When I was a kid the thing I did with 99% of my free time was go play with the neighborhood kids. It was probably the best thing about growing up in a suburb filled with kids my age.
Daisy isnt so lucky. Although a slightly older girl lived next door for a while, she recently moved away, leaving Daisy with no similar-age friends nearby. This is a big drag for a kid on summer vacation.
There is a family less than 10 houses away, however, that has a daughter the same age as Daisy. We don't know this family very well, but I've chatted with the parents on a couple of occasions and they didn't seem like axe murderers. If they are axe murderers, they're definitely the nice kind who know how to remove bloodstains. I walked past Craig, the dad, the other day and decided to reintroduce myself and the notion of getting our kids to play together. We both agreed that it would be great for our daughters to have playmates in the neighborhood, so a plan was formed for us to get together the following afternoon.
Making new friends when you're my age is painful and unnatural. It's like trying to cram an additional tooth into my mouth. Forcing six year-old girls to be friends is much easier though. Our plan was to just sort of squish them together and yell, "Be friends....NOW!"
I brought Daisy over to Craig's house on Sunday afternoon and the two girls promptly scampered into the backyard to swing on the swing set and to talk about school or rattles or something. Mission accomplished. Meanwhile, I was forced to sit down and make small talk with Craig.
Chatting up near strangers is not my strong suit. I could have started in with chit-chat about the neighborhood, or schools, or even the local sports teams. For some reason my brain immediately launched into a horrible and long story about an email I had recently received that had an attachment in it that was difficult to open.
Yeah, good story, eh? The classic hard-to-open-email-attachment genre. To make things worse, the story was actually a little technical and I had no clue whether Craig was email savvy or maybe a complete computer-phobe. So, I did my test to tell this horrible tale while dumbing it down for my potentially ignorant audience. I did my best not to be condescending, but my brain had clearly wandered into the weeds by this point.
Craig made all the right noises during the story and eventually we moved past it. Later on in the discussion, we discussed what we each did for a living. Craig, as it turns out, works on a project using gigantic lasers and a supercomputer to gather data about fusion.
Yeah. Lasers. Supercomputers. Fusion. Goddamn, my job helps gigantic corporations perform their day-to-day operations 1% faster. I sure was glad that I had been dominating the conversation with all my fascinating stories.
Needless to say, I didn't dumb down any more stories for Craig. And I think Daisy did a much better job of making friends than I did.