream and fight, cuz
KID #2: The girl I like? She wants to kill me.
I was laughing so hard. Kill him? Goodness! They certainly knew they had a captive audience, so I think this group was perhaps more animated than usual, but then maybe not. If you never spend any time around children, I can tell you it’s worth the strain on your patience (if you're not-so-kid-inclined) just to hear how they interact and try to remember having that kind of outlook.
Things are pretty clear: either a girl likes you back (not bloody likely, in the 3rd grade), or she wants to kill you. Makes things pretty easy, no?
Can you imagine such conversations in the grown-up world?
John: Hey what about that chic from marketing…did you ask her out?
Rick: Naw. I haven’t.
John: Well, what’s your take? Does she like you?
Rick: No, actually, she wants to kill me.
John: Tough luck, man.
I’m calling for all-out, across the board regression, just to simplify matters.
P.S. The kid actually tripped when he got off on account of not tying his shoelace. If men would just listen to women...