I was assigned the task of walking a patient’s daughter to the bathroom. Her tiny pair of sparkly winter boots were swinging around under the stall door and she got right down to serious talk.
“Do you have a boyfriend? Or are you married.”
“Nope, I’m not married. …and I don’t have a boyfriend.”
This was acceptable only under certain conditions. The girl was quiet for a moment. “Are you still in school?” she asked.
“No, I’m out of college. I got out two years ago.” It always freaks me out when kids talk and act like real people, and this one had me right where she wanted me.
“How old are you?”
A pause. She hadn’t realized I was that old. Clearly, I was running out of time in her young eyes. To make matters even more amusing, a coworker had walked in moments earlier and was now laughing in another stall.
“Well, are you going to get a boyfriend soon?” she demanded.
“Oh, I don’t know…” I said, struggling to think of some nugget of Strong Independent Female wisdom to bestow upon her.
“Do you even have a crush on a boy?” She was genuinely concerned.
“Have you ever gone on a date?” I like to think there was more curious admiration in her voice than pity, but it was hard to tell.
“In my life? Yes, I’ve been on a date.” I must have a hidden fear of being seen as a Terribly Uncool Older Person in the eyes of children. In 20 years I’m going to be that obnoxious parent who tells their kids lame, outdated stories from adolescence in the vain hope of impressing.
The door to the stall opened and the girl skipped out. I turned on the faucet for her because she couldn’t reach the knobs. She squirted about 3 handfuls of soap into her palm.
“You know,” she pointed out as she was washing, “I’m almost as tall as you.”