There’s a special pleasure to having grown-up kids: The intellectual battles that keep you sharp and stave off old-age. When kids are younger (say below 18) discussions tend to be one-sided; you are the voice of reason trying to defend against the hormonally-driven urgent imperatives of youth (But, WHY can’t my girlfriend sleep in my room?).
I was reminded of this a few days ago. My 26 year-old son and I have joined a large cycling group here in the West Island. This is a fairly hard-core group; you are divided into various sub-groups depending on your speed and distance. I was disheartened to learn that the “beginner” group starts at an average pace of 20 kph and a minimum distance of 30 km. But, I’ll get there, I’m sure.
Now, my son likes to ride his mountain bike with the seat fairly low, a throwback to his BMX days, where he is used to having both feat on the ground while still seated. I’ve explained to him that this isn’t possible on a high-end racing bike (I’m lending him my newly restored 1981 Leo racer). He keeps arguing with me that he will not ride with the seat raised to the standard position. In frustration, I finally said to him, “I won’t ride with you looking like the circus clown on the tricycle!”. His response was immediate and ego-deflating. “How do you think I feel?”, he said. “Riding with you is like being behind the circus bear on the unicycle!”.
I laughed out loud. There’s an old Greek expression when someone younger makes fun of you. We say, “Even the chickens are laughing at us”.